Traditional medicine. What do you think of when you hear that phrase? Or Alternative medicine? Traditional medicine is Western medicine, based on biology, chemistry, physiology –science. Alternative medicine is treatment that is considered by our society to be less scientific and more “woo woo.” Alternative medicine covers things like acupuncture, chiropractic, Ayurvedic, and naturopathic to name but a few. I would venture to say that anyone trained in one or more of these practices would argue the assumption that these modalities are “less scientific.” There is all kinds of science supporting alternative forms of treatment. However, there is also a history with many of these modalities that significantly outlives Western medicine’s own history.
For instance, Ayurvedic medicine is over 5000 years old, acupuncture is equally old, the roots of naturopathic medicine go all the way back to Hippocrates. Herbal/plant/food based remedies of the many indigenous cultures of our planet are ancient, having been passed down from generation to generation. These “alternative” medicines have more tradition than “traditional” medicine. Science and the scientific method have given us longer life spans and often a better quality of life while living longer. However, Western medicine does not account for variation in our human bodies well. And let’s face it, we are all different. How we react to medicine (food, exercise, events) is highly individual. And we arrived at whatever state of dis-ease we are in, over time. We got there by repeating our daily routine; food, exercise, sleep and other habits such as alcohol, smoking, meditation, slouching, negative thinking, etc. Traditional medicine seldom looks to these traits during diagnosis and almost never addresses them in treatment.
The scientific method has brought us some truly amazing cures, vaccines, and surgical treatments. When dealing with something as sacred as the human body I understand caution. I understand the desire for repeatable results. However, as I said before, we are all different. After my surgery last year, I was in a lot of pain. When I took Vicodin I threw up immediately and my pain stayed with me. However, when my friend takes Vicodin she feels great relief and has no ill side effects. The best drug I could take was ibuprofen but since that is not very effective on high levels of pain, I found that meditation was very effective in pain relief.
Embracing our diversity is part of what inspired Vital Spirit. One size does not fit all, in fact one size doesn’t even fit most. Find the healer and healing modality that best suits your constitution and your specific ailment or issue. If you break your arm, please go see an orthopedist and get a cast. However, if you find yourself suffering a mysterious stomach ailment and traditional medicine can’t seem to provide relief consider asking your friends for referrals to alternative practitioners. The diagnosis may not be textbook and the treatment may not be a prescription drug, but I assure you there is a treatment that will bring relief.
A word of warning, often times choosing an alternative method of treatment is a commitment to changing some of those habits I mentioned earlier. But as the old adage states, we are nothing without our health. And our health has been compromised by our culture and our health system for much too long.