by Frank Talk in Seniors column ~ January 22, 2008
A Medical Guide through the Healthcare Maze
America’s healthcare system is so fragmented and complex nowadays, it’s hard to get a good understanding of our overall health. With all the specialists, therapies and drugs, plus all the ballyhoo from the Internet, magazines, books and TV promos, it’s easy to feel confused, uncertain and overwhelmed.
I believe this is especially true for older adults and the elderly, as their health generally declines and their medical decisions get more complicated. But I think I’ve a found hope in a local “Medical Guide” – Santa Barbara physician, Glenn Wollman, MD.
In 30+ years of practicing Emergency Medicine in urban and rural trauma centers, Dr. Wollman has faced every type of medical crisis imaginable. “In an Emergency Department,” he says, “you deal with the nightmare cases of every branch of medicine.”
A few years ago he left the Emergency Room to set up his own practice, deciding to make a pendulum swing from urgent trauma care to preventive care. Now he wants to help people take care themselves before they get seriously ill and end up in an emergency room.
“As a Medical Guide,” Dr. Wollman says, “I can help you understand your health situation and offer care options.” But he insists on “greater personal awareness and personal responsibility” in people maintaining or re-gaining their health. “People need to be part of their own healthcare solution,” he says.
In his initial assessment of any client, Dr. Wollman considers not just their body but their mind and spirit as well. He looks at all the factors that bear on their condition in life – such as nutrition and exercise, how they handle stress, sleep management, good and bad health habits, emotional condition and even spiritual factors.
The goal, he says, is to promote balance in all these areas – what he calls your overall “life balance.” If you have proper balance among these various facets of your life you’ll be healthier and happier; but if you have imbalance or disharmony, you’re asking for health problems.
Dr. Wollman not only emphasizes life balance, he also embraces a much broader spectrum of healthcare practices than American doctors typically do. He calls his medical model “combinatorial,” as he seeks to combine the best of Western Medicine with other healing systems practiced around the world.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the way other cultures go about healing injuries and illness,” he says, “and I concluded long ago that all medical systems have some good and not-so-good things about them. The ideal is to take the best ideas and practices from each and combine them into one comprehensive healing system.” He also insists that “all healers should be respected.”
With this in mind, he studied and still continues to work with healers in China and other countries to learn their health techniques and beliefs. He now teaches Omega Adult Education classes, offering lectures and workshops on life balance, meditation, Qigong, stress management and breathing techniques. “Now I see myself as a bridge between all of the Western and Eastern medical systems.”
Dr. Wollman says he likes to work with clients as a partner, not as a boss. Moreover, he prefers guiding people while allowing their own doctors and healers to treat them. This role of Medical Guide allows him to remain objective in his guidance while still working closely with the person and their care specialists.
Generally, “it’s better if you call me before anything goes wrong,” he says. “But if you’re in the middle of a medical problem, I’ll see how you’re dealing with it and see if other treatment options can be combined to promote healing. I’ll also work with you before and after surgery. It’s important to know if you’re doing all that can be done.”
If having a Medical Guide lead you to better health sounds like a good idea, you can contact Dr. Glenn Wollman at (805) 569-5768 or check out his Web site at www.GlennWollman.com.