A Team Approach
The discipline of Integrative Prevention, Health, Wellness and Medicine makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, all healthcare professionals who can help deal with or solve a component part of the client/patient prevention, health, wellness and medical problems, including but not limited to medical practitioners, alternative practitioners, non-medical healers, as well as any skilled professional who can offer any form of treatment or level of skill that which will help or assist the client-patient achieve optimal health, wellness and healing.
Simply put, integrative Prevention, Health, Wellness and Medicine offers a team approach for preventing, treating, managing and healing people who are already ill or chose not to become ill in the future. With Integrative Medicine, health and wellness options are no longer limited to only those options available and offered by Western medicine. The client/patient’s search for help is no longer a choice between Western Medicine and alternative or holistic care and treatment. Instead the client-patient now has the help of the entire Integrative Medical system (allopathic, CAM, holistic, alternative and all other healers) healing ability, everything the best practitioners and best healers have to offer. Now we would have a total and overwhelming ability to help and assist everyone, men, women, children, the unborn and all future generations to prevent illness or return to wellness and optimal health as a normal part of life. Within this system Integrative Prevention, Health, Wellness and Medicine, non-traditional, alternative and traditional practitioners as well as Western allopathic physicians can work together to offer the very best healing practices and treatments available to those individuals who are seeking either prevention or return to optimal health, wellness and healing.
While Integrative medicine is often criticized, by the non-convinced, that it compromises the effectiveness of mainstream medicine through inclusion of ineffective alternative approaches and remedies. This is more of a fear than a reality. In fact, today most allopathic practitioners, whether they are aware of it or not work with both hands tied behind their back. Much like an auto-mechanic trying to fix a vehicle with an engine he has never seen before, using techniques not designed to work they are severely limited in their ability to do much other than keep people sick and help them feel a bit better. While what he or she does often looks like it might work, it does when it does and it doesn’t when it doesn’t and he has no ability, right now, to change what needs to be changed and may be even believes that he ever will. While he tries and tries, he can only at very best save a few and for most he fails. Depressed and fearful, tired and often disillusioned, he simply accepts what is. He may silently, to himself pray and wishes for help, but none comes. “If only I had been able to do more?” He repeatedly tells himself. Yet, try as he does, he can only go so far because you is starting off with only a partially filled tool bag, essential tools are missing and tools designed for the work have never been given to him in the first place. At best, he is limited at worse he is the cartoon of the charlatan who tells patients he will heal them feeling and knowing that he cannot do this because he has neither the training, experience nor tools to make it happen. He always knows, somewhere deep inside himself, that much too often he feels as if he has failed, also that no matter how hard he will or could try, he can never fully reach his goal of being the true healer. A goal he wants more than anything else in the world.
Many non-Integrative practitioners, those who are still not convinced about Integrative Medicine, its place or its efficacy, may continue to claim that Integrative Medicine takes too broad of a view of the health needs and methods of treatment of specific individuals and often spend too little time and effort on the greater needs of the community. They also say that Integrative Medicine clearly allows “untrained,” “non-medical,” charlatans, and poorly trained alternative practitioners work with people who need real help, and because they do not seek help from the medical profession, they are not really getting the help they need.
The fact is that both of these claims are actually true. However, instead of this being negative charges, they are instead actually positive reasons why Integrative medicine is ultimately more productive.
As an allopathic and functional medical physician and also an alternative and holistic practitioner for more than 50 years, it is quite clear to me that Western Medicine neither cures nor heals many patients. We, instead manage and treat patients, all the time we are doing so allowing them to be more comfortable with their illnesses. We help them live longer. We may even, and many people might disagree with this claim, increase the overall quality of their life.
The fact is most of those patients who are cured or healed, are cured or healed, not because of Western medicine, but because they more often than not also working with one or more non-traditional practitioners and/or healers.
Many years ago, I began asking patients what they did to get past illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, many other supposedly incurable illnesses and I almost immediately became fascinated by the many answers I received. It seemed that medical doctors generally did very well in “healing” or “curing” many of the lesser problematic medical problems, problems which were or are commonly considered to be self-limited or self-healing. However, when it came to the more serious medical problems, such those we named above, working only with Western medical practitioners did not have quite as much value as we physicians might really like to believe.
The problem for medical doctors is not that they do not care. Nor is it that they are not smart enough nor that they are too smart, it is that they are not really in touch with their individual patient’s, nor their ability to heal to heal their patients. I often hear, when patients are unhappy with the current medical system, that their doctors didn’t really listen to them, that they believe that their doctors do not take into account what they, the patient, knows about themselves and their illness. They also say that many of their doctors blame them patients when treatment fails, even when they, the patient, did everything they were told to do, took all medications prescribed, did every test and treatment their doctor ordered.
The real problem is that most, if not all, medical doctors were not taught how to heal. They were instead taught to manage and treat. They were taught to manage and treat rather than heal and because of this they generally end up maintaining the very illness or illnesses, their patients have come to them to heal. Because they were not taught to heal, only treat, they leave their patients to suffer, and ultimately develop chronic illnesses which if they had been healed early, would never have become a problem or taken their life.
Western medical practitioners are taught to tone down and manage the signs, symptoms and problems of the very illness they are telling their patients they will help them heal. While they do help by allowing the sick person to feel better, they hurt by not curing and allowing progression to a state of chronic illness. The very worst part of this beyond prolonging pain, suffering and promotion disability and premature death, is that physicians have been taught to do this using potentially dangerous prescription medications which more often cause additional problems and add to the patient’s suffering.
Not only do we as standard Western practitioners help our patients maintain their illnesses, they also minimize the very signs and symptoms, trying to keep the patient more comfortable and “feel” as if something is actually being done to make them better, which tell us what is causing the illness and what the healer and patients working together can do about this. Without these signs and symptoms, our body’s way of communicating what needs to be fixed, even the healer cannot in the end heal them. When we only treat signs and symptoms we are actually happening, healing anything.
Dr. Allen Lawrence