Yasjua

Discussing medicine with an MD - some confusion

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A good friend of mine has been in medical school for the past three or four years and is training to become a surgeon.

 

We often discuss our differences in opinion when we get together and I've learned to embrace the contradictions in our perspectives - I consider them balancing.

 

It used to be that I couldn't hold up my perspective, mostly on an emotional level, under his rigorous scrutiny. He's a very intense character with a genuinely staggering mental powerhouse at his disposal (or vice versa). He's also emotionally numb to the degree that I don't think he has access to certain vital emotional and spiritual resources/experiences that have shaped my own mind and thinking. He's had very aggressive psychological behavior in the distant past that bordered on sadism, and I think he still has that proclivity, but abstains from indulging in it.

 

Now I've come to a solid appreciation for his craft and for the work of scientists and medical practitioners everywhere. If you've read my posts, you know that I'm extremely interested and supportive of science, particularly study of the nervous system and of organic chemistry, although I don't fully appreciate or approve of their clinical applications. He knows this and is in agreement to some degree.

 

This evening's topic of discussion was naturopathy, as I'm considering a dual-major in Chinese medicine and naturopathy this upcoming year. My argument, more or less, was that a naturopath is well-educated in western anatomical, biochemical and allopathic perspectives, but chooses to utilize "natural" medicine to promote health and healing. I openly embraced the limitations of this medicine, agreed that some naturopaths try to overstep their boundaries and training, and that it was important for there to be open communication between NDs and MDs, so that each professional could manage health and disease within the scope of their practice. I expressed my own goals clearly: to educate people and get them interested in their own health, and to treat what I am trained to treat using the same principles conventional medicine uses: give the patient what is proven to work and cross my fingers.

 

But his skepticism and intense criticism of naturopathic medicine astounded me, as I thought this was an increasingly outdated perspective - in fact, I thought that just about any divisive or insular attitude was becoming unpopular among educated medical professionals. After all, it seems political to me. Why create division where there could be partnership? But to him it's a cold, harsh reality, that Western medical research has more or less obliterated any credibility naturopathy or other alternative medicine has to offer. Alternative medicine, he says, is really no more effective than placebo, and that practitioners are more or less menaces to public health, since they practice inferior medicine. Now, I share his skepticism toward things like homeopathy and some of the claims of hydrotherapy, but using herbs to treat illness seems extremely scientific to me, given that medicinal plants are highly bioactive and have been used successfully (meaning it has helped people, not that it has necessarily been clinically approved) for thousands of years.

 

I'll add that I've given up entirely on trying to explain acupuncture to an MD like him, as I increasingly think they don't even deal with the same system... at all. But naturopathy... I figured we could come to some basis for agreement there. I offered him the fact that naturopaths have more time to spend with patients, and hence a better opportunity to educate. I talked about blood and urine tests to determine nutrient and mineral deficiencies. I talked about the importance of diet and lifestyle. And I talked about the common interest of all medical professionals: to be very very well-educated and to help patients.

 

He talked repeatedly about cardiovascular health, heart problems, cancer, and diabetes, all of which he claims are the "real" problems (is this true? beats me... he's seen more than I have), and that naturopathy fails in dealing with any of these. He says most of the patients he's seen either need surgery (which of course naturopathy and acupuncture don't really do), have cancer, diabetes, or serious heart health issues. He also doubts that naturopaths are trained adequately to recognize serious medical conditions when faced with them. He included pancreatic cancer and other conditions I didn't recognize, and expressed his doubts as to the alternative medicine community's capacity to treat, let alone recognize these conditions.

 

I think his perspective is valid in that someone who has taken such poor care of themselves as to develop intense obesity and critical heart health issues, is possibly outside the scope of a naturopath's power to heal. After all, the idea is to help the body heal itself, and if the body is wrecked already, there probably needs to be a more acute method of intervention to prevent an impending health-related death (thin the blood, unclog the arteries, and some other things that pharmaceuticals do incredibly well with minimal risk and low toxicity). So I agreed with him on many points...

