The Traditionalists vs the Complementarists

Our western medical system is undergoing some serious growing pains. We have an ever increasing population that's aging who want a system of health care that provides a better quality of life at a price that is affordable. The question begs itself, given the constraints of our current traditional system, is this possible and, if it is, who will pay? Would more money fix the situation or make it better?

I am far from alone when I say I think not. Hardly a week goes by that I don't hear new tales of woe from clients dissatisfied with our current system. Statistics show Americans are now spending more than a billion dollars yearly on some form of complementary medicine. Yet some doctors are so horrified by their patients using alternatives they're told if they continue to do what they call ''experimental'' they need not come back. Maybe instead of arguing about who's right, we need to combine the best of both and throw out the rest.

Unfortunately, during the last half of the 20th century traditional health care focused on the use of pharmacological drugs as its main treatment for illness. This is not to say that all drug therapy is bad -- but consequently we have ignored other viable treatment modalities in favor of a pill. Pills may be easy; they may be convenient but we end up forming habits that will eventually fail us. Pills allow us to ignore any responsibility for our health and will eventually cause us to lose touch with the intuitive part of ourselves that knows healing resides within.

Complimentary medicine has not been without its twists and turns either. The health food industry (suppliers of herbs and natural supplements) needs to learn to better police itself. Those skilled in healing modalities need professional training and licensure to root out the charlatan and the snake oil salesman.

The good news is that the best of both worlds is available to you. It will require some work and responsibility on your part.

If you are currently well, great -- but don't wait until you are ill to establish yourself with a caring physician who will be open to the idea that you will be using natural therapies and a clean diet to maintain your health. The blood screenings and physical examination offered by your doctor are invaluable health tools.

Doctors once ordered sick people to bed; now they understand the importance of exercise in healing and vigorously endorse it. They must come to the same conclusion about the careful use of appropriate natural therapies that can and do complement traditional modalities.

If you are struggling with an illness and are seriously thinking about complementing your recovery with natural therapies, congratulations; you're beginning to recover a sense of responsibility for your health. A good place to start would be with the purchase of at least one good book on natural therapies. Most importantly, whatever systems you feel are right for you, be sure you work with trained professionals.

Although the argument over which system is best will not end anytime soon, having the comfort of knowing who's responsible for your health will empower you to make the right choices.

Till next time, Rebecca.

If you would like to learn more about Rebecca Huber or read more articles visit

Uploaded to The Zephyr website April 3, 2002

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