Skeptic about natural therapies?
Your friends may have seen a naturopath, reiki practitioner or homoeopath but you are still not convinced that those therapies actually work. Last thing you want is to be taken for a ride or to be told that you are naive for 'buying' all this 'hocuspocus'. Read on and you might decide that there is a case for maybe finding out more about natural therapies in order to make a truly informed decission about your health.
Natural therapies is not a religion
When I meet with people and they find out that I am a naturopath they either start asking all sorts of questions, hoping for a 'freeby' consultation or they state that they 'don't believe in it' or they display a 'been there, done that - and it didn't help' attitude.
Misinformed and disappointed
I think that many people are either misinformed, have had a bad experience with natural therapies or have totally unrealistic expectations. Occasionally I meet very narrow minded people who think that they alone have all the answers and what I do is just a waste of time. What is sad is that they often call themselves "scientists"! Doesn't a trully scientific mind have a certain openness and willingness to look for answers in ALL places instead of setting narrower and narrower parameters and becoming myopic?
The first thing I usually point out to the 'non-believer' is that he or she is really not required to 'believe' in anything because natural therapies does not fall under the heading of "religion" or "faith". It is a system of healing that for the most of it has been practiced since the beginning of mankind and the majority of knowledge has been collected by observing the patient, the symptom picture and the healing effects of various natural substances. Keeping in mind that the skill of 'observation' is one of the most important tools any health professional has ,this type of collecting data should not be dismissed as unscientific. After all, this type of practicing dates back to the very beginnings of medicine.
Furthermore, almost all of our modern medicines have been based on herbs or nutrients of some sort. The Pharmaceutical industry has taken this age old wisdom and knowledge and manufactured medicines in the lab hoping to mimmic the effects using the active ingredience of many botanicals.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine
Hippocrates, the well known Greek physician who was born in 460 BC, recommended that physicians record their findings and their methods so that these records may be passed down and employed by other physicians. He believed in the value of observation and in acurately describing symptoms.
He also held the belief that the body must be treated as a whole and not just as a series of parts. The most famous statement he might be known for is actually much closer alligned with naturopathy than modern medicine -
PRIMUM NON NOCERE - FIRST, DO NO HARM.
Been there, done that
As far as bad experiences with natural therapies are concerned I usually remind people that it might take some time to find a suitable practitioner who will be right for their needs. After all, if you see a medical doctor and you don't like the way he or she conducted the consultation you don't just say ' been there, done that' and never see another practitioner. The same applies to choosing an appropriate natural therapist. You have to look for the right one for you and, it goes without saying, you should find out as much as possible about their qualifications and experience.
Lets face it, no one therapy suits everyone equally well! Natural therapies have limits just as orthodox medicine has limits. If someone promises you a panacea for all your ailments without you having to change your lifestyle or diet etc. RUN as fast as you can!
Taking personal responsibility
You WILL have to put in the hard work! You most probably got sick over a period of time and getting well again can take just as long! There is no way around the fact, that ultimately YOU are responsible for your health and well-being.
A practitioner can only guide you but YOU need to take the steps. So if a previous therapy failed ask yourself if you really did what was expected. If you did then obviously both you and the therapist need to realize that there are limits in what can be achieved with natural therapies.
The growing interest in natural therapies is starting to drive the quest for more 'conventional' scientific studies and there are a number of results backing many previous claims made by therapists.
Studies cost a lot of money and unfortunately not much is being poured into natural therapy studies. During a recent seminar at Melbourne's Swinburne University I learned that the Australian Government has zero dollars put aside for actual funding of studies involving natural therapies! There is simply no way to compete with the huge amount of money spent by pharmaceutical companies during the study and development of orthodox medicines.
Firstly, let me state that I believe that healthy skepticism is not a bad thing, especially in regards to the health care industry! Sick people are often desperate and therefore they can be taken advantage of easily. So choose your health practitioner carefully and inform yourself about everything. Do not accept anything on face value alone but ask as many questions as possible.
Go with your instincts! If something doesn't sit right with you then listen to those possible warning signals and proceede cautiously.
