Just recently, the European Academy Science Advisory Council (EASAC) issued a press release criticizing homeopathy, but in the process it also took a shot at all alternative medicine by claiming that there could be only one type of medicine -traditional medicine. This attack comes with very poor timing since traditional medicine is losing ground. So much so, that it was announced just this week by the University of California, Irvine, that it is planning a $200 million alternative medicine center.
Some patients don’t like some settings within traditional medicine. They either know, or soon figure out that the system can chew them up and spit them out when they are most in need. In the last few years, many traditional medicine practitioners, myself included, have gained respect for many forms of alternative medicine and many like me have mastered different aspects of alternative medicine.
Have you asked yourself why people love alternative medicine?
When a patient goes to a practitioner that is open to alternative medicine, the patient soon learns that they can talk to these physicians about acupuncture, Orthobiologic Medicine (including Prolotherapy, Plasma Rich in Platelets, Cell Therapy, and also craniosacral treatments), chiropractic care, homeopathy, naturopathy, and so on.
Unfortunately, some physicians just can’t buy into alternative therapies. They are eager to criticize and don’t miss an opportunity to shed a bad light onto those of us that do practice some form of alternative medicine. They call us funnies and even quacks. But on the other hand, they continue offering their patients procedures and surgeries that have been proven not to work. Some of these are high dollar procedures that are done by the thousands.
Whether those practitioners that ignore and put down alternative medicine like it or not, an old survey by the National Institute of Health (NIH) found the 4 in 10 patients choose alternative medicine. If the study was conducted today, most likely the number of patients that choose alternative medicine over traditional medicine would be significantly higher. Some have quoted as many as 6 of every 10 patients choose a form of alternative medicine. Most importantly, 84% of patients using alternative medicine have high confidence in its safety and efficacy. I personally feel that a combination of the traditional and alternative medicine would be the best.
With the widespread availability of traditional medicine, why is this happening?
As stated by Dr. Christopher Centeno, a pioneer in regenerative medicine, “it is easy to see that alternative medicine is entirely the opposite of all the things patients hate about traditional medicine. It’s open-minded where traditional medicine is close-minded. It offers hope, while its counterpart frequently offers pessimism. Its practitioners will spend time with patients and be friendly and welcoming, while the other side’s physicians are rushed, overextended, and brusque.”
A great number of patients have complained to me that when they visit other traditional medicine practitioners, they have to wait for long periods of time to be seen even when they were given an appointment time. It is common for many to wait an hour or even more. Many never even see the doctor and just see a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. There is nothing wrong with these professionals but the doctor needs to see he patient and provide their higher degree expertise and knowledge to the case at hand. Also many times the patients feel rushed. At our office, we feel that the patient’s time is as valuable as ours and we strive to see everyone at the time scheduled. Additionally, I see all the patients personally and try to answer all their questions and go over treatment alternatives.
Why this migration from traditional medicine to alternative medicine?
Let’s analyze the hypocrisy of traditional medicine to try to explain the migration.
1.- Steroid injections.- Despite the evidence that repeated steroid injections result in diminished pain relief, the toxic effect on stem cells, and that it kills cartilage, steroid injection remains the most common knee procedure worldwide.
2.- Lumbar fusion surgery.- Research has shown that fusion surgery is no more effective than plain lumbar laminectomy or physical therapy and, that patients still have the same pain more than a decade after surgery. Despite these facts, the fusion industry is still strong.
3.- Knee meniscus surgery.- It has been shown to be ineffective at relieving pain, is no more effective than physical therapy and creates the perfect setting for arthritis to develop. In spite of these facts, knee arthroscopy is the most common knee surgery performed in the US.
4.- Narcotics such as opioids not only do not relieve pain in some people but can actually amplify it. Additionally, its indiscriminate overuse has created a national crisis that we are all too familiar with.
Here is an interesting quote taken from Dr. Chistopher Centeno: “The university-pharma industrial complex is a conflicted mess. Medical school professors are on the pharma dole left and right. Drug companies put their names on boardrooms and have infiltrated medical school classrooms. Medical schools teach physicians to avoid original thinking and follow clinical flow charts drafted by the same professors taking money from pharma. Finally the Universities themselves have become big businesses and now hold more cash than the US government.”
What is the ideal relationship between traditional medicine and alternative medicine?
The use of alternative medicine has become so popular among patients simply because the patients have become aware that for certain ailments it works better and there is much less risk involved. In other cases, traditional medicine works better. That is why in our office we try to strike the right balance between the two and that is the way it should be with every practitioner. Combining the two modalities works best, and that is what I try to do with my patients. Being open minded is very important!