TRADITIONAL WESTERN VS. HOLISTIC APPROACHES TO ILLNESS
by Dr. Randy Martin, OMD
I can’t begin to tell you how often I’m asked: “What do you think of my condition, doc?” or “What’s my diagnosis?” or “Is there any hope for a cure?” It’s no surprise that everyone is interested in healing and getting rid of their particular condition. And these days, it's the holistic approach everyone is wanting!
Link: Scientific Proof that Acupuncture Stops Pain!
But these questions are frustrating to a holistic doctor like me, because I treat the whole person, not just the disease or condition. When you receive a diagnosis or have a particular condition, you are seeing just the tip of the iceberg. There is an entire iceberg of imbalance under the surface, which has been there for a long time prior to the tip suddenly becoming apparent and being diagnosed.
The holistic doctor like me is going to treat the iceberg under the surface, not just the tip that can be seen. If you receive ongoing preventative treatment from a holistic doctor, it is much more likely that your body will never even produce the tip, because the imbalances that create the iceberg in the first place will be rectified and healed prior to a disease occurring.
Western medical diagnosis is useful, but only to a limited extent. Its usefulness is limited to being able to use surgical intervention or drug treatments. But if your disease is not serious enough to be treated with drugs or surgery, if these modalities were unsuccessful, or if you do not desire to have treatment with drugs or surgery, then the Western disease categories become much less useful.
A downside of placing your condition into a disease model is that it creates a psychological thought pattern in your brain that you now “have” this particular disease. But diseases are not something we possess; they are only convenient subdivisions we are placed into by Western medicine.
The approach I take, due to my holistic philosophy and training in Chinese medicine and homeopathy, is exactly the opposite. You are not the name of a condition or disease, nor do you “have” a disease. Rather, you are a dynamic human being who happens to be experiencing a particular set of symptoms during a particular time in your life. If you choose to work on yourself—emotionally, spiritually, and physically—then you will not have this particular set of symptoms forever. They will change, and your body/mind/spirit will create a new and different set of symptoms, representing a new and different challenge in your life.
We, as human beings, are always going to be challenged with imbalances. It is the nature of the human mind/body/spirit to always be out of balance in one way or another. The goal of the holistic approach is to constantly stay one step ahead of the imbalance so that we never actually “get” a disease per se, but are always just treating the imbalances, the more subtle symptoms that Western medicine has no name or treatment for because they are “sub-clinical” and cannot be measured using Western diagnostic techniques.
But these more subtle sub-clinical imbalances can be measured and detected using the diagnostic techniques of Chinese medicine and homeopathy.
It is to your advantage not to attach yourself to the name of your disease. This “attachment” co-creates the disease, giving it a kind of power over your being. Attaching a name to your disease gives your power away to the disease. When you give your power away like this, it affects your entire energy dynamic—your chi—and weakens your ability to get well.
There is always hope for you to be cured of whatever ails you. People get up off their supposed deathbeds every day.
As a trained homeopath, I never judge a person’s “supposed” condition. My job as a healer is to assess the situation and offer a program for healing. The healer should “feel into” your pain, your discomfort, and your symptoms and arrive at the most competent, efficient, and effective treatment.
To diagnose from a Western medical view is to give your symptoms a precise name. Haven’t we all been categorized enough? When I’m not feeling well, I’d rather a doctor “see” and “feel” me and assess my health problem as part of my overall being instead of placing me into convenient categories for the sake of giving me a drug or starting me on a surgical regimen. Don't get me wrong—I completely support and love Western medicine, when it is necessary. In fact,
I often refer my patients to a medical doctor for a diagnosis and treatment. But the Western approach on its own rarely has all the answers. The important thing is to know when to use Western medicine and when to use some of the more complementary approaches.
The process of treating you homeopathically and holistically is a matching game. I match your symptoms with the “picture” of the correct homeopathic remedy. The homeopathic process is to find your match—your similimum, your correct resonance—without having to place you in a box or dissect your humanness.
The process of Chinese medicine is very similar. In Chinese medicine, we match your symptoms to the acupuncture points and herbal formulas that will unblock your “stuck” energy. We are all “stuck” and “blocked” to one extent or another. It’s the nature of the physical body to get stuck at times. Chinese medicine has the tools to unblock you without having to categorize you or place you into a box.
I might say you have “damp spleen” or “stagnant liver chi,” but these are generalizations that do not correspond to Western medical diagnoses. The Chinese diagnosis allows me to determine which of your energetic pathways need to be treated. It is a flowing assessment that is always changing, rather than a static assessment, as is made in Western medicine.
One question a patient recently asked was how energy medicine, such as acupuncture or homeopathy, could cure structural problems dealing with the spine, bones, muscles, or organs. I explained that I do support and encourage her to get a massage and chiropractic adjustments. I even supported her to take an antibiotic or get surgery, when necessary. But it’s the energy blockage that precedes the chemical imbalance in your body that then enables the body to create symptoms like a stiff neck, liver disease, diabetes, headaches, infertility, etc. So by unblocking and balancing the energy, the overall body chemistry will also be more balanced.
By using the Chinese diagnostic techniques of pulse and tongue, and by selecting the correct homeopathic remedy, many physical ailments can be healed before they become a larger problem. To the best of my knowledge, acupuncture and homeopathy are two of the most effective forms of energy medicine for doing this. Fortunately, many health insurance companies are now also covering these types of treatments.
I look forward to working with you throughout 2014.
*Chinese Herbal Medicine*
*Nutritional Counseling and Diet*
Dr Randy Martin, OMD, LAc, PhD, CCH
Doctor of Chinese Medicine, Certified Classical Homeopath
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