5 Paths to Health & Wellness in the New Year

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Toa Heftiba

By Mark Pitstick, MA, DC

The intrinsic healing abilities of the human body respond best to supportive natural care whenever possible.

After serving many thousands of patients in hospitals, mental health centers and holistic private practice over almost 50 years, I have strong opinions about how to get well and stay well. It can be a difficult journey, since each person is unique and requires different healing approaches—but the right combination of natural healing approaches can usually help you achieve optimal wellness. Here are my top five recommendations for feeling happy, healthy, and enlightened in 2021 so you can enjoy the life you deserve and brighten our world.


This millennia-old healing approach uses very tiny needles inserted into specific points on the skin, meridian points that correspond to certain organs and muscles. Acupuncture helps strengthen and balance the flow of energy or Chi. In the Orient, acupuncture has long been used as a primary healing modality and for anesthesia during major surgery. The safety and effectiveness of this approach have been well documented. In the United States, acupuncture can be performed by specially trained health care providers, including: L.Ac. (licensed acupuncturist), D.O.M. (doctor of oriental medicine), D.C., M.D., and D.O.

When I’m healthy, I get quarterly acupuncture sessions to ensure optimal levels of life force to all parts of my body. If I develop any early or mild symptoms of declining health, acupuncture is an important part of my therapeutic program. For example, during a time of extreme stress, I once developed a tremor in my right thumb. My alternative medical doctor administered several acupuncture treatments and the shaking went away. Who knows what that might have developed into had I not quickly and effectively gotten to the source of the problem.

Alternative Medicine

An increasing number of allopathic (M.D.) and osteopathic (D.O.) physicians are using alternative medical approaches. Synonyms for alternative include complementary, integrative and functional. These doctors see the downsides of drug and surgical approaches and try to use more conservative measures whenever possible. I’ve learned much about this field from Andrew Weil, M.D.; Dean Ornish, M.D.; Julian Whitaker, M.D.; Joseph Mercola, D.O; Mark Hyman, M.D.; and Allan Magaziner, D.O.

Alternative medical doctors may use acupuncture, cranial adjusting, spinal manipulation, chelation therapy, dietary modification, nutritional supplementation, hyperbaric oxygen, homeopathy, heavy metal removal, light therapy, nutritional IV therapy, lifestyle counseling and other more natural modalities.

In general, they use pro-life methods that work with the wisdom of the body such as prescribing probiotics instead of or after antibiotics. Alternative medical approaches assist the body in regaining wellness instead of fighting a war against disease while viewing the body as a passive and ignorant battlefield. This is a crucial distinction.

Select an alternatively oriented medical doctor who uses wellness principles and can identify severe health problems that require medication or surgery. Doctors who practice alternative therapies can be located via ACAM, the American College of Advanced Medicine; AHMA, the American Holistic Medical Association; and ABHM, the American Board of Holistic Medicine.

Chiropractic Care

Specific spinal adjustments—not gross manipulations—given by a doctor of chiropractic (D.C.) ensure proper alignment and mobility of the vertebrae. This relieves pain, prevents arthritic degeneration and assists a healthy nervous system. The latter is required for the brain to clearly communicate with all body parts and vice-versa. Much research—by the chiropractic, allopathic (M.D.), and osteopathic professions—has verified that abnormal nerve function caused by subluxation (misaligned and fixated bones) can result in many common physical and emotional symptoms.

Most medical schools teach only four hours about the spine. Osteopaths receive more training but only a small percentage of D.O.s manipulate the spine, and their techniques are usually less specific. That’s understandable since a D.C. spends four years of graduate training emphasizing the spine, whereas a D.O. also learns about drug and surgical approaches.

All babies should have their spinal and skeletal bones checked just after birth, and all people should be evaluated regularly throughout life, especially after any trauma and if there are any health problems.


Various forms of massage assist emotional and physical well-being. In Europe, doctors are as likely to prescribe a series of massages for stress as they are tranquilizers—and for good reason. Bob Hope enjoyed a daily massage that no doubt contributed to his living 100 years while providing service and good humor to so many people. The many mind/body benefits of massage include: relief of stress, tension and pain; increased circulation, flexibility and relaxation; and a calm, creative state of mind.

Different forms may be more effective for your needs than others. For example, Rolfing addresses myofascial tension, Swedish massage is for deeper muscle work, and hot stone and oil therapies provide profound relaxation. Reflexology is a massage system for the feet that addresses structural subluxations, reflex response and energy balancing.

Nutritional-Based Approaches

Health care practitioners using these methods may recommend a healthy diet, supplements, herbs and specific regimens to restore wellness. The most well-trained health care professionals in this area are naturopathic doctors (N.D.s), licensed physicians (D.C., D.O., M.D.) with post-graduate nutritional training, and holistically oriented registered or licensed dieticians (R.D./L.D.). Knowing which nutrients are needed requires much training and knowledge of how a healthy body functions.

In this regard, I highly recommend the technique called Nutrition Response Testing (NRT). Other good approaches include System Strength Analysis and Applied Kinesiology (AK).

In other cultures, these five healing approaches are used 95 percent of the time, whereas drugs and surgery only 5 percent. In the United States, where big business overly influences what passes for health care, those figures are reversed. Many people have suffered from invasive procedures and now want more Safe, Affordable, Natural, and Effective (SANE) health care approaches whenever possible.

Here’s to a happier, healthier you in the New Year.

Mark Pitstick, MA, DC is an author, master’s clinical psychologist, holistic chiropractic physician, frequent media guest, and webinar/workshop facilitator. He directs The SoulPhone Foundation and founded Greater Reality Living Groups. Dr. Pitstick can help you know and show—no matter what is happening to or around you— that your earthly experience is a totally safe, meaningful, and magnificent adventure amidst forever. Visit http://www.SoulProof.com for free articles, newsletters and radio interviews with top consciousness experts.

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