In this paper I will be discussing the two most prevalent models of health. These two models of health are not, of course, total opposites. Similar to terms such as gay and straight they are two definitive labels placed upon a broad spectrum that is hardly definitive. There exists in this case as well a large clouded middle between the two limiting labels. These are collections of thoughts about how to go about continuing life. These two paradigms in modern healthcare I hope will one-day come to know one another. For now let us say that in generally speaking there are two different approaches or models of medicine and they are allopathic and holistic. Allopathic is another term for our modern western medicine, which in the United States is the dominant one and the one most familiar to the masses. The other, the holistic model, also known as alternative, is commonly associated with older ideas that originated in the East.
This first paradigm of thinking when it comes to medicine is the modern-day allopathic approach. This model of care has behind it an idea that there is a separation between the body and mind. The mind is seen as secondary to the body. Illnesses that are seen as psychosomatic are to be fixed in the mind and perhaps the patient would even be referred to a psychiatrist. The training of a medical doctor in this approach rests primarily on looking to quantitative information like research and charts. It does not matter who the observer is the same results should be achieved. This approach views the other as being outdated and sometimes even uncivilized.
The second paradigm of thinking, the holistic model believes that there is a connection not only between the body and mind but also the soul something not often considered in the allopathic ideal.The mind is either primary or at least as equal to the body in respect to importance. The idea of bodymind as it is called is something to be considered by all health care professionals. Information is based on qualitative information from the patient and from the professional’s own intuition, quantitative data is an adjunct. This approach to medicine sees the allopathic approach as one that is too limiting.
In the allopathic model, when it comes to examining the patient the physician, the allopath, looks mainly for symptoms. The allopath is taught to look for specifics; something that could be labeled and classified. If a patent were to go a doctor who is a General Practitioner of Medicine (GP), he or she, would most likely make a routine check of the individual’s vital signs to start to see if there were any evidence of what could be deemed illness. If there were not any to be found then the doctor would most likely investigate further. The holistic practitioner also would examine the vital signs of the individual but would also try to see patterns in the individuals general health and to note them.
Many of the differences in ideas are caused simply by the difference in the cultures from which they sprang. Our society is founded on capitalism and is incessant for more. For this reason it is no wonder that an allopath is trained with an emphasis on efficiency. In the cultures of the East, many of which trail us in modern technology and differ in values, a holistic practitioner is taught to have an emphasis on human values. Our culture while it knows that addictions such as smoking or drinking causes the body to be less resistant to illness but our society that is more intrigued with the pleasure principle will not stop. The theologies of the east particularly Buddhism and Hinduism teaches towards finding freedoms from addictions and also wants. Buddha taught that as long as life is the striving towards obtaining gratification then life would always be suffering since one would always desire to have more.
The yogis and monks of the East influenced holistic medicine greatly. Many of these men gave up certain foods and studied the body’s reactions. Vegetarian diets were often employed in the East and this was probably either for religious reasons or economic ones. There are Fruitarians who only eat fruit. Others who only drink water and even those who only breathe (breatharians). The breath is one of the primary things in holistic health to consider since an individual can live weeks without food, days without water but only minutes without air.
How a health professional is to act is also different. In the traditional model the individual is a professional who is a representative of the medical industry and what it stands for. A MD is taught to be emotionally neutral as so too not interfere with the diagnosis. Personal involvement with the patient is shunned upon. In the holistic model one must be emotionally involved. Involvement is seen as a necessary component of healing. The holistic practitioner takes into account their feelings and reactions to utilize these in their treatment.
The emotional reactions of the clients are also taken into account in these two models but also in different ways. Pain and disease are seen as negative in the allopathic model. These things and any kind of disability are seen as an entity. This entity is to be destroyed in the allopathic view. The traditional model seeks to cure a patient of his or her ills. To cure is for the body to be free of any illness. In the holistic model pain and disease are considered to be positive. Quite differently from the traditional, any disability is seen as a process. The holistic view is that pain and disease would be something to be learned from because these may be signals of some internal conflict. The holistic model seeks to heal the individual. This is called a way of life since even a dying individual can be healing if their experience is one of balance, integration and a satisfaction from deep within.
An allopath does more of the work in our modern medicine and believes primarily in intervention. As a treatment, he mainly uses drugs and surgery. The holistic model prefers minimal intervention when it comes to technology. A holistic practitioner would place emphasis primarily on instructing the patient to make changes in that individual’s lifestyle, since this is where the illness began this is where it should be treated. Medication is seen as a quick fix that glosses over the problem, the cause. Nutrition is of vital importance to the holistic practitioner. If any treatment were employed it would then be complemented by this. Allopathic or holistic both agree that a healthy diet is imperative to health. This coupled with a regiment of exercise will also aid the body in its resistance to environmental stresses. These two models in theory often times agree, it is in application that they differ.