Apply this skepticism not only to natural, alternative and complementary health care but also to orthodox medicine. Why, you ask? Aren't there more studies behind pharmaceutical drugs and isn't there more scientific proof for orthodox medicine? It all depends what you call 'proof' or 'scientific'. Do you trust studies which are mostly funded by the same companies which produce and sell those medicines?
Did you know that most pharmaceutical companies spend more money on marketing than actual product research?
Skepticism about energetic healing
For some of you the idea of energetic healing may seem a little 'out there' and you might hesitate to embrace something so new to you. I respect your feelings but would like to encourage you to open your mind to new experiences.
If you are the 'scientific type' you might shudder and dismiss energetic healing altogether. But let me bring you up to date with QUANTUM PHYSICS and what some highly respected scientists think about energetic medicine.
Richard Gerber, M.D. has this to say in his book Vibrational Medicine - New Choices for Healing Ourselves -
"Quantum physics and experiments in high-energy particle physics have shown us that, at the particle level, all matter is really energy. Einsteinian medicine is a viewpoint that tries to put the Newtonian picture of biomachinery into the perspective of dynamic interactive energy systems. .... The energies employed by those who use vibrational methods of healing also deliver measured quanta of energy to patients. However, the energy delivered by these therapies exists in frequencies far beyond those measured with conventional detection equipment. As unbelievable as it might seem, this higher dimensional energy is predicted by Einstein's famous equation, E=mc2."
Dismissing the existance and effectivness of energetic medicines would be as unreasonable as dismissing the existance of microbes and yet, there was a time in medicine when nobody knew about disease causing germs.
Did microbes not exist before the discovery of the microscope? Of course they did, but we simply didn't know because we didn't have the tools to see or measure their existence.
"Operation successful but the patient died"
By the middle of the nineteenth century, post-operative sepsis infection accounted for the death of almost half of the patients undergoing major surgery. A common report by surgeons was: operation successful but the patient died.
Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, an Hungarian physiscian born in 1818, is today known as the pioneer of the antiseptic policy. He observed that there was a high number of women dying from puerperal fever also known as 'childbed fever' after giving birth. This was especially happening in hospitals where doctors worked with cadavers and then attended a woman during birth without first washing his hands.
In those days the existance of germs or disease causing microbes was not known and when Semmelweis observed that there was a reduction in mortality if doctors simply washed their hands he brought his findings before the medical fraternity.
He received a very cold reception and was ridiculed for suggesting that some unknown "cadaveric material" could be causing the many deaths. Some doctors even said that washing one's hands each time before treating a patient was too much work!
Who can imagine an operating theatre today without surgeons first scrubbing up!
Dr. Semmelweis spent 14 years developing his ideas and lobbying for their acceptance. However, nothing changed! In 1865 he suffered a nervous breakdown and he died in an insane asylum, ironically, from blood poisoning.
Should we listen to those who observe and bring forth new ideas which could improve our lives, even though the 'scientific' proof is simply not obtainable at this stage in time. Of course we should!
Should we ignore the data which is mainly based on observation, which is 'anecdotal' and which has been handed down from generation to generation? Surely not!
Unfortunately, it can take a long time to change conservative medical thinking. To replace an old school of thought always encounters resistance. But I firmly believe that the only way forward is to work together, choosing the effective and 'good' ideas from both models, the orthodox and the natural / alternative / complementary system of healing. There certainly seems to be movement towards this 'integration' of thoughts.
Patient centred treatment
Patients should have the right to choose the type of therapy most appealing to them without fearing ridicule or being ostracized from anyone but especially from the health practitioner which they chose!
At the centre of any treatment is the patient, not the therapy nor the health care provider, and certainly no government department or religious group!
Don't miss the boat!
The Australian Government estimates that approximately 57% of the population uses complementary and / or alternative medicine. The estimated expansion of the market is 15% per year. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners questioned their members and found that 1 in 6 Australian GPs either recommended or practiced some form of complementary / alternative therapy.
So give me a call and find out what this "nonsense" is all about.