 

But, I think naturopaths have a place and it's not an inferior position to the work of MDs. I think it fills a very vital and necessary niche in healthcare. Anyway, we both got exhausted from talking and stopped. I decided to do some more research on the internet about the efficacy of naturopathy from a conventional medicine perspective, and I'm genuinely surprised to find that there are some intensely negative perspectives on its efficacy and value to human civilization. Honestly, it often reads like passionate political banter, but I keep wondering... with all the work conventional medical researchers go through to go about validating the efficacy of their own medicine, how could they be wrong? I genuinely respect them and am confused now. My uncle is a research chemist and says a single pharmaceutical takes on average, between 12 to 18 years to develop, perfect, and research, and that even with all this work, many pharmaceuticals never make it out of the laboratory, because they're simply not reliable enough to merit marketing or using on general public.

 

So... I guess my question is, what might be going on here? Is there something psychological, emotional, spiritual or political going on in his mind, that distorts his perspective? Or is possible that he's right, and that many alternative medicines are bogus? I want to say that I genuinely don't believe in divisive or extremist ideology of any sort. I don't really want a conventional answer to this question, such as "western doctors are brainwashed," or whatever else. I want to work with MDs and DOs and chiropractors etc., not insulate myself from them. I consider them experts and future colleagues that I hope to develop professional and personal relationships with. I'd like to think we can learn from each other, and that our perspectives and techniques for healing the human body will change as we all become better educated, more ethical, and wiser in our thoughts and knowledge. I'd like to believe that my perspective is not naive, and I feel mature in holding space for both our perspectives calmly and equally, but I am definitely confused.

 

I'm guessing many of you have dealt with similar friends, colleagues, etc. Opinions, guesses, perspectives are appreciated.

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While some individual western physicians may be opening up a bit to the naturopathic methods... the establishment that churns them out most definitely is not. The western medical machine is all about control, materialist perspective and the bottom up paradigm. It fits well with those of extremely high mental IQ and below average emotional IQ.

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A good friend of mine has been in medical school for the past three or four years and is training to become a surgeon.

 

There's your problem :P

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Alternative medicine hasn't proven to be effective for treating severe things, but various herbs, exercise, meditation, lifestyle and so on can help alleviate symptoms and work as a preventative measure. I imagine trials would find a good reduced risk of cardiovascular issues if people practiced any sort of what we do.

 

I think there's a lot of fluff, but definitely useful stuff as well. It all needs to be researched more vigorously, ideally with the traditions changing in light of evidence. If a herb used in TCM is found to be ineffective or poisonous (which I think has happened!), for example, TCM practitioners should remove it from their textbooks if they want to be taken seriously as medical practitioners.

 

The reasons why people deny any value to alternative medicine at all may be:

*Only see severe issues (like your surgeon) - underestimate impact of preventatives.

*Associated with pure bull like homeopathy, Masuro Emoto's 'experiments', etc.

*There is no objective evidence for qi, which a lot of alt med is based on - we know it's there because we experience it and because people tend to have similarities in experience across times and cultures, but nothing to convince scientists.

*So many of the big claims get debunked that people dismiss the whole thing - if you taste one ocean you don't feel like checking the others before concluding they're all salty.

*Too many advocates are crackpots.

 

Also when something does show some value, it may get reclassified in a new form as mainstream medicine. Leeches are used in some surgery to thin blood and reduce infection. Salicylic acid from willow bark got made into aspirin. If these had been discovered now, they would be firmly on the alt med side, and seen as a bit weird. But as they're mainstream, nobody sees them as examples of holistic/natural treatments having serious value.

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There is so much i like to say about The medical business and training to be a worker in that profession, but I'm going to just condense it as short as possible.