When viewing the body in the traditional paradigm it is considered to be like a machine, which functions or does not. Treatment is to return it to working condition by eliminating the symptoms and the disease. The individual can prevent disease by changing environmental issues. The alternative view is that the body is seen as “a dynamic system, a complex energy field within fields (family, workplace, environment, culture life history)” (Ferguson 248). This field is constantly interacting with the individual’s environment and is affected by their place in the world and in society. The patient must realize these influences which this and change themselves to adapt or if need be then to change their environment. Treatment does not end when symptoms of illness are gone instead it continues towards a greater idea of health.
In the traditional model the patient gives himself or herself up to their doctor so to speak. This professional is viewed as the authority and the patient is dependent upon them and also their treatments. A patient of holistic therapies is autonomous any treatment would be make the individual have greater independence. The practitioner is considered to be a partner in the process towards healing.
Underlying holistic medicine the idea of balance can be heard. Balance is want the holistic idea towards healing is all about. This is why it believes in incorporation of western and eastern therapies. It sees western therapies as often being drastic because of the eastern therapy idea of the body’s ability to prevent most illness but does believe that they are sometimes necessary. There are many modalities that encompass the term holistic. They range from ones similar to western medicine such as Chiropractic and Ayurveda to others that are not at all alike.
Chiropractors make up the second most health professionals, the first are General Practitioners and the third are Dentists. Chiropractors use manipulations to stretch and align the spine. The theory of chiropractic is based on the spine because it is the highway of the central nervous system it is imperative that it is healthy. Manipulations offer increased blood flow and bring the body into its natural alignment. Chiropractic practices are seen by modern medicine as being useful for back problems but have yet to acknowledge the claims that they can help with some illnesses.
An osteopath is Medical Doctor who is often considered similar to a chiropractor. Osteopaths also use spinal manipulations but are not limited to them. Besides these osteopaths manipulate the entire musculoskeletal system. This like chiropractic can cause increased blood flow and also correct any imbalances caused by sustained trauma to the body like car accidents for example. Both this and chiropractic can loosely fall under the term bodywork.
There are other modalities that are more associated with the term bodywork. These are the various kinds of massage: Swedish, deep tissue, Shiatsu, Rolfing a deep tissue manipulation that releases emotions trapped in the muscles and others. Massage on particular parts of the body like the feet in reflexology, are thought to relieve stress in the internal organs. Another is the Alexander Technique, which is a retraining of the body to move properly.
Yoga is a word commonly associated with the physical body exercise but it really means path to enlightenment. There are many different branches of yoga. Some like Hatha and even Jhana yoga focus on the body, utilizing asanas (body poses that incorporate breathing and stretching) and also meditation. These systems have formed the basis for modern day Pilates, aerobics and even recently isometrics. Other paths of yoga are more internally orientated such as Karma Yoga. In all yogas breathing is considered vitally important. Yoga originates in India and is greatly utilized in Ayurveda.
Ayurveda the science of India is a system of medicine that is concerned with “Eight branches of medicine: pediatrics, gynecology, obstetrics, ophthalmology, geriatrics, otolaryngology, general medicine and surgery” (Lad, Intro.). This two thousand-year-old system is the basis for much of today’s modern medicine. It sees man as a microcosm of the universe and seeks to achieve the homeostasis that is seen in nature. There are many Ayurvedic practitioners who have come to the United States to become Medical Doctors and who utilize both schools of medicine. Dr. Deepak Chopra is one of these; he came from India an Ayurvedic Doctor and is now a MD as well. Chopra has written numerous books on health and is one of people whom are responsible for bringing the ideas of the East to the West.
Acupuncture originated in China over 5,000 years ago. This science is based on energy meridians that flow throughout the body. Illness is caused by these meridians being out of balance. An acupuncturist manipulates these lines using needles that redirect too much energy to places that are lacking in it. Acupuncture has been used successfully in modern medicine as an alternative to anesthesia.
Other modalities that utilize and manipulate energy are Reiki, Therapeutic Touch (TT), and hands-on-healing. These all involve the user channeling a healing energy into the patient. Reiki and TT are specific forms of the generic hands-on-healing. For someone to practice Reiki they must first be attuned by a Reiki Master, who has gone through at least the first three attunements of Reiki. There are 12 in all. TT has been utilized in hospitals for many years and is now part of a nurse’s curriculum.
As I said before nutrition is very important to the holistic model of health. There are even modalities that focus specifically on them. A naturopath is someone who prescribes only food for the curing of illness. A herbalist is similar, they too prescribe only natural herbs to fight illness and disease. A Homeopath takes the sickness or the thing causing sickness and by diluting and having the patient ingest it believes that the body will create its own immunity to it. There are numerous other modalities that exist and holistic practitioners often employ a collection of these to be used depending on the patient.
