Category Archives: Health

Medical Tourism in Mexico

Medical Tourism is big business these days in Mexico. In fact, the recently formed department ProMexico, the Medical Tourism Advisory Council, estimated that in 2013, medical tourism earned Mexico $2,847 million dollars, which was the equivalent of all tequila and beer exports combined for that year. In 2016, income generated from medical tourism reached $4.7 billion dollars.

Medical treatment in Mexico is often 36% and 89% cheaper than the same procedures done in the United States, making U.S. citizens Mexico’s number 1 client list.

The most common reasons people come to Mexico is to have bariatric surgery, stem cell, cancer, and fertility treatments and dental work. Bariatric surgery is about 70% cheaper than the U.S. and most dental work about 60% less costly. Rhinoplasty is about 56% cheaper and heart valve replacement is nearly 89% less expensive than the U.S. In 2012, Mexico treated more than a million foreigners ranking it number 2 worldwide providing such services.

Tijuana, Mexicali, Cancun, Guadalajara, Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta are among the top medical tourism destinations in Mexico.

There is a cost to Mexican citizens, however. Although most are covered under one of the three universal health care programs (Seguro Popular, IMSS and ISSTE) 66% of the hospitals are privately owned, ensuring that public hospitals that accept the national health care coverage are overcrowded, understaffed, and often lacking medications which necessitate out-of-pocket expenses. Although these are affordable to U.S. citizens paying with U.S. dollars, prices in the private sector have increased steadily to capitalize on medical tourism income, making it more difficult for the average Mexican to pay for services provided by private hospitals.

According to a 2015 report, 65% of those traveling to receive treatment do not have medical insurance. While the lower cost of the procedures allow for affordability even without insurance, there are some occasions when it would be in a patient’s best interest to have some sort of coverage. Mexico scores 9th out of 9 nations for destination environment factors due to public perception about pockets of extreme violence and civil unrest. Of course, it’s not all a matter of perception. There are areas that should be visited with extreme caution so best to do your homework before availing yourself of the medical tourism opportunities.

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How to find a Midwife in Mexico

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In Mexico, there are three types of midwives, depending on their educational background. There are about 15,000 traditional midwives, who are empirical in their knowledge. Their knowledge varies from midwife to midwife. They have knowledge of the herbs and cultural birth customs. Many have been trained by the government, and use medical techniques that are outdated. There are nurse midwives who have a more updated medical knowledge, however, have trained in a deficient system. Many do not have a lot of practice for home births. Then there are technical midwives who have trained in the midwifery model of care. They are respectful of traditional practices and updated in medical techniques. Many are still young and just graduating. Also, there are foreign midwives living in Mexico and fighting for homebirth and humanized births.

To choose a midwife it would be really wise to ask her a lot of detailed questions, on how long she has been working, where she trained, who her network of health providers are. In case of emergency what would happen. How many clients she has approximately a month

Midwives have supported women through centuries in many states. Only 2 presidents ago, the government launched a campaign to institutionalize all births and many midwives were affected by this marginalization. However, today the government is realizing that this has not reduced maternal mortality significantly or does it satisfy the women. There is a lot of obstetric violence in the hospitals and the government is reopening a dialogue on how to reinstate their work.

For more information contact Sabrina Speich at Movimiento Osa Mayor or Osa Mayor Mexico.

 

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The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle

Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle 2018I have to say that there is a glut of stuff in this year’s Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle!

62 eBooks, 12 printable packs & workbooks,

20 eCourses and 2 membership sites

96 products worth $2,235.92 

There were so many amazing things to digest in this bundle that I was initially overwhelmed. I decided to start with one book, one workbook, and an ecourse. I felt like I had gotten my money’s worth with just those three. I can’t wait to explore the rest of the bundle. I’ll fill you in on my review as I work through all this stuff!

Learn more here.

Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle 2018

Don’t forget the amazing bonuses!