 

All man made medicine comes from nature, but you cant patent that so they make some thing close enough, and usual it has more side effects then the natural medicines. Its all about making a profit.

 

When training for a medical profession the big companies remove any competition, they control who writes the books and pays the schools big money to make sure its they way they like.

 

If a medical trail shows that the sugar pill is more effective then the drug they will trow the study out, what they call they placebo effect are a major annoyance to them. They should study it I think.

http://harvardmagazine.com/2013/01/the-placebo-phenomenon

 

The side effects of a medicine can be so many the doctor cant tell you them all it would take to long if you would ask what it all meant.

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Finding_out_about_the_side_effects_of_your_prescription_drugs.htm

 

I read that a TMC sad that is teacher never prescribed the same medicine for the same condition.

Edited by Tung

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My uncle worked as a physician but didn´t treat people--he was a hired gun for pesticide companies when they wanted someone with a scientific background to say their chemicals were perfectly safe. At a big family dinner to celebrate my brother´s graduation from medical school, my uncle explained that he´d just gotten back from a big conference where he spoke about how alternative medicine was so much hooey.

 

Later my brother´s mother-in-law, who regarded me as the resident woo-woo of the family, got on my case: Why didn´t I speak up and defend natural medicine? I told her it would of been a waste of time. Here was someone who had dedicated his entire career to debunking everything I believed in. I knew it wasn´t a fight I was going to win. I also knew I was right.

 

When discussing science, better to find people with genuinely open minds who are willing to go where the data leads. Some people--no matter how educated they may be--just aren´t worth talking to.

 

Liminal

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HA HA. You won't get anywhere in this. Not now. But in a few years, once he gets out of med school and faces the real world, and finds out the patients don't respond and the medicines don't work like the books say, THEN you can have this conversation with him and he may listen.

For several years I taught a survey course in medical qigong for 4th year medical students at a local medical school. This was at the invite of the head of the department, an extremely experienced and open physician who recognized the value of the type of therapeutics I teach. In a nutshell, the 4th year students have been trained to think they have all the answers, and the majority are arrogantly ignorant of the real world. This changes once they get out in practice as they find the real world is not the same and the books have much less meaning. It is called the "practice" of medicine for a reason.

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From http://longmenpai.blogspot.com/2008/06/1993-writing-walk-on-great-path.html

 

When I met up with Master Wang in 1990, I gave him the outline of the book. After he read it, he said,

"Daoist explore things that are unsee-able and intangible to ordinary people and that's why it's impossible to communicate daoist ideas with ordinary people. This is also the reason that most people can't accept daoist ideas.

 

To encourage more people to accept daoist practice, we need to concentrate on things that can be seen but intangible, or the tangible things that can't be seen.

 

For example : qigong can cure some diseases just by adjusting breathings and postures, this is result that can be seen but people don't know why, therefore they will be curious and want to discuss it with you.

 

Another example : you use your remote seeing ability to see the illness in someone's body, you tell him about it, he then go to the hospital and was confirmed about the illness. This is his own illness, they can feel it or see it and you can sense it too, he will then want to know why. And just like that, there will be more people who want to know more. There are many more examples in other areas, you should explore them."

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I used to be an Athletic Trainer and medic in the Army, so was trained to a Bachelor's degree level in general Western medicine...and now am attending a "Classical Chinese Medicine" school.

I have to say: your surgeon friend is mostly right. Western medicine is amazing, and to become an MD is a really laudable thing. The basis upon which good Western medicine is based, which is peer reviewed study, is very solid. One of the greatest things I learned in my education was the importance of these studies and how to research and read them for myself. The alternative medicine studies can be good depending on the journal, but from what I've seen, are often not at all comparable to Western medical ones...to the point of even being laughable at times.

It's not that all alternative medicine just needs to be thrown out...it's not that going to see Western doctors will get you 100% cure rates and be the safest thing...there is definitely a place for both medicines, and each has its down sides. Especially with surgery, Western medicine is the only thing that will be an option for you if you require it.

In all types of medicine, but especially alternative types, the effectiveness depends upon the practitioner (this is a downside to it). For instance in Chinese Medicine, there are so many differing schools of thought on how to use herbs...or even how to use acupuncture. Chinese medicine has changed so much over the years, that it's really more of an art and less of a science. Today it's practiced entirely different than it was back in the Han dynasty when the classics came out (for instance, who does the carotid radial pulse comparison from the Ling Shu? Basically no one...not even "Classical" Chinese Medicine schools).

So you have to look at: what works for the patient? Then using the most effective means is how to make it more scientific, and less artsy. Artsy meaning, just on the whim of the individual practitioner. The proof is in the pudding! All practitioners should strive to actually help their patients, rather than simply learn and practice their style of medicine (this involves alternative practitioners being up to date on what actually works as shown in studies, for instance in terms of lifestyle like exercise and dietary advice).

If naturopathy never works (which I doubt is true), then it should be thrown out. If it sometimes works, then it should be analyzed further and used alongside Western medicine with the understanding that it's not always effective (so as a complementary medicine rather than alternative)...practitioners need to find out what is effective and why it is, versus what isn't, and why. If it works most of the time, like Western medicine, then it can be considered an equal alternative.

 

The fact of the matter is: a responsible alternative medicine practitioner refers to a Western Medicine doctor when the patient isn't doing well with their treatment...what does that say about the equality and safety of these types of medicine? It says that Western medicine is reliable and in terms of preserving the life of the patient, when its hanging on by a thread, is generally preferable! This is important to realize.

Too many people pick a side and camp out there, fighting against the other. But what's most important in medicine is: is the patient getting healthier? You could have a shamanistic healer, where it's absolutely unscientific and not repeatable by others...and if they're getting results...good! Healing the patient is the only thing that matters.

Part of healing the patient is having repeatable results, though. This is the downside to the artsy style, intuitive practice, or shamanistic healing, which depends entirely on the unrepeatable skill of the individual practitioner. No one else can do what they do...so it's only worthwhile for people who are able to see that one practitioner, but is not worthwhile as a form of medicine for all people and all times.

 

This being said, there is a science to Chinese medicine and naturopathy. It's just not the same paradigm as Western medicine. I wouldn't go so far to say that Western medicine is based in what's observable and others are based in the intangible...because diagnosis in Chinese medicine for instance, is almost entirely observation of signs and symptoms. I wouldn't say that it goes further into depth regarding the differences in signs and symptoms than Western medicine does...its implications just mean entirely different things. The types of medicine are like entirely separate universes.

I know without a doubt that alternative medicine practitioners are not trained to the same level as MDs, in Western medicine classes. And even if they have some Western medical classes...because it's not necessary for the day to day practice of their profession, it becomes forgettable. It's not the basis upon which they work. Even Western medicine requires continual review in order to keep it in the mind...this is why there's continuing education for nearly all health care professionals. Alternative medicine continuing education does not emphasize Western classes...so they are really just hoops to jump through at the beginning of the education, rather than actual training that's relied upon, for alternative practitioners.

 

So anyway...my main point is that just like Western medicine doctors will have patients that make no sense to their paradigm and are nearly impossible to treat, alternative medicine practitioners absolutely experience the same thing! Alternative practitioners do not have the same level of diagnosis in terms of Western medicine illnesses (and so they can miss very important diseases or conditions and potentially risk lives, or just not be able to treat the patient effectively)...and Western doctors do not have the same level of diagnosis in terms of different paradigms, such as Chinese Medicine theory (so it could be said that they aren't as good at treating holistically, or treating things which Western medicine doesn't understand yet, or challenging cases). As someone who has practiced a form of Western medicine which is similar to physical therapy for a few years, on quite a few different patients in the real world, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that our differential diagnosis considered lots of things that alternative practitioners are entirely clueless about...and actually didn't scratch the surface in terms of actual problems that patients can present with. I was only about 75% effective in actually fixing people...some things just did not make sense. Having seen a little bit of the education of more advanced emergency medical technicians, as well as doctors and physician assistants, I know that they have a vast knowledge of things medical which I'm clueless about.

