I think it does a disservice to Holistic Health when we call it “alternative medicine”.
“Alternative” means another choice, but it also implies a mutually exclusive, this-or-that choice. I don’t think health and healing works that way. No one symptom exists in isolation…people are whole, interconnected organisms, even at the purely physical, biological level. Add to that the connections of body to mind and spirit. Add to that the connections of relationships and social functioning. Health and healing is a “big picture” venture. “Mainstream” and “Alternative” medicine can (and do) work together – hence the names “Complimentary” and “Integrated” medicine. In the totality of health care, both are a viable ways to help. The difference comes in deciding which is the BEST approach in a given situation. Sometimes the best answer isn’t “this” or “that”. Sometimes the best answer really is “all of the above”.
The gap between mainstream, ‘scientific’ Allopathic health care and Holistic Health is narrowing. The more science studies holistic health, the more common ground is found. Naturopaths were promoting hygene long before the days of Lister and Pasteur. The “Nature Doctors” have been telling people to wash their hands for hundreds of years.
Vaccines are another area where modern medicine and holistic health finally agree. Now I’m sure many of you natural health fans are bristling at that and are ready to stop reading…but wait a minute first.
I realize there are religious objections to vaccines. Those are personal decisions, and outside of the scope of this post. I know there has been panic and mis-information about connections between vaccines and autism, not to mention legitimate problems with preservatives and allergies – but consider this for a minute: homeopathy.
The theory behind homeopathy is that the symptoms in an illness are actually evidence of the body’s self-healing efforts, not evidence of the disease process. So tiny doses of a substance that induces the same set of symptoms is given to help and support that inner self-healing. As the adage says, “like cures like”.
Now look at how vaccines work. A tiny bit of killed or disabled germs are given to teach your body how to protect itself against that particular germ and the disease that it causes.The germ-containing vaccine directs and helps our natural inner germ-fighting system. The germ helps the body self-cure the germ-caused disease before it even progresses enough to cause symptoms. In essence, like cures like. Sounds a little like homeopathy, doesn’t it? Yet vaccines are supported by hard science, and are time-proven good medicine.
Whether you are an advocate of natural health, or a pure mainstream kind of person – vaccines make sense. It keeps individuals healthy, it’s true. Looking again to the big picture, it keep the community as whole healthier too.
I’ve had my flu vaccine – have you? And wash your hands.