The face of medicine is changing. We are at a wonderful time in our present day society, where we are more receptive to recognizing what works and what doesn’t when it comes to health, healing and prevention. Of course not everyone is on board just yet. Some would even say far from it.
However, there is an area that is increasing in numbers rapidly and this is the field of integrative medicine. As more people awaken to their body’s natural ways of healing and more doctors respect it, this field continues to gain popularity.
In essence, integrative medicine is the best of both worlds—combing natural or ancient traditions with modern medicine. Integrative medicine does not address symptoms, but rather root causes. This is one of the greatest ways in which it differs from the allopathic or current medical approach. In this respect, integrative medicine focuses first on prevention and secondly on healing the body based on its own natural healing abilities given the right support. Drugs or any other chemical or invasive procedures are used mainly in emergency cases.
To understand more about this, I had the pleasure of sitting down for a short talk on integrative medicine with Dr. Hyla Cass. Dr. Cass was one of the speakers at the current annual Grail Lady Faire event which takes place the last week of June at the Grail Springs Holistic Retreat & Spa in Bancroft, Ontario.
Dr. Cass is an integrative doctor, author and speaker. She has been focusing on using nutrition and natural health as the primary approach to treat her patients in her practice for over 20 years. She has also been featured in numerous media outlets, including being a regular guest on the Dr. Oz show.
In the interview, Dr. Cass explains more about integrative medicine and what she does. She explains how she approaches health and healing, how her approach is different and how each one of us can benefit.
The Choice Is Yours
While the current health statistics and invasive, modern medical ways are not encouraging, there is a happy ending to this story. What each one of us has to understand, is that today we have a choice. More and more integrative doctors are available in North America. Alternative healing practices are also becoming a norm. In fact according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, as of 2007 38% of adults were recorded as having used complementary and alternative medicine. I would theorize that not only has this number risen to above 40% by now, but it may also be somewhat under reported. The World Health Organization, estimates that between 65 to 80% of the world’s population rely on naturopathic or homeopathic medicine as their primary form of health care.
If these statistics sound foreign to you, it is probably because living in North America, especially the United States, the impression is given that “everyone” is treated with drugs or surgeries as the first choice. This is mainly due to the clever marketing and advertising by the drug companies, which have the average doctor and patient hooked on their methods of treatment as the primary choice. This is not a surprise if we understand that the only two developed countries where direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA)— the promotion of prescription drugs through newspaper, magazine, television and Internet marketing—is currently legal are the U.S. and New Zealand.
However, as more and more of us awaken and learn how to work with our body’s natural healing abilities and intelligent balance, we seek more holistic ways of healing and make prevention our first choice. Unless we have some form of an emergency, we have to understand that drugs simply mask symptoms and take our health further away from its optimal state of functioning. Today, you and I have a choice. We can choose to find a medical doctor who uses integrative methods, like Dr. Hyla Cass. We can seek out naturopathic doctors as well, or choose from the numerous alternative modalities for prevention or healing. While some will still say that there isn’t enough or sufficient science to back alternative practices, the truth is that science today has been greatly exploited by the pharmaceutical industry and those wishing to profit from it for their own gain.
Prevention, nutrition, and using natural healing modalities are something each of us can further explore to decide how these can be used by us to achieve or maintain optimal health. With each day, more of us are dropping the notion of seeing our body as a system of separate parts in need of fixing when they break down, and more as the whole beings that we are, where the mind and spirit have a direct effect on our health and must be included for complete care.
Integrative Holistic Medicine is an emerging medical specialty that incorporates (1) caring for the whole person — body, mind, and spirit — to treat and prevent disease; and, (2) empowering patients to create a condition of optimal health.
American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine