Readers of this blog and my upcoming book might very well ask what ‘type’ of physician am I? I clearly write about the holistic approach to healing—coming to terms with the body/mind/spirit aspects of each individiual. But I would not consider myself to be an ‘alternative’ practitioner. I do not advocate herbal or supplemental therapies. I am not personally a proponent of ‘energy healing’ modalities.
I do remain an ‘open-minded skeptic’. I insist in following the advances of medical science and do not dismiss the achievements of the pharmaceutical industry merely because they are capitalist enterprises. I do believe that there is a ridiculous redundancy, however, in the production of multiple drugs by different companies that perform nearly the same function. But there is no reasonable way to ‘control’ this aspect of the industry.
My approach is to question the recommendations of traditional medicine as well as alternative medicine. Show me the evidence. Some traditional recommendations regarding the treatment of ulcers and preventing diverticulitis have proven not to be scientifically accurate.
What concerns me is that some individuals gravitate to the ‘alternative’ world as if it is more ‘natural’ and therefore more effective and even safer. This is not necessarily true. Herbal therapies and supplements may or may not be effective or safe. Each and every one of them need to be objectively studied before they are unleashed upon a vulnerable public.
There are as many unscrupulous ‘alternative’ advocates as in any other field. They are well aware that there is a huge demand for such products and there is very little oversight which can offer objective evaluation as to their efficacy and safety.
The FDA, an imperfect governmental body for testing drugs, has little influence on the alternative world of herbs and other supplements. I would recommend some objective studies as provided by the Mayo Clinic and Memorial Sloan-Kettering.
I know for a fact that the ‘alternative’ practice of colonic hydrotherapy [giant enemas] offers no health benefits whatsoever.
Perhaps the best term to describe my approach is ‘integrative’–to bring into my practice those aspects of therapy that work. My position is to promote a greater understanding of the nature of healing–how to incorporate the aspects of body/mind and spirit in our thinking about what is important in life. There are a variety of approaches to this integration–discussion, meditation, and adapting an attitude about life in which all aspects of existence are interconnected.
I do believe that it is important for each individual to come to terms with what they believe to be true about the nature of reality–ie their own metaphysical position. This will form the framework for understanding all aspects of their lives–health/happiness/disease and despair.
I do believe that I have become a better healer by virtue of my open-minded skepticism and and awareness of what elements constitutes a human being. Acupuncture has been demonstrated to work. Certain forms of energetic healing such as Reiki also seem to be quite effective. Studies must continue along these alternative realms.
The open-minded skeptic is always seeking the truth, from whatever source can provide it.