I know that my alternative medicine education is very inadequate in this regard, and is something I personally need to continually re-educate myself on. A health care professional who is ignorant of what's wrong with the patient will only be able to treat with negligence!

 

...

 

Oh also, this is interesting: the Cleveland Clinic (a major healthcare center in the US) recently opened up a Chinese Herbal Clinic to be used as complementary medicine. It's great to see this kind of working in tandem! Here's an informational sheet from them about it, as well.

Edited by Aetherous
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Big pharma is a major problem. Side effects from mild to lethal, overuse of antibiotics, incorrect combinations of meds that lead to serious complications and even death.

 

If you can't get it up, then take Cialis and if it is up longer than four hours call your Dr. immediately to prevent further damage. :lol:

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Ken Cohen, who is a Taoist initiate and Qigong teacher has done considerable research into the quantification of Eastern medicine. He is an excellent resource to look into concerning the issues between Eastern and Western Medicine.

In the book "Encounters with Qi" A Harvard Medical Doctor David Eisenberg, M.D, had written his personal research into Asian Medicine and it is a fascinating Read.

 

This is an excerpt I had written on a report of that book.

 

Until both Western and Eastern medicine can find a common dialogue, a marriage of the two may not take place for years if not decades to come. Scepticism runs rampant in the general circles of Western doctors and scientists. Even with multiple results showing the positive use and application of Chi Kung, there is still a significant amount of resistance to its efficacy. Equally in Eastern Medicine, there is a dismissive attitude towards the benefits of Western medicine’s investigative means as well as its procedures. Agenda driven medicine in either hemisphere will never benefit those in most need: the patient.

 

Arrogance will prevent the deepest exploration of the human healing condition, including emotional, physical or spiritual therapeutics. The responsibility of our health and the health of our families lay in our hands alone. It is up to the individual to truly become free from institutions that do not have our best interests at heart.

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Re:

-----

"The responsibility of our health and the health of our families lay in our hands alone. It is up to the individual to truly become free from institutions that do not have our best interests at heart. "

----

 

Excellent.

 

But that is complicated by things like this:

 

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/06/17/judge-orders-custody-justina-pelletier-returned-parents/mDWtuGURNawSuObO0pDX4J/story.html

 

 

-VonKrankenhaus

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A good friend of mine has been in medical school for the past three or four years and is training to become a surgeon.

..................................

So... I guess my question is, what might be going on here? Is there something psychological, emotional, spiritual or political going on in his mind, that distorts his perspective? Or is possible that he's right, and that many alternative medicines are bogus? I want to say that I genuinely don't believe in divisive or extremist ideology of any sort. I don't really want a conventional answer to this question, such as "western doctors are brainwashed," or whatever else. I want to work with MDs and DOs and chiropractors etc., not insulate myself from them. I consider them experts and future colleagues that I hope to develop professional and personal relationships with. I'd like to think we can learn from each other, and that our perspectives and techniques for healing the human body will change as we all become better educated, more ethical, and wiser in our thoughts and knowledge. I'd like to believe that my perspective is not naive, and I feel mature in holding space for both our perspectives calmly and equally, but I am definitely confused.

 

I'm guessing many of you have dealt with similar friends, colleagues, etc. Opinions, guesses, perspectives are appreciated.

 

"to become a surgeon."

There's your problem :P

 

He was train to cut up people. Thus he will not make money if people were into the naturopathy. You know what the first thing a surgeon would do. He'd removed the wrong kidney and say sorry but you have to pay for his mistake. There was one case like that. A surgeon removed a kidney from an old lady. Then, later he found out that was the wrong one. He told the lady that he will remove the bad one but she has to pay for the removal of the good one too.

