Holistic or Traditional?
The meaning of alternative health has undergone tremendous changes over the past 5 years. It used to be exclusive to medicine that was completely separate from Western, or traditional, healthcare. Some used it as a way to take a stand against big pharmacies and the constant pushing of drugs that helped one symptom but created five more.
We have seen a shift recently this is characterized by holistic health or a more natural way of approaching wellness. Many people combine healthcare options by using treatments that nurture the body while using traditional medicine for illnesses and injuries that require immediate results or more intensive interactions.
For instance, cancer patients are increasingly using meditation, message, and most importantly whole food nutrition to combat the disease in addition to receiving chemotherapy and radiation. Many well-respected health institutes are incorporating these methods, that were once considered alternatives, to create balanced options for their clients.
Living in the United States we cannot forget how fortunate we are to have a wide variety of wellness choices, and many lives have been improved by sound science. We must give credit where it is due to have overcome devastating illnesses that other countries still deal with. We are blessed to be able to make choices based on personal beliefs and grateful we are privileged enough to have those options.
Unfortunately, I still read commenters who call holistic treatment snake oil or witch hunts (this phrase is so overused today!) If I choose to use my kitchen as my pharmacy, it does not mean that I am following a fad or that I am less intelligent than the person using a prescription. If I choose to use meditation to release stress and therefore lower pain and inflammation, it does not mean I am a fool or uneducated. If I use massage as preventive medicine, why should that trigger name calling from a dedicated traditionalist?
The answer is none of those derogatory terms or assumptions are valid. I choose so-called "alternative medicine" as my number one means of good health and a keen mind. I am well educated and have excellent critical thinking skills, and I choose to use natural methods to maintain a healthy balance between my body and my mind.
If I have a pain or discomfort that suddenly appears I investigate to see what is out of balance in my life. I am always amazed at how my body perfectly projects subtle frustrations that I mentally have tried to bury or ignore. Yet when I look deeper, I can see that my left shoulder pain started about the time I felt betrayed by a friend, or that my right knee was bothering me when I needed to heal from my father.
Both of these ailments were a way for me to step back and realize I had more to work on in my self-journey. I needed to overcome insecurities, resentments, and frustrations. I needed to forgive others and myself for bad decisions and past events. If it were not for this alternative method, I would have used pain pills to cover up the symptoms but never dealt with the real reasons behind the problem.
Some may see this as naïve, but I see it as enlightening. I am more aware of my own faults and where healing is required. This does not make me foolish or straightforward. Instead, it makes me aware and open to change.
Should I be in a situation where I am afflicted by something serious, I would not hesitate to seek traditional medicine while I also pursue holistic choices. A broken arm will heal a lot faster with the proper splinting, and a burst appendix requires immediate intervention. Afterward, I can look to see what emotions were involved with those areas of the body, but in those moments, traditional medicine is the correct course of action.
For now, I concentrate on clean eating, quieting my mind, forgiving every day, and being grateful for the abundance of blessings in my life. Something must be working right, I haven't had a reason to visit a doctor for over a decade. But if I needed to go, I would not hesitate to seek conventional treatment.
Don't get hung up in the titles or stereotypical descriptions. If you have health issues, investigate all of your possibilities to see what works best for you. Healthcare is a personal choice for each adult, just make sure you have the knowledge required to make an informed decision!
Kathie Fingerson 07/25/18