Consider my predicament. Since inception, Heartland Healing’s been reminding readers of alternatives to Western techno-pharmaceutical medicine. But when the first of each year comes around, staff at The Reader is asked to present predictions for the upcoming year. Therein lies the rub.

If my bailiwick is traditional healing arts and sensibilities that have persisted for millennia, what possible change could these ancient practices see in the next 12 months? I mean, after 6000 years, is there going to be some startling discovery in the field of acupuncture, say? Practiced for thousands of years as is, will something radically change about yoga, herbology, ayurvedic medicine, feng shui? Or even more recent modalities like homeopathy or iridology or (genuine) chiropractic? Those, along with many others, are traditional therapies. They haven’t basically changed for centuries. It’s doubtful they will in 2015. That said…

Smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em The current moronic legal actions against marijuana in Nebraska notwithstanding, the sea change has begun. Once just another plant in nature’s garden, thousands of years ago, inquisitive humanoids noticed the spindly-leaved, prodigious herb had special qualities. Cultures have long used cannabis as a ritual and recreational intoxicant and medicine. Unless living under a rock in the United States, or otherwise stoned, it’s hard to ignore the immense shift in public policy about marijuana in just the past couple years.

Banned early last century based on ravings that its use was evil and depraved, outlawing marijuana possession is no longer a morally defensible issue. It’s not immoral to use marijuana. It’s immoral to penalize people for it.

Look for more states to liberate marijuana from the manacles of insanity that once bound it. After a couple of years seeing the advantages (and profitability) of regulated marijuana use in 23 other states, watch for movement to modernize Nebraska laws in 2015. The smoke signals are up. Prediction: Unicameral discusses catching up. Invest now, Nebraska or see corporations from out of state reap the rewards.

American medicine will kill hundreds of thousands. Through December 11, the Food and Drug Administration lists over 40 drugs or medicines recalled in 2014 alone. Recalls included drugs used to put you to sleep for surgery (they might not work,) painkillers (they might kill you,) and many others. Want a prediction? Legally prescribed drugs will kill around 100,000 Americans in 2015. Other medical mishaps will add a few hundred thousand more. The total killed by allopathic medicine will range to over a half million avoidable deaths. Regardless of the best private insurance or Obamacare, you’re not safe from that.

To be fair, American medicine will also save many lives, especially in the area of trauma care and acute treatments. Where we fall down is in the overuse of drugs, techno-pharmaceutical medicine and treatment of chronic afflictions. The world panicked over 7000 deaths from the Ebola virus in 2014. ( Yet estimates show that over 700,000 die annually from Western medicine. Prediction 2015: status quo.

Health apps will peak. I remember the reveal on Good Morning America when the inventor of the Segway finally exposed the “It” machine that sages (including Steve Jobs) called as revolutionary as the Internet and as important as the PC. Hmmm. Well, the iPhone 6 and associated OS comes with an app that logs an estimate of your daily steps, flights you’ve climbed, distance you’ve walked or run. It’s expandable to log medical information and interface with nutrition apps and wearable technogadgets to record heart rate, temperature, sperm count (just checking to see if you were still reading,) blood pressure and more. Other tech developers offer similar devices on similar platforms. Apple will stir the pot with the wearable Apple Watch in early 2015 but after a short run, the real health benefits will come from ignoring the gadgets and getting outside in nature. Relying on tech to tell us about our bodies is just another big mistake. It’s a form of obsessive health-related navel gazing. The more time and attention we give to technology that actually distances us from our health and wellness, reducing us and our bodies to a stream of data, the less time and attention we give to actually being well and staying active. As the vapid supermodel said, “Shiny…”

Prediction: By the end of 2015, health apps and gadgets will go the way of Google Glass and the Segway. Ebay here they come.

Prep schools spring up. Not what you think. These won’t be the traditional schools that prep you for college. Those are so quaint. No, these will be increasingly popular classes and businesses that prepare people for being… prepared. The media calls them “preppers”, the people who stockpile food, water, supplies, self-defense weapons and survival items needed to exist past an event that collapses social infrastructure to any degree or another. Government agencies already go to great lengths to encourage people to be prepared for a disaster like a tornado, hurricane, superstorm or other catastrophe. “Bug out bags” will become a fashion accessory.

Acupuncture. Well, as promised, there won’t be any actual changes in a medical modality that has been successfully practiced for thousands of years. It’s not like the meridians located three millennia ago will be moved to a different location in the body. But there could be a change in accessibility to acupuncture (and thus, associated Traditional Chinese Medicine) in Nebraska in 2015. As a result of the ongoing and tireless efforts of a handful of healthcare activists too numerable to name (Sandy Aquila knows who they are,) acupuncture licensing requirements may see a welcome amendment next year. Nebraska-licensed acupuncturists already have extreme requirements that ensure that they are fully trained and experienced in the intricate details of Traditional Chinese Medicine. That won’t change. But some little-understood requirements regarding medical doctors will be modernized to keep up with accessibility standards typical in other states. Licensed acupuncture in Nebraska is relatively new, with the statute dating back to gubernatorial signature in March of 2001. Since then, acupuncture has become a popular first-line approach to wellness, healing and health. Some changes in the structure of the statute will allow clients to have greater accessibility by waiving the requirement that a visit to a medical doctor is required first. Though never an issue for someone like me or most people I know, this makes it easier for many to understand that traditional therapies like acupuncture are to be considered on the frontline of health care.

The Reader Finally, for this column, we predict that The Reader and Heartland Healing will continue to inform and enlighten readers about a more holistic lifestyle and ways to recover or maintain health. Through the format change and the enhanced integration of online connectivity, we’ll make our words available to all in the best ways possible.

Be well.

Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit

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