 

Anyway, I am for naturopathy. To me, naturopathy is a method without using external medicine if possible. We know that the body is a self-healing system. If the body was provide with the proper source of vital substance, then it will take care itself. The Chinese Taoists had discovered that long time ago. They practice Chi Kung to absorb the source of chi from nature to enhance the health of the body.

 

Few months ago, I had fell into a rose brush. My left lower leg was scratched in three places by the thrones. I watched the scores were bleeding. In few minutes, the platelets had formed blood clots and stopped the bleeding. During the healing process, I have not done any preventive medicine at all. After the complete healing, I am just ended up with three long score marks on my leg. That's all. BTW I am a practitioner of Tai Ji and Chi Kung. In addition, I am a believer in naturopathy.

 

 

"Is there something psychological, emotional, spiritual or political going on in his mind, that distorts his perspective?"

 

IMO It seems like it is more emotional and political in his mind that distorts his perspective.

 

Edited by ChiDragon

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I am Biased as well...and I try not to be fundalmentalistic about my views.

I am challenged with Fibromyalgia, chronic myofacial syndrome and several other elements I need to let go of.

Western Medicine had been more of a hinderance. Ironically I went to a pain specialist who reviewed my life style and afterwards asked if he could send his patients to me.

I have been teaching others with Chronic Pain now for 5 years from his clinic and specializing in helping them.

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Yes. It Has including Chi Kung. The new England Journal of Medicine has SPECIFIC results showing its efficiacy (Dont go to wiki...they REFUSE to print them...)

Let me find some peer reviewed papers and post them for you guys.

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Do you know what they call alternative medicine that's been proven to work?

Suppressed. :D

Edited by Ancient Sword of Khuul
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Abut I keep wondering... with all the work conventional medical researchers go through to go about validating the efficacy of their own medicine, how could they be wrong?

They never dissected their own framework. They can't see outside of it.

Read Robert Anton Wilson?

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So... I guess my question is, what might be going on here? Is there something psychological, emotional, spiritual or political going on in his mind, that distorts his perspective? Or is possible that he's right, and that many alternative medicines are bogus? I want to say that I genuinely don't believe in divisive or extremist ideology of any sort. I don't really want a conventional answer to this question, such as "western doctors are brainwashed," or whatever else. I want to work with MDs and DOs and chiropractors etc., not insulate myself from them. I consider them experts and future colleagues that I hope to develop professional and personal relationships with. I'd like to think we can learn from each other, and that our perspectives and techniques for healing the human body will change as we all become better educated, more ethical, and wiser in our thoughts and knowledge. I'd like to believe that my perspective is not naive, and I feel mature in holding space for both our perspectives calmly and equally, but I am definitely confused.

 

IMO sounds like a common issue in this type of debate, one that I can relate to.

From my end of the looking glass the premise for debate is often skewed.

 

Something like:

 

Western Medicine - "The standard by which other medicine is judged"

"Not ok" to criticize Western Medicine | Automatically ok to criticize other medicine

 

Other Medicine - "Turn the other cheek, hope they come along."

Should take criticism | Should not criticize western medicine

 

Now I'm speaking in general here, but it's an underdog premise.

 

What happens when we start questioning those kinds of premises?

Is the debatant mature enough for real debate, or do they have to use cheap suppression techniques?

-like the swiss army knife of avoidance "you don't understand science"

The unspoken "on my terms or you are a heretic."

 

Many of the most respected people in Western Science (or any field actually) can be quoted saying things like "we know very little really"....

 

With people who can't afford that attitude at all - personally I don't gain anything from being accomodating or reflective with someones power-complex. I just forget my center.

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They never dissected their own framework. They can't see outside of it.

Read Robert Anton Wilson?

 

Wilson was the master at dissecting paradigms and the limits of language. Well said!

Edited by ralis
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