Capitalism and Conspiracy: the Creation of Modern Medicine:
In my hope that these two models will someday combine for the greater good of the world I must mention the reasons why they are so segregated today. . In the allopathic system the use of drugs is considered by many to not be for health reasons but instead for economic ones. Modern day medicine is ruled by government agencies. Today, in the United States, the American Medical Industry along with the Food and Drug Administration and numerous other government agencies have supremacy over the treatments that are available to its citizens. It is illegal for any physician to recommend a treatment that is natural. The doctors insurance does not cover it and if they are caught can be stripped of their license. Under the medical industry and its many laws a doctor can only prescribe drugs that have been approved by the FDA.
There are literally dozens of books on this subject of the creation of the medical industry. I will attempt to summarize it as best as I can. The establishment of traditional medicine is not one that is set into a foundation of tradition or of practices that are hundreds of years old. Instead today’s medical industry is more aptly called a corporation that began at the beginning of the 20th century by pioneers of American business and, eventually, monopolies. John Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and the Rothschild family were all involved in the creation of the complex medical system that we believe exists independently of one another. Let me explain. In the early decades of the 1900s by setting up firstly medical schools, then hospitals, then drug companies and decades later insurance companies these men created ways to invest their enormous empires of capital tax free and virtually untouchable. Then to simply launder the profits in a continuo circulatory system that is still in effect today. But the “conspiracy” as it is called goes deeper than this. There are underlying interactions between American companies and their conglomeration with Hitler before, during and even after World War II. The use of the Jewish people for the testing of new drugs and therapies as well.
In A World Without Cancer, by Griffen is a primary source for this information Griffen writes: “In the years prior to World War II, there came into existence an international cartel, centered in Germany, that dominated the entire world’s chemical and drug industries. It had spread its operations to ninety-three countries and was a powerful economic and political force in all countries. It was known as I.G. Farben.” When John D. Rockefeller interlocked his American-based, international empire with that of I.G. Farben in 1928 “there was created the largest and most powerful cartel the world has ever known. Not only has that cartel survived through the years, it has grown and prospered. Today it plays a major role in both the science and politics of cancer therapy.”
The Allied Forces attacked Germany, and specifically the city where the headquarters of I.G. Farben were located. Now take in mind that the ties between IG Farben and its American counterparts were to be dissolved after the war began. The Allies destroyed nearly everything in the city. Every building was destroyed except one and it happened to be the largest building, the headquarters of I.G. Farben.
Following the war the dissolved American counterparts seized control of I.G. Farben and all of its records. In his book, Griffen shows that everyone involved prospered from the war, American business as well as those overseas. Their conglomeration, these umbrellas of businesses, where money changed hands between the countries involved Allied and Axis forces. Standard Oil Company secured the patent rights over the synthetic oil and rubber the holocaust victims were about to produce in the factories they built adjacent Auschwitz and elsewhere. It should also be known that IG Farben, Rockefeller’s partner, held the patent on the gas that killed the millions of holocaust victims as they entered the “showers,” allegedly for “public health” and “disinfection.” IG Farben was dismantled into many companies, mostly American that still exist today. These companies and the drug industry are the second largest industry next to only the defense industry.
Modern medicine has become the last economic frontier. Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent every year upon creation of new drugs and research. Because something natural cannot be patented then no drug company will put millions into researching its effects. These companies instead synthesize the natural element and make it far more expensive than the natural one with many more side effects. The push for medication can be seen today in the use of for numerous health problems and even more recently for emotional ones. The masses are ingesting the quick fix of their problems, me included. Children are being prescribed drugs like Ritalin, an amphetamine, that is a low dose derivative of the illegal drug cocaine to help them focus. We have become blinded I think to the domination of these capitalistic monopolies. And I did not think so until I began to research this paper.
I realize that these last few ideas are not in my original proposal but felt that I would be doing the same injustice to not mention them. Especially in this class we have learned to raise our consciousness to what we have been taught and look to the other side and to seek our out a new truth. One of my favorite quotes is by Charles Dubois and it is this and this has recently helped to transform my life:
The important thing is this: to be ready at any moment to sacrifice what you are for what you could become.
So this too has been for me a journey, not just a repeating of things already known but a movement from an old view to a new one. I hope it will have the same effect.
The holistic model would not be complete without saying that it is the individual who must make their own choice, another thing that the allopathic model wishes to be in charge of. My journey has been from allopathic to holistic and currently in a corroboration of allopathic therapies from my own General Practitioner and a number of holistic ones that I have through my own research came to use. For me it seems that I have thrown out many greater evils of drug use and drinking to these lesser evils. I see this now as a process that if I were not meant to experience I would not be. Becoming dependent upon anything I think is in no way good no matter if that thing were called religion, addiction, hobby or love. I believe that the seeking of balance is a must. And one cannot forever deny who he is. As Shakespeare said “To think own self be true.” A lesson I am currently trying to employ and so unfortunate it is that “Once the mind has been stretched from a new idea it can never again return to its original state” Einstein.