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  • Writer's pictureJames

Modern Medicine AND Healing

A month ago, a friend who does healing work on me (he doesn't call himself a healer, so I won't) fell face first onto a sidewalk. He was taken to the hospital where he was stabilized and diagnosed with having had a stroke. A neurologist told him that he would stay in the hospital for a week or more and would need months of physical therapy. He politely disagreed with the prognosis and said he would leave the next day healthy. The neurologist said no, you will be here for a week and need months of physical therapy. He disagreed again and reiterated his own prognosis. The conversation went back and forth like this for a while until the neurologist asked if he was a holistic medicine practitioner, and my friend said, yes. The neurologist then challenged him to a bet, and he agreed.

The next day, his bloodwork came back healthy and he was discharged from the hospital. (He's had a bit of physical therapy to correct some minor balance issues, not months though.)

Who gave him the good news? The neurologist's assistant.

What a wasted opportunity. The neurologist had a golden opportunity to find out what he did, and she passed on it. Her incoming patients still have the same bleak prognosis of her training when she potentially could be giving them a far better outcome. Why did she pass up the opportunity to learn? Hard to know. Perhaps we can extrapolate some generalities that may or may not apply to this doctor. By initiating a bet, she placed her empirically based medical training on the line against empirically less proven holistic medicine. This is an understandable bet. She lost. I imagine it must have felt like a repudiation of her years of medical training and the huge amounts of money invested in it. I also imagine that it must have felt like a stone in the gut knowing that her past patients might have have a better outcome. Perhaps her ego identity (self-identity, not huge ego) got threatened, she lost face, and she retreated to protect herself. Maybe. She might have also been busy. Whatever the reason, she really should have asked him what he did to have such a positive outcome.

What's particularly striking to me is that she wagered a bet. She put her training in opposition to holistic medicine rather than incorporating the two into her medical practice. I've heard people claim that modern medicine is good at diagnosing and treating, but lacking in healing. Holistic medicine, in this case the healing paradigms my friend practices, is good at healing modalities. It just has not been empirically studied as much as modern medicine. When faced with a better outcome than the one provided by her training, she could have used the result to revise her paradigm of 'modern medicine vs. holistic medicine' to 'modern medicine and holistic medicine.' My friend did go to the hospital to get a diagnosis and treatment. He didn't reject modern medicine. He just knew of a different and better healing paradigm for his body. Perhaps she is studying holistic medicine now, but her behavior suggested that she reneged on the opportunity to shift her oppositional attitude toward one of including holistic medicine into her training.

I chafe at similar oppositional attitudes of 'holistic medicine vs. modern medicine' from some practitioners of holistic medicine, particularly those who dismiss medical science. You break your leg, you go to the hospital, get the x-rays, get the leg set and put in a cast. Then you do the healing. You get sick, you go to the doctor, get the diagnosis, get the prescriptions. Then you do the healing. You have a stroke, you go to the hospital, get the diagnosis and the treatment to stabilize you. Then you do the healing. I've experienced and witnessed instant healings while working with my friend. Most of my health issues, however, have taken time to heal. They've gotten much better to the point to where one issue which is supposed to be lifelong may no longer be diagnosable as such soon. I still take medication for my health issues--I would be in a bad place if I didn't--and I view the treatment as making it easier for my body to heal them.

The larger point is that the physical sciences and the non-physical approaches don't have to be put in opposition to each other. On the contrary, in my opinion, we attain better outcomes by combining the two. My friend's good outcome from going to the hospital, getting a diagnosis and treatment, and doing his healing bears out this idea.

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