Medical Philosophy

medical philiosophyWith self-healing it is always worth exploring the options. Often there is a therapy, or a combination of therapies, that is perfectly suited to you and your situation.

The problem is finding it. There are very few people whose understanding embraces all forms of healing. For example if you go to a Chinese herbalist for treatment, you will get Chinese herbs! As with medical doctors who promote drugs and surgery, each practitioner has a vested interest in prescribing their preferred form of treatment. A basic understanding of the philosophy behind alternative treatments will help you find options that are best suited to your unique situation of ‘dis-ease’ or genetic inheritance if you are searching for your own healing.

Chinese medicine

Western medicine will treat a ‘disease’ whereas Chinese is based on a subtle and detailed diagnosis of a particular patient. Western medicine sees in terms of the pathology of isolated organs whereas Chinese sees the dysfunction of a normally harmonious, complete, living entity. Western medicine will prescribe drugs to modify a system whereas Chinese medicine will nurture a system back to a balance where self-healing becomes possible.

Ayurvedic medicine

Ayurveda means ‘science of life’ in Sanskrit. It is India’s oldest holistic healing system. It treats the mind, body and spirit with herbal medicines, oil therapy, massage, yoga and meditation. It works to create harmony in the patient through balancing the three bodily humours. It focuses on cleansing, purification and rejuvenation.

Homeopathy

Homeopathy works by stimulating the body’s own defences to deal with disease. The word ‘homeopathy’ is Greek in origin and is based on ‘homoios’ meaning ‘like’ and ‘pathos’ meaning ‘disease’. In essence ‘let like be treated by like’. It uses substances that mimic the illness in some way to stimulate the body’s recuperative powers. It is a patient centred treatment that seeks to tune remedies to the patient’s emotional and mental state. The forms the treatment takes can be tablets, granules, powder or liquid, cream or drops.

Naturopathy

The practice of Naturopathy asserts that the body is a self-healing mechanism. Given the right set of circumstances it will heal itself. Disease happens in the body due to an unbalance of some kind and the role of the Naturopath is to bring it to a state where self healing can take place.

This is done through a ‘whole person’ approach to health and disease (often called holistic) that may include activities and experiences that don’t even seem medical in intent.

Mind-body interventions

This philosophy of medicine looks at the role of the mind in creating health and illness and is sometimes called ‘psychoneuroimmunology’. Environmental and nutritional factors are recognised as important root causes of cancer. Also psychological and physical states often work together in bringing about the conditions for disease to develop. Early trauma or prolonged emotional stress create all sorts of physical changes, altering hormone balances, changing body acidity, provoking malignant cells and suppressing the immune system.

Massage

There is always room for the unexplained cure and anecdote records many brought about by a ‘spiritual intervention’. In tribal cultures this has been a mainstay of the medicine man for many thousands of years.

Reiki, for example, is a form of healing which channels a flow of energy through the body in order to activate the body to detoxify, rebalance and heal itself. A premise of Eastern medicine is that all living things have an energy system and that it is blockages in the energy that can lead to disease. The practice of Reiki has roots in Tibetan Buddhism and practitioners are shown how to be a conduit for life force energy.

Chiropractic

The word Chiropractic comes from a Greek root, ‘cheir’ meaning ‘hands’ and ‘practikos’ meaning ‘done by’. Chiropractic concentrates mainly on the spine, muscles, joints, ligaments, muscles bones and tendon to improve function, relieve pain and increase mobility. For example a minor displacement of the spine can create nerve irritation, which disturbs the nervous system and can lead to disease. Therapists believe that joint and muscle problems can be bought about by stress, postural problems and accidents and that the physical manipulation and correction of the joints has a positive effect on the nervous system. Examples of physical dysfunction not relating to joints that are successfully treated this way include asthma, constipation and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Vibrational

Studies of electrical effects of implanted tumours in mice have suggested that electrical currents may enhance cancer-killing effects of chemotherapy. Albert Szent-Gyorgi, the discoverer of vitamin C, has been exploring the bio-electronic model in cancer.

Vibrational medicine attempts to treat people with various forms of pure energy. This can be light or sound or even a vibrational value transferred to water. We readily accept imaging heat, even though we can’t see it, because heat is something we can sense through touch.

With the ‘energy body’ it is not so straightforward. Very few of us have experienced this for ourselves and there is apparently no sensory backup to tell us it is there. Although modern physical science tells us we are made of energy, modern medical science so far refuses to consider this.

Nutrition

The body has natural defences against free radicals, antioxidant enzymes and nutrients can ‘mop up’ free radicals and render them harmless. These include iron, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium as well as vitamins A, C and E. Beta Carotene and bioflavonoids are other plant substances that help protect against free radical damage. If your diet is low in these particular substances, or you have a lifestyle that uses them up very quickly, you are often without defence. The body is a self-healing mechanism, but only if it is functioning properly.

