THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MAINSTREAM (ORTHODOX) CANCER DOCTOR AND AN ALTERNATIVE, COMPLEMENTARY AND HOLISTIC HEALTH HEALER’S APPROACH
“The popularity of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is considerable: the one year prevalence of CAM usage is 42 percent in the United States” (Eisenberg David et al, Trends in alternative medicine use in the United States. JAMA 1998:280:1569-75
One of the primary differences between conventional and alternative medicine is in how a sickness is defined. For cancer, conventional doctors see a malignant growth in the body and call that the cancer. Consequently, their treatments consist primarily of attacks against the tumor. Their preferred choices are surgery (cut out the tumor), radiation (burn the tumor), or chemotherapy (poison the tumor). If the tumor is removed or even reduced in this fashion, the doctor pronounces that the therapy is a success, and we often hear such reassuring statements as “We got it all.” All-too-often, however, the malignancy returns either to the same location or spreads to another, and another, and yet another. At that point, we are told that the cancer has returned, and the attack against the new tumors is repeated as before.
By contrast, practitioners of alternative medicine do not consider the tumor to be the cancer, but merely the symptom of the cancer. They are more concerned with what caused the tumor to grow in the first place. They reason that it is more logical to fix the cause of the tumors than to attack the tumors themselves. If they can accomplish that, then the malignancies will stop growing, become harmless lumps, and eventually be re-absorbed and discarded by the body.
When a farmer sees black spots on the leaves of his corn crop, does he run around the corn field cutting the spots out of the leaves? Usually not, because he knows that the spots are caused by tiny organisms called blight. Even if he could succeed in cutting out all the spots, by the next day, they would be back on other parts of the leaves and there would be twice as many as the day before. The only way to get rid of the spots is to treat his entire crop to get rid of the organism that causes them. This is the approach of alternative medicine. Under microscopic examination, malignant growths usually appear to be quite different from each other, depending on their location and maturity. Since doctors of orthodox medicine think that these growths are cancer, they conclude that there are many different types of cancer. They give them distinctive names and often have a different approach for the treatment of each of them.
The doctor of alternative medicine, however, sees all malignancies as merely different manifestations of the same disease. What makes them appear different is that they take on some of the characteristics of the organs in which they grow. However, the more malignant the growth, the less they resemble their host organs and the more they resemble each other. The most malignant growths of all are practically indistinguishable from each other. They are, for all practical purposes, the same.
The healer of alternative medicine, therefore, views cancer and most other chronic diseases as general, systemic diseases rather than localized, organ-related disease. Consequently, the treatment is aimed primarily at strengthening the patient’s natural defense mechanisms and assisting the whole body to overcome the malignancy, including, but not limited to detox.
In some cases, especially those where a malignancy has become life-threatening due to its proximity to a vital organ – such as the heart or brain – most doctors of alternative medicine will prescribe surgery to remove the immediate threat. But they do not consider that to be treatment of the disease. It is merely a procedure to buy valuable time in which to apply the slower-acting therapies of re-building the natural defenses.
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY HOLISTIC
“Healing is arriving at wholeness, it requires more than just treating the physical body; curing is temporary removal of a malfunctioning of the physical body. One advantage of the new integrated medicine, which helps one heal, is that it allows us to see the role of allopathy in our holistic medicine very clearly. Allopathy is really emergency medicine designed to keep the physical body alive. Although allopathic medicine and procedures almost always have harmful side effects, they are to be tolerated to keep us alive in an emergency situation. As we learn to take care of ourselves holistically following integrated medicine, we will live longer and with health, too.” Dr Goswani (physicist)
Holistic is derived from a Greek word ‘holos’, which is the origin of words such as ‘heal’, ‘health’, ‘holy’, ‘whole’, including body, mind and spirit. ’Holistic Medicine’ is used often synonymously with ‘alternative medicine’ or integrative medicine. Alternative Medicine means simply an alternative way to Western mainstreamMedicine.The Holistic Way of living is to understand that we are both a part of and a microcosm of the universe. We are sustained by the universe and nature by being in harmony with them and following their law. That is the essence of Holistic Medicine.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine homepage.