What the EU knows about extending life expectancy

It's all starting to make sense now.

A report over the summer ranked some of the nations with the best care in the world -- and most of the countries near the top of the list were over in Europe, notably Germany and France.

Now, a second new report might show the reason for it.

It's NOT higher spending. It's NOT more meds. And it's NOT even better doctors.

This new study finds that patients in Europe, especially Germany and France, are much more likely to use natural therapies and complementary medicine!

In Germany, a stunning 40 percent of patients use at least some form of complementary medicine, as do nearly a third of all patients in France.

The same survey finds similar numbers of between about a third and 40 percent in several other nations that routinely get high marks for health care, including Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, and Denmark.

Here in the United States, 38 percent of Americans use complementary medicine.

That number might look like it's right in the same ballpark, but there's a big difference: The U.S. figures are skewed by the wide popularity of just two practices -- yoga and chiropractic -- as well as just a handful of top-selling supplements, such as fish oil.

I've got nothing against any of those things. I recommend fish oil to my own patients... I have an osteopath skilled in spinal manipulation here on the staff at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine... and I admit that some people find yoga helpful.

But in Europe, patients are much more likely to use a far wider range of natural therapies, which are much more tightly integrated into their overall medical systems.

Visit a doctor in the United States for depression, for example, and you're almost certain to leave with a prescription for a powerful SSRI drug that manipulates serotonin so it lingers in your system longer.

Visit a doctor in Europe with the same symptoms, and you might leave with a recommendation for 5-HTP, a natural amino acid that your body converts into a whole new supply of fresh serotonin.

That's just one example.

The new report finds another: Nearly 6 percent of Europeans turn to homeopathic medicine, led by widespread acceptance of the practice across the continent. In Switzerland, the government has even put homeopathy on equal footing as conventional medicine.

Here in the United States, where homeopathy is ostracized and mocked, less than 2 percent use it -- despite the fact that it's inexpensive, perfectly safe, and very effective for any number of conditions.

Of course, none of those numbers would mean a thing without the results to back it up, and all of those countries beat the United States in the one statistic that matters most: Every single one of them has a higher life expectancy.

So, don't let the mainstream push you around, bully you, or tell you that you don't have a choice.

Do your homework... make sure you have a voice in your own treatment decisions... and never be afraid to work closely with a holistic medical doctor.