Alternative or Complementary Medicine and Conventional Medicine don’t have to be in conflict. Each benefits the patient. With this article I want to show a bridge between these two positions of medicine and I want to show you how beneficial and life saving the combination of them can be. This is Integrative Medicine.
The chasm between these two kinds of medicine is a historical fact and goes back many years, but became even deeper during the 19th century, when Penicillin, X rays etc. were developed. And still today there are this strong positions and discussions that are not objective at all. As a result people become confused, skeptical and fearful. Many people strictly favor only one side or the other; – either the conventional chemical drug side or the alternative medicine side. Each side behaves as if it were a religion. “Do I believe or not”?
Some people who see a Naturopath in addition to their regular physician are afraid of telling the regular physician, He/she might disapprove of it or not be willing to care for them in the future. Or they are afraid of having to suspend the chemical drug (i.e. for high blood pressure) when they see an Alternative Medicine Therapist. There is so much uncertainty around this subject and unfortunately the sick person who needs help from both sides is lost in between.
Why should there be anything wrong in using both approaches? I always encourage people to use all options for health. It would be good to let our conventional doctors know that we – in addition to taking their medicine – are also taking some herbal remedies or seeing a Homeopath.
To encourage you to stand for your right I will give you examples of 2 cases, I just recently experienced during my stay in Germany. These examples are perfect to show, how complementary/integrative medicine works – both sides of medicine work together and it is totally obvious, that without the conventional medicine or without the Natural Medicine the person would not be alive anymore.
The first example is the story of a 85 year old woman who had severe cancer 6 years ago. She worked very hard all her life, her parents were refugees from an eastern part of Europe. She learned from her early life how to grow vegetables in gardens and fields, how to make bread, how to sew and cook. She and her husband had two children, but the son died when he was 30 years old. Two years after the lost of her son she developed abdominal pain. She went several times to different doctors; no one really took her pain seriously. The diagnosis was always soreness from a torn muscle. (She already was 79).
Finally it was diagnosed as abdominal cancer in an advanced stage. Immediately she had surgery, but the doctors could not remove all the cancerous parts from her body and suggested “the rest we will do with chemotherapy”. When the doctor came with the chemotherapy injection, she said: “Ah, here comes my life saving angel”. The young doctor said, ”How wonderful, you are the only person who greets me that way. Everybody else is saying, oh my god, another injection of the devil’s stuff”.
When she was released from the hospital she started to eat only healthy food mainly self grown fresh vegetables from her garden, she drank alternating herbal teas for kidneys, liver, lungs, digestion etc. A morning swim in a nearby pond was part of her routine even though it was a little bit cool many days. She learned Qi Gong and became the instructor for a senior exercise group.
When I met her I found a wrinkled woman wit hands shaped from a life of long hard work. Always doing something from the heart, loving her husband who is not so strong anymore because of a heart problem. “I want him to be with me many more years, so I might do a little bit more for him than I should”. She is a very grounded person, strong, happy and thankful for every day of her life and for every situation that comes.
I am convinced that she would not have survived the advanced cancer without the conventional (operation and chemo) medicine, as well as with the Natural Medicine approach with her healthy, fresh and simple diet, the herbals, the morning baths and her healthy point of view.
The other person is a younger women from the same village, she discovered Ovarian Cancer, already in an advanced state. She had an operation, followed by Chemotherapy. But even after months she did not recover from these treatments, she lost weight, was depressed and the doctor said to her: “just enjoy the summer – there is nothing more that I can do for you”.
She felt totally desperate and lost until a friend of her daughter told her about a Naturopath who worked with Chinese Medicine, Homeopathy etc. He gave her hope and recommended also some changes in her life – less work, relaxation techniques, affirmations and moderate exercises. Soon she felt more strength, gained weight, came out of the desperation and everybody who sees her today says: “you look so healthy and good” (when somebody in Germany says that, they really mean it!) And she says “I have not felt so good in many years’.
Even though she is not yet beyond the critical 5 year recovery mark, I am sure, that she would not be in such a excellent condition without the alternative approach.
You see, these are only two simple examples, but I hope they can help you to allow yourself to be more open to the alternative medicine approach as a complement to the regular medical approach.