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A Roadmap to Better Health – Part 2

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We live in a culture that has an artificial divide between allopathic (standard) medicine and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices. We need both.

Standard Medicine

Allopathic medicine developed out of the use of surgery and drugs. If you’re in a car accident, you go to the ER, not your nutritionist. An allopathic physician excels at treating the immediate symptom. When you are in acute pain or have a serious condition, you need a professional trained to deal with your emergency.

Andrew Weil, MD, the Harvard-trained doc who started the first holistic medical training for physicians, says that allopathic medicine is not focused on improving your health. With its focus on the immediate condition, it’s not focused on enhancing health. That said, many physicians tell me they want to help their patients beyond treating their symptoms. A good physician loves to have patients who want to do his part of getting well.

Alternative Medicine

CAM practices evolved out of traditions such as Eastern Medicine. For thousands of years, traditional cultures used their food, herbs, bodywork and other therapies such as acupuncture to heal themselves. All the therapies that evolved out of these practices are labor intensive. They tend not to be technological or scalable, though; in other words, there is not a lot of money to be made. Without the support of institutional funding, the research has lagged. In recent years, in part because of the demand, more studies are being done.

The core principle of CAM approaches is that through improving the health of the body, the body heals the presenting symptom and its cause. It might mean more work, money and time on the client’s part. It also could mean that once the problem is fixed, it is fixed. It certainly means the client is at least the co-creator of her health turning around. Getting well is not a passive act. It doesn’t come from taking one pill; health comes from addressing the underlying causes, which, in most cases, existed for years.

For many the first investment is education, starting with the belief that getting well is possible. When I had my holistic medical clinics – with practitioners from physicians to massage therapists – I had a Vietnam vet come to me with a bad hip. He had tried everything before seeing me. I was his last hope before surgery.  In his fourth session of Rolfing, he released some past trauma. When he came back the next week, his bad hip was finally pain-free.

Next week we will explore how this man’s healing was possible through release deep stress.

Owen Marcus, MA, Certified Advanced Rolfer, author of: Power of Rolfing, – call if you have questions: 265.8440.

photo by Hans / Pixabay

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