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How to Work with Your Doctor While Using Alternative Therapies

The Easiest Way to Combine Modern Medicine with Alternative Therapies

Which way to go when using herbal remedies

The intent of this article is to give ideas on how to use the best of what regular medicine offers and combine it with alternative healing.

Health, fitness, and nutrition have become popular topics in virtually every country in the world. Through the media and the Internet, the idea of improving health has penetrated every sphere of life and socioeconomic level. Yet many people who desire to heal using natural methods encounter lack of knowledge or resistance from their medical professionals. We will not critique the medical system here, but give you, the reader suggestions of how to navigate the system, and optimize your healing.

Let's look at what regular medicine can offer you, the end user interested in natural healing, and what it can and can't do to clarify your situation. Regular medicine excels in diagnostics, testing, and emergencies. If you have a chronic health issue, you have likely had a medical diagnosis. If regular medical treatments don't help, you may be seeking out alternative care. In this "fair game" scenario, you are just seeking out a solution to your problem.

By participating in the system you have availed yourself of the best diagnostics and testing available. Even if you are using alternative healing, you need to follow up with testing to make sure underlying medical conditions have been addressed. A good example of this is cancer. If you have decided to integrate natural healing with your conventional treatment, you still need to return to your doctor for more tests to make sure you are medically clear.

There are of course other ways to utilize your doctor's training and the medical system's diagnostics. If, for example, you have a situation where there is no medical cure for your condition, it is reasonable then, once you are medically clear, to try just about anything, particularly if it is a life threatening health issue. Your doctor or doctors, if they are reasonable and rational, would not then try to prevent you from care that may save your life, even if they don't agree with alternative medicine philosophically. If they are good doctors, then they know that hope is a factor in healing, and that you should try whatever might help you. It is good to stay in touch with and utilize the services of an understanding doctor.

Regular medicine and alternative medicine are two different systems or models of thinking about the body, health, and disease. While there is some overlap in the use of anatomy and physiology terms, the traditions, rationale, philosophy, and techniques are quite different between the systems. There is sometimes a great gulf between how an alternative practitioner looks at a health issue and how it is defined by medicine. To further confuse matters for the public, many alternative techniques have their own systems of reasoning and treatment that are substantially different. A homeopath, herbalist, and chiropractor may come to very different conclusions about how to handle a case.

Since different disciplines within alternative medicine see things differently and have distinct diagnostic systems, it would perhaps be expecting too much of your medical doctor to understand what other practitioners do since it is not his or her specialty. But a good doctor can offer you compassion, common sense, and help you understand your treatment options within regular medicine. If there are no feasible solutions for your health issue, then your doctor should understand that it is "fair game" for you to seek out alternative health care and wish you well. Sometimes it is the patient's responsibility to remind his or her doctor about this.

It is possible that one day we will have a truly "integrative" medical system where the best of both regular and alternative medicine is combined for the best outcomes for patients. Unfortunately, this will lie many years in the future, perhaps even hundreds of years from now. This might sound surprising to some who are reading this, but it is hard to change systemic thinking where there is a lack of understanding, philosophical differences, and monetary incentive. In the meantime, you can use the best of both systems of medicine. Most alternative medicine "does no harm," and it never hurts to avail yourself of medical testing and diagnostics when you need clear information.



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