Mainstream Medicine vs. ‘Alternative’ Healing


The US Medical System is a vast and complex beast, riddled with as many issues of practice and politics, as the solutions, care and wellness that it provides.

It’s a machine that costs the American people $3.2 trillion last year, which is more than any other nation spends on healthcare, yet Americans rank only 42nd globally in life expectancy at birth so without looking any more deeply than this, it’s already clear that something doesn’t add up.

As a population, we are paying well over the odds for treatments which may not actually be extending or improving our lives.  In fact, it could be argued that the system itself actually ends up creating some of the issues it was designed to fix in the first place.

So how did it get to be this way?

It’s a quietly unknown fact that healthcare costs in the US are disproportionately high in relation to the rest of the western world. This means that in other countries, the very same drugs – the identical formulas – are available at a fraction of the cost that US citizens are paying.  Here’s a quick example:  Humeria is a drug which treats many autoimmune diseases and some skin conditions, and whilst US citizens pay an average of $2669 for the drug, in Switzerland it is available for just $822 which is three times less. The American people are more often than not getting a very bad deal when it comes to pharmaceuticals.

Someone, somewhere is gaining from this, and it sure isn’t you.

An unfortunate by-product of the huge cost of treatment is that many of those without private healthcare (and those numbers are increasing yearly, as premiums soar) simply do not ask for the treatment they need.  With the average cost of a typical 5 night stay in hospital reaching well over $10,000 depending on which state you are in (and that doesn’t always include ambulance transfers, certain procedures or prescribed medications) it’s easy to see why people simply delay, or avoid getting help altogether.  When medical treatment may mean almost certain bankruptcy, or your child’s collage funds being cleared within a week, is it any wonder that people are suffering in silence for so long … and then rushing to over-crowded, overstretched emergency rooms when the pain or health concern just gets too bad?

So if, and when, you finally decide to get treatment (or are rushed into the system), will the pharmaceuticals you receive as treatment actually help you?

Let’s have a quick look at what pharmaceuticals are actually designed to do.  Predominantly, they treat symptoms of illness. They treat the physical (or psychological) manifestations of imbalance, disease and illness but this means that very often the root, underlying cause is left unchecked.  And it is quite common that the symptom you raise with the doctor will be the secondary iteration of an illness as it shifts within the body, and not many doctors are actually trained (or have time) to look beyond the primary symptom that they see. A good example of this would be recurrent infections caused by a deficient immune system.  The root of the decrease in immunity may actually be a form of severe, undetected malnutrition, or even cancer, but this may not be on anyone’s radar when the discomfort of infection is what’s on show. So whilst repeat doses of antibiotics will treat the symptoms of infection, overall health will not improve and will probably, in fact, decline.

It’s a bleak story for many, and one which appears very, very difficult to escape from, especially for those with worsening health.

Or is it?

How ‘Alternative’ Healing differs from Mainstream Medicine

You may have noticed the growing trend and upsurge of holistic health practitioners setting up across the US, as ancient, more natural, earth-based and intuitive methods of treating illness are gaining wider acclaim and crucially, better ongoing results than many mainstream treatments.

Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, Ayurveda, naturopathy, homeopathy, kinesiology, reflexology … there are SO many viable healing modalities which offer an alternative to the huge expense and dubious benefits of the established medical system. It’s becoming clear for many people that there is no longer any need to be tied to one dominant healing pathway, or to wait until symptoms detrimentally impact life, before seeking an (alternative) expert.

In fact, one of the great strengths of systems such as Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, for example, is that many chronic illnesses can be effectively controlled, treated and healed, way before they cause irreversible damage to health and lifestyle. They offer the ultimate sustainable option – prevention over cure.  

One of the biggest and most radical differences between mainstream medical care and alternative healing systems is that these are designed and organized to treat the body, mind and soul holistically.  So in contrast to mainstream medicine, which will often focus on alleviating a single set of symptoms, Traditional Chinese Medicine sees that the whole spectrum of personal of wellness is supported. This means that healing is very often longer lasting, with virtually no risk of side effects to other areas of health.

And because Traditional Chinese Medicine seeks to diagnose and heal the root of poor health, as opposed to treating the symptoms, re-occurrence of illness is low.

It is easy to focus on money as the quantifiable factor, but perhaps less measurable is the shift created when people are encouraged to view themselves as whole systems, capable of being healed. Traditional Chinese Medicine takes this perspective and so the results it provides, express through every level of the body, mind and soul.  So the diagnoses of physical digestive issues are deeply examined and treated alongside and as well as the nervous tension and emotional stress which will otherwise continue to fuel the fire of discomfort. And with so much less chance of reverting back to illness through the use of Chinese Medicine, responsibility for our own, personal health and ongoing wellbeing can be more readily reclaimed, and pressure on the external medical systems of society are naturally lessened.

It’s an empowering vision of the future.

So isn’t it about time we gave serious consideration to the “alternative”, holistic healing modalities, stopped seeing and labelling them as ‘alternative’ and began creating spaces for them to exist as viable, valuable and even preferable solutions to illness and declining health?

The way to do this is to simply make the choice.

Make an appointment, take ownership of your healing journey and we will all reap the benefits.

Written by: Katherine Anne Lee (Article to link to for the Arthritis Study)

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