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Friday, June 27, 2014

Integrative Medicine: Alternative & Western Medical Practices

"A wise man should consider that health is the greatest 
of human blessings, and learn how by his own 
thought to derive benefit from his illnesses" ~ Hippocrates

The Beginnings of Natural Healing

Hippocrates, the 'Father of Medicine' as he has been touted for centuries is hailed as being the founder of natural healing and medicine. His words and brilliance has shined on through the ages, and even modern-day Western doctors take the 'Hippocratic Oath' to 'harm none' when they become medical doctors. Unfortunately, the premise of Hippocrates words and practice ~ the natural basis of medicine ~ has been thwarted, twisted, and all but lost with the dawn of modern Western medicine and its multi-billion dollar corporate backing.

Hippocrates, the 'Father of Medicine'
Modern Western medicine is usually about greed, chemical and/or temporary 'fixes', and perpetuating illness. After all, there is absolutely no profit in health and wellness.!

'Alternative' medicine is about healing, curing, and promoting wellness. When the two are integrated, it becomes less about making a profit, and more about healing others.

For some people, it doesn't matter what empirical evidence and/or theories are presented and/or supported in regard to alternative methods and medicine. A cynical person ~ what I term the 'consistent cynic' ~ will zero in, target his/her prey, and go in for the kill. Fortunately, we have holistic 'experts', holistic theorists, and holistic studies being conducted as I type. Some of the peer-reviewed information will stop the 'consistent cynic' in his or her tracks, other information is difficult to navigate and even more difficult to locate.

Alternative vs Western Medicine

Alternative medicine has been in use for thousands of years, indeed, since humans have walked the Earth. Hippocrates wrote about 'rubbing' and 'friction', which is simply therapeutic massage and its beneficial effects on a healing patient following surgery, as well as how beneficial massage was for an ailing or convalescing patient following or during an illness. If Hippocrates knew the benefits of massage therapy for the health and wellness of people, should modern day physicians prescribe the healing modalities more frequently?

Western medicine comes with a price tag that is astronomical and oftentimes is not as effective or as healing to the recipient as a regimen of alternative medicine can be. Sometimes the proof can be seen in the pudding, so to speak. Take, for instance, a person who is diagnosed with 'fribromyalgia'. It's a relatively new diagnosis in the United States that is thought to be some type of nerve disorder. It's primary treatment is antidepressant medications and many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia mimic depression and mood disorders in general. In more recent years, Lyrica (an extremely costly chemically produced drug has been prescribed) and this disorder is said to affect more than 5 million people in the United States alone.

If we opened our minds and hearts to the ancient ways of natural healing, the 'alternative' ways of healing, we would teach each of our patients with fibromyalgia:  1) that changes in diet are of utmost importance in healing our bodies for many health issues, especially those of unknown etiology, such as many auto-immune disorders  2) stress reduction/meditation is a natural and inexpensive way to prevent cancer cells from proliferating, 3) healthy diets, exercise, and proper sleep are all conducive to healing and/or remaining in a healthy state of wellness, 4) the health of our minds, emotional selves, and physical bodies are intrinsically connected and each aspect of our Self (body, mind, spirit) is inter-related and interconnected. What we think, breathe in, and do directly affects our health either short or long term.

These are important factors to consider for any human being concerning health matters. And finally, we would teach each and every one of our patients that organically grown fruits and vegetables are most definitely healthier than commercially grown fruits and vegetables. Because fibromyalgia is a relatively new condition in this country and because there is no known cause (as there are no known causes for many other auto-immune diseases and disorders) could fibromyalgia and restless leg syndromeand so many other new diagnoses and disorders be related to some of the chemicals we ingest in our diets on a daily basis? This writer certainly feels it could be one of the issues. But perhaps those points can be discussed in future blogs. For now, we are focusing on the integration of Western and Alternative medicine.


Simply stated, Western medicine is not the end all or be all of medicinal practices, and there truly are many other practices, effective methods, and treatments that are available to us in the 21st century. There are various ways to get and stay healthy and Western medicine isn't the only practice that works. Sometimes, we tend to forget that point in the United States, where practices that have been working for people all over the globe for thousands of years are shunned by those who tout Western medicine as the supreme practice.
Medical Leeching: More common in the 21st Century

We are seeing many practices integrated into Western medicine again, that used to be looked upon as barbaric at the dawn of Western practices. One such practice is the use of leeches in some microsurgeries

In many U.S. hospitals and facilities, the use of medical massage, and other healing modalities such as Reiki and therapeutic touch are becoming more and more common. The U.S. is a relatively new country compared to other countries around the globe, and it seems we are beginning to see the value in alternative methods across the board when it comes to healing, curing, and practicing medicine. Perhaps the collective, ego-centric mind in the U.S. is becoming less rigid, and more pliable? Perhaps in the future, we'll see more alternative practices being integrated into medicine in the United States, and perhaps healing professions will become more and more complementary. It is certainly something to look forward to, and especially as I share my Reiki healing energy with my patients freely, and as time allows.

Peace, Love, and Healing to you ~

Reiki Nurse