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Medicine That’s Truly Complementary

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© Original Artist / CartoonStock.comAbout a month ago I posted an article on this site about the San Francisco Bay Area media’s lack of coverage of complementary and alternative medicine – a veiled lament, I suppose, that no one was paying attention to a subject that is very much near and dear to my heart.

My original thought was that this is either because the research isn’t credible or that the public isn’t interested in this sort of stuff. However, given the piles of studies that have been done by well-respected researchers and the billions of dollars being spent by everyday folks on everything from chiropractors to acupuncturists and yoga classes, these assumptions fall flat.

My conclusion, then, was that it’s probably because the media, like so many of us, have been educated to believe that healthcare is largely if not exclusively the domain of drug-based medicine. The extent to which those working in the medical field believe this themselves is another story.

Although I’ve never been one to adopt an “us vs. them”/“alternative vs. conventional” mentality, I’ll admit that sometimes it’s hard not to buy into the idea that, at the very least, “they” really don’t have much appreciation for “us.” Imagine my delight, then, when I read the following on the website of a prominent and very popular (121,000 followers on Twitter!) Bay Area medical doctor:

“If you’re an complementary or alternative medicine provider or some other sort of counselor, coach, or healer, I’m sorry so many physicians respond to what they don’t understand by dismissing you or making you wrong…I’m sorry you’ve gone to all this trouble to build a relationship with your client, only to have some doctor tear it apart with one ignorant and closed-minded comment. I apologize for that doctor who told your client that what you do is a bunch of valueless woo woo hooey not deserving of their hard-earned money.

“I’m sorry they don’t teach us much about what you do in medical school, and I’m sorry we’re not motivated to learn more so we can better collaborate. I’m sorry we act like we’re “better” than you and lord our medical degrees over you in a misguided attempt to assuage our own insecurities.

“What you do heals. Patients transform. You love. You listen…It’s no wonder people value what you do, even when insurance companies don’t cover it. Ancient traditions bring great gifts to the healing toolbox we all share. By embracing the scientific method in Western medicine, we’ve made the mistake of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, but you hold the baby. You nurture the baby. And that baby is time, presence, healing touch, and most of all – LOVE.

“I’m so very sorry, dear ones. Thank you for what you do. You round out – and often replace (in a good way) – what we docs do, and we are grateful to anyone who transforms illness, sadness, or trauma into vitality, no matter how it happens. After all, the patient is what matters most, right? Don’t we all share a common goal?

“Thank you for your healing gifts, and please – join us at the healing round table, where we can all be equal partners in the quest to facilitate the healing journeys of those we serve.”

As someone who has made it his practice to rely on prayer for his health – not just for myself, but also for those who come to me for healing – I was touched beyond measure by what I read.

I welcome the invitation to take a seat at “the healing round table” so that doctors, practitioners, and healers alike can all share what we’ve learned in our efforts to bring health and harmony to a world so desperately in need of it.

Even if this collaboration never makes headlines in the local media, it will undoubtedly make a difference in the lives of those who are healed.

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About Eric Nelson

  • This is a genuinely flawed approach to medicine because it gives credence to quacks. The original definition of quack is a confidence trickster or a charlatan of medicine.

    Are you familiar with the alternative medicine stance on vaccination? Oh MMR is just childhood disease right? They push their stance on things such as polio vaccinations and DPT too.

    Basically the thing is medicine is everything that works.

    Chiropractery is fake, osteopathy is real.
    Homeopathy is fake, Pharmacology is real.

    The difference in care is because doctors don’t have time to see patients. Even if you see 4 patients an hour it’s just 15 minutes to alleviate all patient ills… A homeopath has no time constraint. He can be as touchy feely as he likes and the mere spending of time gets people to consider him better than the real doctor.

    Until it’s too late. Having them cure you alongside real medicine only results in you being cured and them taking the credit for it (they have done so in the past. Under close examination they only treated cancer after chemotherapy and surgery).

    This isn’t teaching the controversy or what have you. It’s giving dangerous people with little or no grasp of actual human physiology and pathology administering medicine to you and they have conflicting interest. Most alternative medicine supporters try and get you to not take real medicine.

    We do understand what complementary medicine is about too.

    1. Homeopathy is about water memory. The idea that water can somehow potentiate action of drugs by reducing the concentration of the active ingredient. By their logic a shot of beer should get you drunker than a shot of tequila. Water does not have memory, I can prove this by drinking homeopathic concentrations of cyanide.

    2. Chiropracters are basically people who crack your back and give you a massage with fancy names. Affecting your CNS by adjusting your spine is a bad thing (it’s why people are paralysed).

    3. Natural medicine just use herbs. Real medicine does that too. For instance atropine is from deadly nightshade and asprin is an extract of willow bark. We just don’t coat it in a layer of nonsense to try and sell it.

    4. The ultimate irony is that these medications are sold as “wisdom of the ancients” or “the east” but chinese people and indians want real medicine. Because it works.

    As I said, giving credence to quacks just means more people will think they are real and it will harm real medicine as we have seen in the anti-vaccine movement which has cost lives.

  • Take a look at the website for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Website. The Director has some very important welcoming remarks.

    Here are the remarks by the Director.

    Josephine P. Briggs, M.D. Ancient Practice Meets Modern Science October 4, 2011

    We often hear the rationale for why people turn to a particular complementary or alternative practice is that the approach has been used for thousands of years. However, years of practice do not substitute for rigorous science and evidence-based medicine. Yet the two are not mutually exclusive.

    Recently, The Lasker Foundation recognized the convergence of an ancient tradition with modern, rigorous research to develop an extremely important drug therapy that has saved millions of lives.

    Dr. Tu Youyou of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing was awarded the 2011 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. This very prestigious recognition is made to scientists, physicians, and public servants who have made major advances in the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure, and prevention of human disease.

    Dr. Tu developed an arteminisinin-based drug combination that is now the standard regimen for malaria. As described by The Lasker Foundation, “Tu led a team that transformed an ancient Chinese healing method into the most powerful antimalarial medicine currently available.”

    The journey to develop this vitally important therapy is fascinating, and I urge you to visit The Lasker Foundation’s award description to read about it. The story of arteminisinin illustrates that promise does exist within some ancient remedies. However, it also requires a deep commitment and dedication to meticulously exploring the science behind the traditions to translate that promise into therapy.

    Research in natural products is a key area of focus in our latest strategic plan. On October 14, we will further explore the challenges and opportunities of natural products research at our Advisory Council meeting.

    Leaders in this field of research will present on product screening, methodology, and good botanical practices. It promises to be a very engaging and enlightening discussion that can further inform our research agenda.

    Dr. Tu’s work reminds us that we must not ignore the promise of natural products and ancient practices.

    As The Lasker Foundation notes, “By applying modern techniques and rigor to a heritage provided by 5000 years of Chinese traditional practitioners, she has delivered its riches into the 21st century.”

  • Thanks to both Avicenna and Dr. Maresca for your comments on my article. The debate over which form of treatment is best (conventional, CAM, etc.) will likely go on ad infinitum. However, one thing I think we can all agree on is that no one form of treatment works for everyone all the time. That’s why it’s so important to keep the lines of communication wide open – not just between various types of medical practitioners but between these practitioners and their patients as well. Ultimately only the patient will know what works best for them.

  • It isn’t actually possible to be a Christian Scientist as the former requires magical thinking that has no foundation in reality.