Which, I get it. We’re used to toting down the innovation that is modern Western medicine, the many valuable resources we now have our disposal to live as long as we do…but where did those innovations originate? Where did ideas, techniques, and ingredients first take shape?
Well, what is now considered “alternative” is where much of what we know today comes from. The ingredients and herbs that we used to use on the daily to be healthy are processed into current prescriptions. And science has proven that the ideas behind many alternative medicines are truly beneficial. For example, neurology has shown that there are nerve clusters where our body’s “chakras” are located. And the energy and electricity from our brains and hearts project beyond us, able for an EKG machine to pick up without being hooked up to the patient.
I think the fact that my religion class, in preparation for a project that requires us to organize our “last rites,” brought in several people to speak last week about alternative medicine. Not to mention that all of these speakers are professors who have studied years of Western medicine and work in the university’s Health Sciences department. So it’s not like we have people off the street going in blind to talk about this topic.
The class really fired me up. I have been on and off on my interest and trust in holistic practices.
What I value most about holistic medicine is its intentions. We have modern medicine in case of major emergencies, and that is such a blessing. However, how the current healthcare system operates, it makes its business when we aren’t feeling well. The more sickness there is, the more money they make. Holistic medicine, however, is preventative in nature. It’s about learning to tune into your own unique body, you yourself being your best healer, to know your natural rhythms and composition.
When we go to the doctor’s office, we tell them our symptoms and they give the pill or treatment that is associated with whatever condition you’re in. Essentially, it’s the “mean” treatment, the standard and average way that seems to work with most people. But that doesn’t answer questions you might have about your own potential reaction or benefits. And since it’s medicine that is simply coping with our illness, not necessarily treating and preventing it, you have to keep coming back or be reliant on that medication to feel well.
Also, when they give you said pill based on said diagnosis, it’s isolating that one concern in most cases rather than taking into account your entire body, mind, and soul. We are constantly being influenced by different outside stimuli and throw off our balance, causing problems that I never associated with each other. For example, having digestive issues when you’re especially anxious. You have to pick and choose what you should treat, when a change in lifestyle or a daily practice could do wonders.
The Western lifestyle in general, always needing to be up and going, eating a conventional diet, expecting constant productivity and instant gratification, is the exact opposite of what is best for our overall wellness. So yes, we are being reactive to the “normal” symptoms that just arise by either accepting them or numbing them. Dealing with migraines, indigestion, acne, and other common conditions we’re accustomed to aren’t supposed to be “givens.” There’s a reason they are happening, but we might not be trying to find the right answer.
We underestimate just how powerful our minds and bodies are. I mean, think of the people who don’t choose to get a flu shot each season because they claim they got sick days after. Scientifically, as a dormant disease you’re injected with, it would take weeks for that strain of influenza to actually become active and make you sick. And if you’ve ever seen any medical study and the control group improves their health through taking sugar pills, that should speak volumes.
By no means should we choose one option over the other, and that’s what gets most people in a tizzy. I don’t think we should be reverting back to everything our ancestors did (hello, the paleo diet…). However, I think we should strive for a greater balance in how we see wellness and overall health. Incorporating more Eastern traditions into our Western mindset might throw off the healthcare system as we know it (which is a big reason why you find much, if anything, covered under health insurance), but that change, I think, would be for the better. Western treatment should serve as the “alternative” if we chose to become more in-tune with our bodies and the energy we project and receive.
Some of what is considered “alternative medicine” is, to me, the stereotypical representation of what many assume. You don’t have to partake in everything that is included under the holistic umbrella. If the only thing you do is become more mindful and intentional in your life, that itself should be the biggest priority and take-away message. Our bodies are so much more than machines that a simple troubleshooting manual can help. They’re unique, absorbent, responsive, strong. Why do people come to holistic approaches? Besides the given benefits, it is empowering to actually know yourself, inside and out, and give it exactly what it needs. Our daily habits, in the moment not damaging, can add up. Align yourself with what you truly believe in. You deserve that.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie