Many of us have gone beyond mainstream medicine.
We’ve taken the parts of it that work, and have moved on to some form of ‘alternative’ health care.
For me that means using therapies like grounding, as well as the nutritional and lifestyle elements of the Autoimmune Protocol.
Alternative Health Care
The trouble with ‘alternative health care’ is that it isn’t really a category.
Alternative in this context just means everything that isn’t mainstream medicine.
The only criteria for a therapy being labelled ‘alternative’ is that it hasn’t been scientifically validated and recognized by medical science.
All the practices that aren’t recognized by medical science shouldn’t, really, be lumped together as if they are one thing.
Some are dangerous.
Some are ineffective.
Some are traditional approaches that have been used for millennia.
And some will revolutionize the way we treat illness in the years to come.
Future Medical Breakthroughs
It would be silly to suggest that all our important medical discoveries have already been made. After all, oncogenomics is brand-new and it could be the future of cancer treatment.
All the potential health care breakthroughs that haven’t been validated yet are part of the big messy area outside of the medical mainstream that’s called ‘alternative’.
Ways to Think about Reality
Medical science is is the product of a logic-oriented perspective that started in ancient Greece, along with with other rational stuff, like math.
Logic was radical in its day. It was a new and exciting way to look at the world.
It’s the basis of a worldview that many people continue to subscribe to, and it’s helpful to remember that all mainstream doctors are still educated in this tradition.
This tradition includes the following beliefs:
- There is one objective, verifiable reality (let’s call that truth);
- Anything that is true can be verified; and
- The only valid way to know things is through science.
An alternative perspective on the nature of reality exists. One could say that it includes the following beliefs:
- There is no objective, verifiable reality, just varied interpretations of it;
- Some things that may be true may not be be verifiable scientifically; and
- There are many ways to know things.
The thing to remember about mainstream medicine is that before anything can be acknowledged as true, it must be validated. It has to hold up to scientific scrutiny.
This is where medical research comes in.
If something has not yet been proven, scientifically, it is not a fact, according to medical science.
And therefore, all ‘alternative’ health practices are invalid simply because they are outside of the canon of medical science.
In most cases, they haven’t been scientifically invalidated. They just haven’t been tested yet.
This picture illustrates the situation we encounter when attempting to talk about alternative health with doctors:
Doctors have been trained to consider what is inside the black circles. These are the things that have been proven by medical science.
If their training occurred some time ago, and they haven’t been keeping up with the new research, they will be inclined to consider only what is inside the smaller black circle.
This is not a criticism!
That big colourful, messy blob I’ve labelled ‘reality’ in this picture represents all of reality. The whole universe and all the multiverses.
Each of us can only comprehend a tiny fragment of that whole. Doctors are not alone in that.
But some of us more readily allow for the potential of treatments that haven’t been scientifically proven yet.
Mainstream Doctors & Alternative Health Care
The information I have shared in this post helps me talk to doctors about alternative health practices.
- I understand that the medical perspective originates from a particular worldview. This enables me to put that perspective in perspective.
- I feel more confident about sharing my interest in exploring what lies outside currently validated medical science, because I know that new therapies are being validated all the time, and the most revolutionary therapies probably haven’t been recognized by mainstream medicine yet.
- If a doctor mistakes their rationalist perspective for truth, I can remind myself that there are other ways to think about the nature of reality, and that we are all limited by the confines of our worldview, including me.
- If a doctor is derisive or dismissive of alternative health practices that interest me, I have framework I can use to point out that ‘alternative‘ does not have to equal irresponsible or dangerous. (To be responsible, I practice risk management, whether I am considering an alternative or a mainstream therapy).
Doctors are individuals (obviously) and they vary in how they respond to alternative health practices.
I find it helpful to understand the worldview of mainstream medicine, so that I can more effectively work with doctors around my interest in alternative therapies.
Speaking of ‘alternative’, humans have been using fermented foods to maintain (and improve) health for millennia. Fearless Fermentation is a video-based fermentation 101 program with Sarah Ramsden, Nutritionist. Fermented foods nurture health-promoting gut microbes which promote health throughout the entire system.
Sarah was diagnosed with a brain tumour and multiple sclerosis in the same week. She committed to a healing protocol lifestyle that includes fermented foods and now lives a vibrant life. Sarah speaks about how recovery from serious health issues can give you “the freedom to not sit back and wait for life happen to you, but to make decisive moves to go after exactly what you want. When you’re given a wake-up call, you have to do something with it.” The first step could be as simple as adding fermented foods into your daily life.