Holistic Medicine: the right paradigm
I still find this is a blurry area when I am discussing medical approaches, and quite honestly, I even get confused at times with the so called “titles” for each medicine model… it is important to know “who is who” and make informed decisions when it comes to manage our health and healthcare.
Model 1: Conventional Medicine, also known as allopathic medicine, does not need introductions or explanations as a system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals (such as nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery. Historically very interesting and indisputably a generator of progression and opportunities in the Health field.
Model 2: In the other hand, we have the so called Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAMs), which includes a wide variety of approaches, like Acupuncture, Massage Therapy, Mind-body technique (Meditation, Yoga), Chiropractic, Naturopathy, Herbal Medicine (nature becomes our pharmacy), Homeopathy, Reiki, or Aromatherapy, among the most common ones. “Traditional medicine, recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) has a long history; it is the sum total of the knowledge, skill, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness”. E.g. of widely known Traditional Chinese Medicine or Ayurveda Medicine used in the Western countries.
Model 3: You also may have heard as Functional Medicine as well, with increasing legacy of informed, and satisfied followers. Has a “holistic” approach, but goes deeper trying to find the “root cause” of the problems, and not just using different techniques or modalities to alleviate the patients’ symptoms.
NOW, which one is the best?!
I know Conventional Medicine reached undisputable achievements regarding diagnostics and treatment of complex medical problems, but “Alternative Medicines” understand that “gap” that the Conventional one cannot seem to figure out…like a “black hole” in Western Medicine. SOooo…why can´t we use both?? patients and even the professionals would definitely benefit from a co-operative alliance between both Medicines…we could all learn with each other! Should the health systems be aiming towards an “Integrative Medicine” model?!
I’ll give you an example i found: In Uthong Hospital (in Thailand), a 150 bed hospital, originally, Uthong Hospital provided conventional care to people, however, realizing that alternative medicine or Thai traditional medicine, when appropriately used, could be cost-effective health care, the hospital has started to provide alternative medicine since 1985. The Thai traditional officer, one cadre of trained health workforce, has been hired since then. The herbal medicines have been produced and dispensed to patients along with conventional medicine. The hospital has also provided support to the health centers as well as other hospitals to provide alternative services to patients. The herbal medicine production has been growing and is known as “Uthong Thai Herb”. Patients are able to choose between conventional treatment or medicines of their choice. Uthong Hospital is a good example to show how health care profession and Thai traditional practitioners work together based on patients’ choice.
And as this. many other cases exist Worldwide: see here what is already happening in US.
Take a few minutes to watch this Ted Talk about Holistic Approach to Healing: here.
None of the above models is perfect (both have collateral effects even in the hands of qualified specialists) and I am not radically defending one or another but urging the need for these to meet.