Nutraceuticals and botanicals

Pharmaceutical companies are screening plants from all over the world and even plundering folk medicine in the search for chemicals. After 200 years of being ridiculed by orthodox medicine, herbal medicine is stronger than ever and the clinical effects of natural medicines are being clearly demonstrated in research. This is because companies such as Monsanto have found out that they can ‘copyright’ the formulas found in such plants (bio-piracy) and hence render them illegal for use by other people.

wizcov800optIn a world going toxic, you owe it to yourself, your friends and your family to protect your very being, increase your immunity to modern disease and limit harm to our planet. With WildFood Wizard you enter a place of nutrition, of living lightly on the earth and enjoying radiant health. By bringing more of nature’s healing gifts into your life you will find a quiet joy, feelings of belonging, links with natural seasons and cycles – and nature wants you back.

We all know time is running out for our culture on planet earth. You can help by taking a step into a healthy relationship with the natural world around you. Start the journey back to nature with WildFood Wizard, available in hardback, paperback and for the Kindle. Just click the cover image to find out more…

Alternative Choices

alternative and complementaryIf you go to a Chinese Herbalist for treatment, you are likely to be prescribed – Chinese Herbs. Likewise if you go to a Western ‘allopathic’ doctor, you are likely to be prescribed drugs or surgery, the main tools of the typical Western doctor.

There are many ‘alternative treatments’ available but each practitioner has a vested interest in treating you with their preferred method of intervention. There are very few practitioners in any domain with enough experience and knowledge to direct you, the patient, to a form of intervention that is ideally suited to you and your dis-ease.

Off the top of my head, here are some ‘alternative’ forms of diagnosis and treatment:

Acupuncture
Affirmation and visualisation
Alexander technique
Amino acid supplements
Aromatherapy
Astrology
Autogenic training
Ayurvedic medicine
Biofeedback
Biogenics
Castor oil lymph cleansing
Chakra therapy
Chi Kung
Chinese nutrition and herbalism
Chiropractic
Cold therapy
Colonic irrigation
Colour therapy
Cranial electrical stimulation
Cranial osteopathy
Crystal therapy
Diet and nutrition
Dietary supplements
Dorsal column stimulation
Dr Bach’s flower remedies
Dream therapy / questing
Education and learning
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
Enneagram
Fasting
Feldenkrais therapy
Feng Shui
Folk remedies
Hair analysis
Herbalism
Inversion therapy
Seitai
Shamanic questing
Spiritual healing
Tai Chi
Tibetan medicine

Some ‘alternative medicine’ treatments are gaining credibility without the blessing of doctors. One example of conventional doctor’s treatment being superseded by a popular treatment is in osteoarthritis. Conventional medicine often prescribes a palliative drug to ease the pain which may actually worsen the condition.

Osteoarthritis has been viewed, according to many doctors, as something that we have to put up with as a ‘normal part of ageing’. Now, ingredients that have been used for years in Europe and Asia are combined in a natural remedy that physicians are increasingly prescribing. But such information takes a lot of time to filter through. Even though this particular remedy has been reviewed in the Lancet (McAlindon T. ‘Glucosamine for Osteoarthritis: dawn of a new era?’ Vol.357 No. 9252 p.247 2001) my own doctor was asked for it by a patient and replied “You’d be better off with a gin and tonic.”

Patients are still too infrequently told about complementary or alternative treatments or research. Doctors are supposed to offer patients alternatives as part of ‘informed consent’. Due to the workload of doctors they don’t have time to keep up with the research into every field except their speciality. Important research in other countries is often not translated or even made available to doctors.

Little research exists on simultaneous multiple treatments at levels tuned to the patient because it is impossible to test the validity and reliability of these using current scientific, medical research methodology. Double-blind placebo testing simply does not work in this context.

If your doctor is not familiar with or open to alternatives you are unlikely to even be told what they are. According to a report in the British Medical Journal, half of the UK population uses complementary medicine but doctors are rarely able to advise on such therapies because the research is contradictory or not rigorous enough.

Even when asked directly doctors are unable to offer advice on alternative or complementary options because they often lack any experience, knowledge or training in non-allopathic medicine. Medical history (which reveals a basis for some alternative treatments at least) is rarely taught in medical schools.

Many complementary therapies and alternative healing sources are available. It is rare that you will be prescribed any of these by a doctor, who is usually the first point of contact for a diagnosis, because their interest is focused on providing drugs or surgery as a response to illness.

wizcov800optIn a world going toxic, you owe it to yourself, your friends and your family to protect your very being, increase your immunity to modern disease and limit harm to our planet. With WildFood Wizard you enter a place of nutrition, of living lightly on the earth and enjoying radiant health. By bringing more of nature’s healing gifts into your life you will find a quiet joy, feelings of belonging, links with natural seasons and cycles – and nature wants you back.

We all know time is running out for our culture on planet earth. You can help by taking a step into a healthy relationship with the natural world around you. Start the journey back to nature with WildFood Wizard, available in hardback, paperback and for the Kindle. Just click the cover image to find out more…