  • FREE Eyeshadow Duo from Redeeming Beauty Minerals, a $29.90 value
  • 50 FREE Loads of Laundry Wash + FREE Washing Machine Cleaner from MyGreenFills, a $36.00 value
  • FREE BeeSilk Lotion Stick (.6 oz) and Foot Rub Stick (.6 oz) from MadeOn Skin Care, a $16.50 value
  • FREE Hannah’s Special Kombucha Tea Blend (4 oz.) from Kombucha Kamp, a $16.95 value
  • FREE 2 oz. Bottle of Teeth Tamer from Earthley, a $14.99 value
  • FREE 2-pack Soap Bundle from Puro Co, a $15.00 value
  • FREE 2 oz. bottle of Select Liquid Herbal Formulas from TriLight Health, a $12.95 value
  • FREE Nosey Plush Toy Aromatherapy Diffuser with Soother Holder from Essential Bracelet, a $14.95 value

As with all ultimate bundles, there is a deadline so make sure you get yours before September 10.

Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle 2018

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Alcohol and Mexico–like oil and water

The first alcoholic beverages in Mexico were created from the agave plant which is the source of tequila, mezcal, raicilla, bacanora, comiteco, curado, Licor de henequén, and pulque.

The story goes that the creation of the maguey (agave) plant was the result of the ill-fated love between Mayahuel, a goddess of fertility and Quetzalcóatl.  Mayahuel’s busybody abuelita (grandmother) sought to separate the lovers so Mayahuel and Quetzalcóatl transformed themselves into a single tree with two branches. Granny sliced Mayahuel’s branch into many small pieces which Quetzalcóatl buried, weeping copious tears.  From Mayahuel’s remains, the maguey plant was born. When the plant matures, the sweep sap (aguamiel) that seeps from the center is said to be the remnants of the tears shed by Quetzalcóatl.

Unfermented aguamiel known as octli was given to the elderly, sick and women after childbirth and used as a ceremonial drink for the entire family including babies and children on certain occasions. The fermented aguamiel (octli poliuhqui) was used to treat depression and given to dull the pain before ceremonial sacrifices. The recipe for the alcoholic octli poliuhqui (now known as pulque) was given to humans by Patécatl who was married to Mayahuel.

Patécatl and Mayahuel had 400 children known as the Los Centzon Totochtin. These 400 minor deities de los borrachos (drunks) were associated with dreams and awakening, confusion and lucidity, and death. Their birth gave Mayahuel a holy duality. Not only was she a goddess of fertility and the earth with multiple breasts to nourish her many children, but also with the creation of pulque and her love for Quetzalcóatl, she became associated with drunkenness and adultery. Her influence was so great that one day of every month was devoted to her and children born on that day were destined to become drunks or commit adultery (probably while drunk).

Understanding the strength of the fermented aguamiel, excessive drinking was prohibited. In fact, public drunkenness was punishable by death unless you were over the age of 70. 

Not content with the local inebriants, Spanish conquerors imported plants from their native land and found that the climate and soil composition were an ideal environment to grow grapes.

Several areas were already known for their cultivation and fermentation of wild grades. The Mexicas called alcohol made from wild grapes acacholli. The Purépechas referred to it as seruráni. The Otomíes used the term obxi and to the Tarahumaras it was known asúri.

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Vineyards outside of San Miguel de Allende

After the Spanish conquest, Hernán Cortés had seeds brought from Cuba from plants originally brought from Spain for wine production in Mexico. In 1524, he decreed that Spanish settlers should plant 1000 grape vines for every 100 native servants owned. The first vineyards were established in Huejotzingo and around the conquered Mexico City. This hybrid plant was known as xocomecatl in náhuatl and the resulting alcoholic beverage was known as tlapaloctli.

In 1531 the Spanish king Carlos V ordered that emmigrants destined for Mexico settlement take grape vines and olives for cultivation. Converting the indigenous took a back burner to wine production in Metztitlán. The Augustine monks of the area managed to create enough wine to meet local consumption needs and export to Mexico City, which they sent by the wagonload. Not to be outdone, the Jesuit monks in Baja California cultivated grape plants to provide for the thirst of the California missions up and down the coast beginning with San Diego de Alcalá

Thus, vineyards became a profitable enterprise in Mexico post-conquest. This wine producing prosperity continued unchecked until 1595 when King Felipe II prohibited the planting of new vines in the country because the wines being produced in Mexico were of superior quality to wines being produced in Spain which made the Spanish wine producers unhappy.

Even Miguel Hidalgo practiced vitivinicultura in what is now known as Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato. Unfortunately, Virrey Francisco Xavier Venegas destroyed his vineyard in retaliation for Hidalgo’s treasonous acts against the Spanish crown during the War for Independence.

