Eastern & Western Medicine – Heal Something Good

Eastern & Western Medicine

DONE IMG_6219_2You are getting the short end of the stick if you are only relying on Western medicine.

There’s no denying the great strides we’ve made in the medical field in the last 50 years or so. Western medicine is based in scientific fact. Tests, studies, labs, pathology, causes, effects. With all that testing we’ve discovered how vaccines work. We can treat imbalances in our brain and blood. We can transplant organs from one person to another or from an animal into a human. We can prolong the life of a person with serious forms of cancer. We can help people hear who have been deaf their entire lives. What we can do is truly astounding.

All of those treatments come with a price and we accept that price. If you get a transplant, you take a drug for the rest of your life that helps your body accept that organ or your body will reject it and you might die. That drug comes with its own set of side effects. The transplant and the drug might fail. But, they might work. If you have stage 4 cancer and undergo radiation and chemotherapy, you will spend days and weeks in pain with vomiting and stomach cramping. You will probably lose your hair. You will get rashes on your feet and you won’t be able to walk for a time. You may or may not fully recover. The cure could kill you before the cancer does. But, you try it anyway, because the trade off seems worth the risk and it might work.

We accept the downside because the chance to prolong our lives is worth it. The side effects are horrible but most of the time, after weighing the options, being dead would be worse.

Western medicine is most helpful when you have a major trauma that must be fixed. It’s a life or death situation. You’ve got a limb hanging off that must be reattached. If there is an acute issue that must be dealt with immediately, Western medicine is a great choice.

On the other hand, there is an entire world of Eastern medicine, of alternative therapies, that many people never explore. These gentler and kinder therapies work with your body instead of invading it. They sometimes take more time to work. They have fewer-to-no adverse side effects. They need active participation.

If you go a traditional route when you have a cold, you may buy over-the-counter medications that target your cold symptoms and suspend them pretty well for a few hours or all day. And then maybe you take something else for nighttime. You’d do that for about a week and a half or maybe two weeks and then your cold would subside, because that’s how long colds last. But you might feel better doing something, anything, to be a part of getting better, even if taking that pill or drinking that alarmingly red liquid is doing nothing to really solve the problem.

The OTC medications that targeted your symptoms did nothing to help your body heal and recover. They contained toxic added ingredients like artificial colors and sugars that actually inhibit recovery and create future un-wellness.

If instead you went to an homeopath or herbalist or consulted your essential oil book, you would learn that drinking warm water with squeezed lemon wedges a few times a day (add raw honey if you wish) and removing all dairy except kefir from your diet would be step one. You could also add in a few bites a day of a fermented vegetable to really help your stomach get back in shape quickly.

If your nose is stuffed, break it up with some steaming hot chicken soup and fresh ground pepper for lunch. Or put a few drop of eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils on your chest and massage it in with a carrier oil or put a few drop in a diffuser or humidifier to help with lung congestion. If your nose is too runny combine peppermint, lavender and lemon essential oils and rub them on the back of the neck or throat every few hours. If your throat is raw, a spoonful of raw honey might help coat it. Eucalyptus, lime and lemon essential oils rubbed on the chest with carriers are great for coughs, too. Lavender and peppermint oils will also bring down a fever.

Doing these things takes a little more time than just taking a pill twice a day. You have become an active participant in healing. You think about what’s happening in your body. When you rub the oils in, you appreciate the properties of the herbs. You check in with your body to see how it’s receiving them. You encourage your cells to begin the healing process stimulated by the essential oils. You imagine and set the intention to repair and regenerate so new proteins and enzymes will be created. You’re tapping into the powerful placebo effect, which has a poor name association but is actually a wonderful healing tool.

Even though this slower, gentler way takes more of your participation than simply taking an Over-the-Counter medication that is only targeting a symptom and not getting rid of the virus, if you keep up with treating your body with probiotics, essential oils and intention, the preventative care they do for your body will begin to ward off colds and infections before they start in the future.

