Thursday, November 6, 2014

Allopathic Medicine and "Both and"

"What are you a doctor of?"

Said Doctor Who in one of the early seasons of the new show. And yes I love sci fi!

It would be nice if more professionals in the medical and psychiatric community would think this way. Unfortunately, the majority of health professionals know a lot in their little sphere of work but don't venture too far out into new and innovative territory.

All the while anything that is not medically mainstream is labelled as fringe, alternative, and the like. Even simple health choices and paths that have great empirical support are marginalized in favor the the biological disease model.

The main reason I chose a social work degree over any other path to the same end (counseling) is that I was drawn to their meta-theory of empirical holism, general systems theory and ecological theory.

This can be summed up by considering that every being is a being-in-context.

That we are always in relation to the systems that we interact with.

One of the main problems I see in modern health and psychiatry I see is not their specific treatments, it is the underlying philosophical assumptions that guide practitioners.

Somewhere in my graduate program I read a paper that opened my eyes deeply into the pitfalls of the standard biological disease model.

Consider this scenario:

General Zod is running amok, destroying the city.
The people of the city are helpless to stop him. Along comes Superman, an alien from another world with god-like superpowers. He attacks Zod and saves the city. Much of the time in a violent battle which destroys it further.

Such is the underlying philosophy of health. The body or brain is a sick and broken down machine. It requires a foreign and invasive treatment to be healed.

If you've studied ancestral health for any length of time you probably have heard that this paradigm works well for trauma, microbial diseases, and severe organ dysfunctions, but not well for the chronic diseases of modern civilization.

So, to me, it is not the specific treatments of modern medicine that bothers me, it's the underlying paradigm that it functions by. I see this as confusing a piece of the problem (even if it's a large piece) for the whole.

When a person criticizes modern medicine like this, there are always those who love to remind you that you cannot just forgo modern treatments to those "alternative" things because of how dangerous it would be.

This is another problem in standard thought. An old paradigm of either/or, this or that. Think politics. "I'm for this side and revile the other side."

That is not at all what I am getting at. This stale and obsolete either/or mentality has been questioned by some philosophers in favor of a Both/and philosophy, where a truly integrated system transcends and includes what came before it.

That might be difficult to wrap your mind around if you're not used to thinking in a systems based and integral fashion.

I propose not to wait until modern health and medicine gets there. We have the power to act to heal ourselves while still working with medical professionals and not denying their methods.

I believe that the majority of physicians do truly want to help people, I just see them anchored in a limited philosophy of health and healing. In the mean time, educate yourself and take action for your own bodily and mental health.

Holism can be just as empirical as allopathic health.

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