Saturday, July 20, 2013

In Praise of Western Medicine

Man, I love to play devil’s advocate.  On the subject of traditional v holistic approaches to wellness, I have a fairly good view from both sides.  My mother was an old school Registered Nurse, before and up until the shift in the healthcare system.  For those of you who are not old enough to remember, let’s call it “the time before open heart surgery was practically an outpatient procedure.”
Common in our house growing up were graphic hospital work tales of motorcycle wipe outs, accidental needle sticks, and various and sundry unchecked venereal cases.  Somehow, out of this, I grew to have a deep respect for medical doctors.  Along with this appreciation, we were taught that our health was, ultimately our responsibility.  A doctor is one person, who largely uses the information you provide to help you.  He or she does not have a crystal ball, and it is your job to help them connect the dots when you are sick, and express concerns you have about staying well.  For example, you’d be surprised the number of women who cannot tell the obgyn when was the start of their last period.  C’mon ladies. 
Ask yourself this:  What if next time I went to the doc, I whipped out a well kept log of (insert symptoms here), including times, possible triggers, what I did to calm it, etc.    Do you think maybe the doc would respond in kind and be grateful for an informed and motivated patient?
I am a practitioner of what is largely regarded as a holistic practice, Massage Therapy.  Though I would argue that it can be very clinical, it meets the holistic requirement of facilitating the body’s natural inclination to seek homeostasis, or “perfect” balance. 
Obviously, I am a huge believer in massage and its power.  But, I am respectful of the boundaries of “natural” practices, up to and including acupuncture, hypnosis, homeopathy, yoga, chiropractic, reflexology and a whole host of others.  Just as these have limits, so too does traditional medicine - and  I don’t ever want to be without either side!
My point is this.  All practitioners are just human beings.  Doctors do not live inside your body, feel what you feel, and they cannot be expected to hatch a proper course of treatment without your help.  I hear a lot of anti medical community banter, and I don’t agree with it.  I assure you that doctors are not lying awake at night trying to figure out how to poison you with pills.  And if you have a condition that can be controlled ONLY with holistic practices, that is wonderful.  It is my greatest wish for all of us.
But should you ever need something a bit stronger, please give your MD a little something to go on.

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