Holistic Healing vs Traditional medicine

In this installment's approach we will look at a different way of healing, a more natural approach and also why conventional doctors think the way they do, and what all this means to your health.

A Different Way of Healing

A doctor of naturopathy takes a broad, holistic approach to diagnosis. Victoria describes what happened when she took her five year old daughter to a naturopathic physician.

" Taking responsibility for my own health put me in the alternatives business. It meant replacing white flour with whole-wheat flour, beef with beans, and TV with work outs at the gym. I also discovered alternative health care providers and often availed myself of the services of a chiroprator, massage therapist or acupuncturist.

But when it came to medical attention for my child, I was as conservative as a three-piece suit. That's why, when my five year old daughter, Rachael, developed a tender lump in her chest one and a half years ago, I took her to the best pediatrician I could find. He examined her and said, ' we need to watch this. Bring her back in two weeks.'

Telling a mother to wait is as good as telling her to worry. Not being one to fret idly, I decided to use the two weeks to provide my little girl with what the natural way might have to offer. A friend suggested a doctor of naturopathy, a practitioner trained in using natural methods to help the body heal itself.

The naturopath's first move was to take such a thorough history that I was relieved that Rachael was only five ... if she'd had any more history than that, we could have been in the doctor's office all day. After he did a standard exam, he made his recommendations:

Make raw fruits and vegetables the bulk of her diet for the next 14 days; use poutices made from the herbs mullein and comfrey (
click for poultice ) on the lump twice a day; and give her the herb echinacea, a purported immune enhancer, orally.

( click for echinacea )

All these instructions seemed reasonable. But when he said, ' If she were my child, I'd look into changing her school situation,' I was taken aback. I knew that the naturopathic approach was deals holistically with people and seeks to address causes as well as alleviate symptoms, but switching kindergartens was a lot to ask. Nonetheless, his gentle questioning during the history had brought lengthy descriptions from Rachael of the painful teasing she'd been getting from the other children at school.

I decided to follow all of the naturopath's recommendations, including a change in Rachael's school, effective immediately. Within a few days, the lump, which I understood to be lymphatic swelling, began to decrease in size. When we made our return visit to the pediatrician, all he said was, ' Obviously it's gone.' Subsequent examinations bore that out, and the condition ha snot recurred."

Why conventional doctors

think the way they do.

When people first hear about alternative medical treatments they often ask the obvious question : " If this treatment is so effective, why doesn't my doctor know about it ? "

According to John R. Lee, MD, of Sebastopol California, there are a number of reasons for this. " The first reason lies in the fact that the selection process of medical students depends on large part on college grades. Students get high grades when they simply repeat in their tests exactly what the teacher wants them to say.

Students who question what they are being taught, on the other hand, usually do not get the higher grades. Medical schools, therefore, are filled with students who are good at adopting given 'wisdom', but not necessarily good at thinking and questioning, because they have learned to follow precepts handed to them by presumed authorities."

The second reason that accounts for the way many doctors think is that medical schools tend to be organized into organ-specific departments. " The idea of an underlying link between these different departmentalized diseases is nonexistant within this framework, " Dr Lee says.

" Furthermore, the influence of nutrition on the way cells function is ignored or derided by many department heads who defend their own orthodox concepts."

The third reason is one of simple economics. " when leaving medical school, the young doctor finds him/herself in a system that rewards what is called 'rescue medicine'. or interventins that treat symptoms, " Dr Lee explains. " There is no reward, and there way well be scorn from from fellow doctors, for those who take the time and trouble to try and prevent illness or attempt to correct nutitional deficiencies which may be causing the patient's condition. Medical record keeping and billing for insurance also require doctors to adhere to this superficial, organ classification of disease. Economic rewards follow only from sticking to this particular model of ill-heealth and treatment."

Malpractice is another great fear among doctors. " People should note that the definition of malpractice is not whether the practice is 'good' or 'bad' for the patient, but rather if the practice in question is what other doctors in the given locality normally do or prescribe," says Dr Lee. He adds that doctors also, quite naturally, seek the professional and social approval of their peers. " Both of these factors conspire to 'keep the doctor in line', limiting the likelihood of a doctor adopting some unconventional practices techniques."



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