Eastern medicine is classified as “alternative” here in the USA but in other places of the world, it’s the way they do regular medical practice. What we call Western medicine, or modern medicine, is really a by-product or natural evolution of the pharmaceutical industry. When they got involved in the early 1900s, they changed the scope of how medicine works and how healing the body is approached. The faster the better. Side effects were acceptable.

Before this change, during even the early 1900s, medical schools here in the USA taught homeopathy, including Boston and Stanford Universities and New York Medical College.

When the American Medical Association and the pharmaceutical companies began to work together, they suppressed practices that didn’t utilize pharmacology for an obvious reason. Money.

This is just logic. The pharmaceutical companies needed money to do their research. The research they did substantiated their claims that the drugs they developed worked. The doctors and teachers in the colleges reinforced these ideas by teaching about drugs and therapies that made money for the pharmaceutical companies – so they could make money for more research.

In and of itself this is a brilliant business plan that has only grown larger and stronger over the years. They built an ecosystem that regenerates itself and all the important players are represented and everyone is benefiting. Well, almost everyone. You are not if you aren’t complementing your Western Medicine with holistic practices.

Where chronic conditions fit in – This will all depend on how ill you are right now and no one can decide that but you.

When I was diagnosed with lupus, my endocrinology team was convinced there was a certain protocol that must be followed or I was risking hospitalization or worse. There was a standard steroid, anti-malarial and immune-suppressant treatment regimen that they understood and that was what they told me to do. I had one primary care physician who agreed with them and one did not. My rheumatologist agreed. Various other doctors weighed in, but at the end of the day, I had to make the decision for myself. I chose to try alternative therapies and use their medications and steroids as a last resort.

A year later, when my lupus was in remission, it was of particular interest to me that of the three original members of my endocrinology team, only one would admit to pushing so hard for me to take the standard medication regimen. He’s the one that scoffed at me, telling me if I wasn’t my own advocate I was naive because no one else would be. I truly do thank him for that moment now. Because of him I learned to talk to doctors with a firm voice and on my own behalf.

Another member of that team tried to take credit for how I had managed to get things under control and even told me that it would look good in his case studies. He suggested he had always wanted me to explore other options, which was very untrue unless today is opposite day. When I asked him if he would be telling his other patients about my success he quickly said no and laughed. It was a matter of insurance.

The third member of my endo team looked at my current remission numbers and said there must be some kind of mistake. Either I never had lupus and they had misdiagnosed me in the first place, or something had gone wrong with my current blood work. He sent me to a new specialist.

The new endocrinologist looked at my blood work and said there wasn’t enough conclusive evidence at the current time to diagnose me with lupus anymore. (That was just over a year after my official diagnosis.) That put me back in the “ish” category, which frankly, was just fine by me. I didn’t really care what they called it. I just wanted to feel well. And I do.

But, here’s what that means for you: you’ve got to take at look at what your doctors, your support team, your family, your body and your mind are telling you and really figure out what’s best for you, right where you are.

Doctors are going to want to give you some heavy medications and they are going to tell you that if you don’t take them some really bad things will happen. They might be right. But, they might not be.

Your homeopath and massage therapist are going to tell you to work on it energetically and with herbs and essential oils. They might be right. But, they might not be.

How much discomfort are you in? What are the downsides of trying to use alternative methods before cranking out the big, powerful guns that come with a lot of side effects? Can you be an active participant in your healing? Is time on your side or are you about to lose your lower intestines or your kidney because your inflammation numbers are so high and the doctors want to operate?

I’m a hands-on person and I hate to feel boxed in, so right away, just from a choice perspective, alternative therapies looked better. Modern medicine offered me, well, medicine, with lots of side effects. If I had no other choice and I was about to lose organs, I would take advantage of it, and gladly, to save my life. But looking at the drugs themselves and taking into account how ill I felt already, I was having a hard time imagining how they were going to improve my situation.