Thursday, December 29, 2011

Considering the Alternative

           A precocious four-year old little boy with curly brown hair and the biggest green eyes you have ever seen has a life-debilitating skin disorder. His big sister calls him “Bubba”, his parents call him “Sport” and his pediatrician calls him “Un-diagnosable”. Three and a half years of tests, treatments, and no results led this little green-eyed angel’s parents to Arizona where they were told of a medical facility practicing only alternative medicine. One round of allergy tests later and “Sport’s” parents were given the tremendous news that their little man has a food allergy which is causing his skin to break out. A lifetime of watching what he eats has replaced the worry of a lifetime of a skin disorder, and he is now a happy, normal, healthy little boy.

She was thirty-eight years old, overweight, and suffered from high blood pressure. Through the course of the winter months she developed a sniffle which then turned into a cough. Taking the matter into her own hands, she bought an over-the-counter cold medicine which in turn reacted with her blood pressure medicine prescribed by her primary care physician. Thirty-six hours later her friends and family were mourning the devastating loss of such a sweet woman. While traditional medicine is considered the norm in today's American society, alternative medicine should very rarely be the alternative.

The majority of America is familiar with the concept and tools of conventional (or traditional) medicine such as blood work, shots, x-rays, and prescription medications. What is the alternative approach? Alternative medicine is the use of plant and mineral based products for treatment in conjunction with physical and nonphysical therapies.  Alternative medicine treats the body in a holistic manner; instead of diagnosing and treating one specific ailment (chronic back pain for instance), practitioners looks at the body as a whole and treats the body as a whole. According to the Hippocratic Oath, physicians are required to “prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.”

“Most foods today have been genetically altered, irradiated, over-processed and refined, tainted with pesticides, hormones, preservatives and chemicals. We are all exposed daily to polluted air and water. Our work and living environments contain radiation, microwaves, metal toxicity, (dental fillings) and an overabundance of electromagnetic frequencies. Sure, your medical doctor can put twenty dollar names to a million different diseases, but there is really only one physiological cause and one simple cure. This is why for decades, Naturopaths and other natural healers see their clients able to heal every disease known with simple broad spectrum natural healing programs,” explains Marcia Aschendorf, a physician of Naturopathic medicine.

Critics may dispute the fact that although alternative medicinal remedies have been in existence since the presence of mankind, the progress of science is a better choice for medical practices. Natural medicine is in actuality the foundation for modern medical practice due to the fact that half of today’s prescriptions derive from plants. The difference is that you are putting a one hundred percent natural product in your body, rather than one that has been processed in a lab and lost much of its integrity along the way. Alternative medication often brings other benefits beyond what you might expect. For example, you might take feverfew to get relief from a migraine, to then find complete and total relief from your nauseated stomach. These dual effects are what make alternative medicine holistic in approach and so unique.

Some may wonder how alternative medicine compares to traditional medicine in terms of cost, as many health insurance policies do not cover naturopathic physicians or herbs. A trip to see your primary care physician in order to receive a prescription for Claritin (for relief of seasonal allergies) will run you close to one hundred and twenty dollars; not including the cost of your prescription refill that will last you three months. An ancient practice that has proven to be accurate and beneficial is to take a teaspoon of local honey a day. Because of the verified effectiveness of eating this local honey it makes perfect sense to give it a try first.

Opposition will come in many different forms, as is the way for anything different or unconventional. While some may dispute the fact that “popping an Advil” for a headache is quick, convenient, and culturally acceptable, if an individual is taking care of their body by ingesting enough water throughout the day and increasing their awareness of environmental stresses to then alleviate them, the chance of even getting a headache is tremendously minimalized.

I, personally, struggle with respiratory issues twice a year. For the last ten years I have been in the hospital every October and every April for bronchitis and have contaminated my body with the use of steroid-filled inhalers, allergy tablets and prescribed narcotics to ease the pain of coughing. My bronchiolar episodes last an average of two to three weeks and makes living my life to its fullest capacity a chore during those times. This year, with the onset of my seasonal bronchitis, I started a consistent system of Echinacea, vitamin C, eight glasses of water a day, and plenty of rest. Within four days, and without a trip to the hospital, I am cough and congestion-free and feeling one hundred percent better.

Why then, is traditional medicine the cultural norm in today’s society? Do you take Paxil to ease your anxiety because that is what your mother did? Do you see your gastroenterologist because a friend suggested him to you? Take some time out for you and understand the dangers of polluting your body with chemical based medicines. You wouldn’t water your flowers with a margarita; why fill your body with something that doesn’t belong?

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