By Janet Settle MD
In the wake our intoxicating 20th century love affair with pharmaceuticals, conventional medicine has become tilted in the direction of pharmaceutical symptom management, some would say band-aid medicine, and away from the direction of addressing the root causes driving chronic symptoms.
Symptom relief is essential in the healing arts but conventional medicine has been slow to adopt and endorse root cause medicine. Why?
- Miracle procedures and pharmaceuticals are dramatic and sexy. We’re enamored of science and high tech solutions. Lifestyle, dietary and supplements treatments are slower and gentler and have been perceived as antiquated compared with new scientific breakthroughs.
- Natural treatment companies don’t have the deep pockets to advertise to the doctors or consumers.
- Providers, who have adopted a cultural bias against the power and efficacy of ancient natural remedies and simple lifestyle interventions, are often closed minded to education about natural remedies and lifestyle solutions.
- Research on lifestyle and dietary treatments is less compelling to those doling out the limited research funding.
The result is that we as patients don’t have access through our conventional providers to guidance about disease prevention and treatments for the root causes of common chronic conditions such as metabolic syndrome. diabetes, heart disease, cancer, depression, anxiety, memory loss, autoimmune disease and more.
After personally having had a stunningly effective L4-5 micro-discectomy and kidney-saving lithotripsy for a 13 mm (!!) kidney stone, I have tremendous respect and affection for conventional medicine. Integrative medicine aims to combine the best of both worlds reconstituting the desiccated doctor-patient relationship to include more than just pharmaceuticals. Integrative practitioners (of any discipline) use ancient and modern techniques side-by-side including lifestyle, dietary and mind-body interventions to collaborate with the client to care for the body, mind and spirit.