By: Dr Linda Page, ND
Our culture has allowed the health care industry to become so powerful and disproportionately lucrative that it is now in the business of illness rather than health. In one disconcerting example, a cancer physician, returning from an extended vacation, found an empty waiting room. His colleague had been treating his patients nutritionally. The physician wailed, “This is terrible. It took me years to build a long-term, regular patient clientele!” People everywhere are realizing that our doctors receive no reward for health, only for treating illness.
Most medical schools don’t teach disease prevention, proper diet or exercise as a part of health. Objective measures are emphasized – white blood cell counts, blood pressure readings, etc., instead of how the patient feels. Pain is treated as a powerful enemy, its symptoms assaulted with prescription drugs that mask it or drive it underground- a practice that usually means it will resurface later with increased intensity.
The twenty-first century finds many people using more natural, less drug-oriented therapies, sometimes as an alternative to conventional medicine, sometimes in a team approach along with it. As orthodox medicine becomes more invasive, and less in touch with the person who is ill, informed people are becoming more willing to take a measure of responsibility for their own health.
Health is a lifestyle process. It is based in wellness care, instead of just illness treatment. The best news is that natural remedies work – often better than prescription drugs for many health conditions.
Orthodox medicine focuses on crisis intervention and is less successful in treating chronic illness. Many modern medical techniques were developed during war time, for emergency care. However, respected studies show that most illnesses don’t just drop out of the sky and hit us over the head. Arthritis, osteoporosis, lower back pain, high blood pressure, coronary-artery disease and hormone imbalances are related to aging and lifestyle. The emergency measures tend to overkill, and even suppress the body’s own immune response. Mental anxiety is brought on by needless testing, medication, or treatment, and a brusque or rushed doctor. You can literally worry yourself sick when there is nothing seriously wrong.
The human body is a beautifully designed healing system that can meet most problems without outside intervention. Even when outside help is needed, healing is enhanced if the patient can be free of emotional devastation, depression and panic. Emotional trauma impairs immune function and panic constricts blood vessels, putting additional burden on the heart.
Alternative healers recognize that pain is also the body’s way of informing us that we are doing something wrong, not necessarily that something is wrong. Pain can tell us that we are smoking too much, eating too much, or eating the wrong things. It can notify us when there is too much emotional congestion in our lives, or too much daily stress. Pain can be a friend with useful information about our health, so that we can effectively address the cause of the problem.
Not every problem requires costly, major medical attention. Healthy food, regular moderate exercise and restful sleep is still the best medicine for many health conditions. The principle of nature governing health and illness are ageless; they apply equally everywhere at all times. There is no down time with the laws of nature, and they do not play favorites.
We need to be re-educated about our health – to be less intimidated by doctors and disease. I believe that the greatest ally of alternative medicine will be science itself – not the restricted view of science that assumes its basic concepts are complete, but the open-ended science that sets preconceived notions aside. Today’s consumers are not only more aware of alternative health care choices, and more confident in their own healing strength, but also want to do something for themselves to get better. The time has clearly come for a partnership between health care professionals and patients, so that the healing resources from both sides can be optimally employed. No prescription is more valuable than knowledge.
Source: Page, L., 2000. Healthy Healing. 11th ed. United States of America: Traditional Wisdom, Inc.