The Big Idea – CHOICE – Choice of Approaches and Choice of Delivery
Approaches to Healthcare – Allopathic and Alternative/Complementary
It is less than twenty years since the concepts of complementary, alternative and holistic healthcare began to be accepted by the American medical community. In 1999 the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) signed the organizational change memorandum creating the National Council on Complementary and Alternative Medicine NCCAM and making it the 25th independent component of NIH. In 2014 Congress changed NCCAM’s name to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). The change was made to more accurately reflect the Center’s research commitment to studying promising health approaches already in use by the American public.
Editor’s Note: See Part 2 HERE
Prior to these developments, there had been what we might call “open warfare” in the U.S. between traditional, allopathic medicine and complementary/alternative medicine, with the demand for the latter coming strongly from the Inner Directed population. By contrast, in Europe, allopathic and complementary medicine have existed side by side for centuries (even back to Hippocrates’ time circa 400BC) and today, around 70% of physicians in countries such as Germany, practice both. In early times Allopathic medicine was practiced by what were termed the “Rationalists” who followed the scientific method, who wanted to understand and destroy the causes of illness, and the “Empiricists” who were more interested in wellness – who saw the healing force as being within the body, and believed the physician’s role was to assist the body back to its natural state of homeostasis by cooperating with the body’s efforts to heal itself.
The allopathic approach is a holdover from the scientific method that requires positivism, objectivism, and reductionism, all of which are based upon material facts and do not take into account subjective data. Thus, in allopathic medicine, we are omitting a lot of data from our diagnoses and understanding of how human beings work. I am not against the scientific method – it has enabled us to do some amazing things – putting a man on the moon, making enormous developments in technology – but it does not address aspects of consciousness and subjective responses.
Now, with our greater understanding of people, accepting them as manifestations of consciousness with minds and spirits, as well as physical bodies, let us go beyond the scientific method when thinking about healthcare. The scientific method leads to a tendency to treat symptoms rather than the whole person. Let us think about healthcare from a whole-person perspective that includes body, emotions, mind, and spirit – thus enabling a system-of-systems approach that has consciousness at its foundation. It is already very encouraging that the Mayo Clinic recommends meditation in the treatment of both physical and mental health, and suggests that it decreases:
- Anger and hostility
- Symptoms of post-traumatic stress
- Physical and emotional pain
- Emotional reactivity
- Addictive behaviors
- Negative effects of stress
- Use of and need for pain medications
There will be some interesting dichotomies and even continuing conflicts here, as we work to combine these approaches, although as mentioned in the last article, discoveries such as the Higgs Boson, and developments in neuroscience are making this easier. One area is that of hope. I have heard Allopathic medical practitioners tell nurses and other caregivers not to give patients and their families “false hope.” One can never be 100% certain that what is hoped for will come to pass, but it seems to me that, even from a medical perspective, there should always be hope. Without it, people would have a tendency to just give up or would become so stressed out that their cortisol levels would rise and create additional problems. Energy healers have seen a “dimming” of energy fields when people have been told that there is no hope.
Another is that of “hi-touch.” That means more than having a bedside manner that is more people-oriented. If we go back to the concept of energy fields, such as those being researched by the Heartmath Institute, then people’s energy fields can and do “co-mingle.” And so, touch, as in chiropractic and massage, can be of enormous benefit for stimulating positive energy, as well as for adjustments that affect not only the skeletal structure, but the entire nervous system. I have to admit that I have experienced several forms of complementary approaches from acupuncture to chiropractic and energy healing. All of them were very effective, fast and without negative side effects.
Most people would accept the idea that “prevention is better than cure” but how many of us do anything about that, if it affects our lifestyle? By the time that we visit medical practitioners it is generally because we know we have something wrong, and after batteries of tests, they tell us to diet, exercise and more. Very often health problems can be detected at much earlier stages by complementary practitioners, and adjusted more quickly, easily and cost-effectively.
For delivery by technology, the location could range from extremely hi-tech hospitals to homes, to hotels or even in person on a park-bench. The delivery mechanism could be hi-tech in any of those locations – large technical machinery such as MRI scanning and more, to hand-held “hospitals” of the Star-Trek variety, to wearable technology. For delivery by people (especially for complementary/alternative care), the location could be anywhere – in home, in office. And technology via apps could be used for diagnostics, monitoring, communicating and more.