New Website Helps Consumers Take Charge of Their Health

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"Taking Charge of Your Health" -- a new healthcare website for consumers -- has been launched by national integrated health leader the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality & Healing in partnership with the Life Science Foundation. The site provides information and tools for individuals to: (1) create a healthy lifestyle; (2) navigate the healthcare system; and (3) explore integrative therapies and healing practices.

Taking Charge of Your Health

"Taking Charge of Your Health," a comprehensive new website that offers free advice, healthcare tips, and resources for consumers, is now live and helping people "take charge" of their health and well-being. Created by national integrated health leader the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota in collaboration with the nonprofit Life Science Foundation, the site invites visitors to better manage - and expand - their healthcare options by providing information and tools in three main sections:

CREATE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
(http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/lifestyle)
This section offers self-assessments and an interactive goal-setting process that focuses on eight aspects of health:

-- Diet
-- Physical Activity
-- Emotions & Attitudes
-- Life Purpose
-- Relationships
-- Stress Mastery
-- Self-Care
-- The Environment

NAVIGATE THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
(http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/navigate-healthcare-system)
This section helps people plan how best to use the healthcare system, including how to:

-- Find A Provider
-- Evaluate Information on the Web
-- Prepare for an Appointment
-- Make Treatment Decisions
-- Evaluate Insurance Options
-- Increase the Likelihood of a Healthy Hospitalization

EXPLORE HEALING PRACTICES
(http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices)
This section provides in-depth information about the most commonly used integrative therapies, including information on over 40 integrative therapies and healing practices such as:

-- Reiki
-- Acupuncture
-- Mind-Body Approaches
-- Music Therapy
-- Chiropractic
-- Healing Touch
-- Botanical Medicine

Site users can watch video clips of sample therapy sessions and download audio for a guided meditation.

UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ABOUT PERSONAL HEALTH STRATEGIES
First introduced in 2005, the newly updated site, http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu, invites visitors to expand their options with integrative and complementary therapies; become more informed and involved healthcare consumers; and care for overall body, mind, and spirit.

CREATED BY EXPERTS TO HELP HEALTH CONSUMERS
Created by nationally-recognized experts (many from the Center for Spirituality & Healing), the new site features a revised "Healing Practices" section that offers up-to-date information about various complementary therapies and personal health strategies.

A new "Conditions" section consists of the following eleven common health conditions, with more to be added:

-- Cancer
-- Heart Disease
-- Diabetes
-- Irritable Bowel Disorders
-- Depression
-- Anxiety
-- Migraine
-- Holistic Pregnancy & Childbirth
-- Arthritis
-- Back Pain
-- Menopause

NEW BLOG BY INTEGRATIVE HEALING LEADER DR. MARY JO KREITZER
Another new interactive feature is a Taking Charge blog (http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/taking-charge-blog) written by Center director, Dr. Mary Jo Kreitzer. A leader in integrative health and healing, Dr. Kreitzer will leverage her numerous roles in education, research, and advancing healthcare policy to share her own insight with consumers. Kreitzer's blog will be regularly updated and readers are encouraged to post their comments to her entries.

Traditionally, the general public has relied on doctors to direct their healthcare. But with today's office visits lasting an average of 15 minutes, healthcare providers have limited time to address patients' questions and needs - transferring responsibility back to the public.

"The reality of our healthcare system today is that we all must take personal responsibility for our own health, and the best way to make wise decisions is to have access to credible information," said Dr. Kreitzer. "Our goal in creating Taking Charge of Your Health was to provide practical information that helps people make healthy lifestyle changes, learn to better navigate the healthcare system, and explore integrative therapies and healing practices with conventional care."

For more information about the Center for Spirituality & Healing, please visit http://www.csh.umn.edu. To learn more about the Life Science Foundation, go to http://www.lifesciencefoundation.org/.

ABOUT THE CENTER FOR SPIRITUALITY AND HEALING: Recognized nationally as a resource and leader in integrated health, the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality & Healing's goal is to transform healthcare by educating health professionals and students about integrative therapies, conduct rigorous scientific research into complementary and non-pharmacological interventions, provide meaningful outreach programs, and work with partners to develop integrative clinical services. The inspiration behind the Center's work is the knowledge that health and well-being are enhanced when the best of complementary and conventional care are integrated.

ABOUT THE LIFE SCIENCE FOUNDATION: The Life Science Foundation, a non-profit organization located in Excelsior, Minnesota, is dedicated to the exploration of one of life's greatest mysteries--the relationship between the material and spiritual worlds. The Foundation seeks to support and partner with organizations, institutions, and individuals that strive to discover and apply new and ancient understandings to medicine, in particular Complementary and Alternative Medicines; the new sciences; intuition; and to other relevant disciplines. The Life Science Foundation is committed to serving the public's education in these areas.

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