Fermented maguey and grape consumption aside, Mexico is the world’s tenth largest beer consumer and the third largest beer producer. There are two main beer producers in Mexico. Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma and Grupo Modelo

Before the conquest, a variety of beers were produced from fermented corn including Pox, Tejuino, Tepache, tesgüino, and pozol. The first barley based cervecería (brewery) was set up near Mexico City by Alfonso de Herrero in 1543 or 1544. Dark beers became popular under the rule of Maximilian I from Austria. Beer consumption has continued to grow in Mexico. As of 2010, the Mexican average annual beer consumption is 60 liters per adult.

Mexico ranks at the top for alcohol consumption with one of the highest mortality rate for alcoholic liver disease in the world. The prevalence of alcoholic liver disease and addiction is apparently a combination of these pre-conquest traditions and the post-conquest gene mixture.

Each weekend, approximately 30 million Mexicans consume more than 5 drinks per day while another 10 million Mexicans have at least one alcoholic drink daily with about 5 million Mexicans developing a strong alcohol dependence. Regular alcohol consumption begins in early adolescence. One study found that 61.4% of 12-17-year-olds are regular drinkers. In another study, over 1/3 of 12-year-olds in Mexico City admitted to drinking. By age 17, 82.5% have used alcohol. Another study found that Mexican adolescents who drink regularly have more positive beliefs about consumption than those who don’t drink. In part, this is because drinking alcohol during this key period of development of the brain causes permanent alteration of the brain.

Drinking is common at most social or religious events in Mexico including weddings, quinceaneras, and christenings. Although this is a culturally acceptable activity, alcohol dependence grows over time. Ten years after beginning regular alcohol use the number of beers consumed per event typically goes from 4 to 6 to 20-24 beers. Because of this social association with events and heavy alcohol ingestion, binge drinking, infrequent drinking with sporadic heavy drinking, is the most common drinking pattern in Mexico.

So why is this a problem?

Compared to other countries, Mexico has the youngest people with alcoholic cirrhosis in the world with an average age of 23 to 30 years. In part, this is due to the unique set of genes found in the general Mexican population.

Even after a diagnosis of alcoholic cirrhosis, alcoholics continue to drink themselves to death. 40%-60% of the risk for developing chronic alcoholism is also genetic which is the number one cause of cirrhosis in Mexican males and the fourth-leading cause of death in Mexico.

Not only does excessive alcohol consumption cause life-threatening medical problems for the drinker but there is a high correlation between acts of violence and alcohol use, not that anyone is surprised by that finding. The WHO has reported that in Mexico alcohol plays a part in 51% of injuries resulting from violence and 78% of paralysis and death incidents.  These injuries, paralysis, and death are not always confined to the person drinking. Domestic abuse, rape, and femicide come to mind.

So can those struggling with alcoholism get help?

The Mexican government recognized the growing issue of alcohol dependence among teenagers and young adults in 2000 and introduced NOM 028-SSA-1999 which outlines preventative and treatment measures available. As with most government-sponsored programs, there are a lot of good intentions but very little follow through.

Central Mexicana de Servicios Generales de Alcohólicos Anónimos, A.C. (Alcoholics Anonymous) can be found in most locations throughout the country. Local meeting groups and albergues (in-house detox centers) sponsored by AA are easily located. There are also Al-anon and Ala-teen groups in many areas. (Central Mexicana de Servicios Generales de Los Grupos Familiares Al-Anon A.C)

There are psychiatric hospitals (Clínicas) and rehab centers that deal with alcoholism, often at prices the average Mexican can’t afford. A variety of religious groups sponsor retiros (weekend retreats), sometimes free and sometimes at a set cost, as part of rehab programs.

Although with the cards stacked against the typical Mexican with their genetic predisposition for both cirrhosis and alcoholism, long-term recovery by any means is low. On the other hand, there have been promising results using the sage of the diviners’ plant (Salvia divinorum) from the Sierra Madre Oriental region of Oaxaca, Mexico as a treatment for addictions. Salvia effects the dopamine levels in the brain, specifically areas dealing with motivation and reward.  More study on its use and applications is needed, however.

 

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