Complementary Health Care
(allopathic) medicine has been the mainstream form of health care in
this country for over 100 years. The passage of time has diluted the
history of its ascendancy to its position of social, political and
economic power. It was not until a report in the New England Journal of
Medicine, within the past 3 years, that people (and especially the
medical establishment) realized that allopathic medicine does not have
a mortgage on health care in this country.
This report stated that the American people are spending more money on so-called alternative medicines, mostly out of pocket, than they are on conventional medicines. Is it a wonder that the political/economic machine of the pharmaceutical/allopathic world has stepped into the Washington arena to stall health care reform?
Complementary health care (I use the term "health care" instead of medicine, because medicine has come to imply the giving, or intrusion of, another substance or act) is a very broad spectrum of interventions, aids, counselling and approaches. These are forms of assistance that truly "compliment" the skills, advantages and undeniable brilliance of the emergent, radical interventions of allopathic medicine. Nobody should give up the right to the amazing skills of the micro-surgeon, the emergency room physician or the unsurpassed ability of an MRI or Cat-scan to discover, for instance, the source of bleeding in the brain. However, allopathic medicine generally does a poor job of assisting people with the every day needs of managing their physical, emotional and spiritual expression.
Complementary health care providers tend to connect to their patient/clients on different levels. To be effective, they need to have an emotional and spiritual connection or understanding to truly comprehend the underlying needs of the person seeking assistance.
Because complementary care providers often do not have the skills or knowledge to intervene in the emergency care of an individual, they tend to behave in a "preventative" way when dealing with health issues. If a person is already in a crisis of some form, complementary health care providers try to get to the original cause or source of the problem, rather than dealing with the signs and symptoms of the condition. There are some advantages to not having access to radical procedures to remedy problems that have been previously unattended. Vigilance and attention become the major tools of work, instead of reaction and suppression.
What is a complementary health care provider? A good complementary practitioner is capable of making sound health care decisions based on understanding and knowledge of all of the components of a person's make-up. There should be consideration of not only the physical, but also the intellectual, emotional and spiritual aspects. Practitioners should have knowledge of a wide range of health care opportunities that may be appropriate for an individual, as well as have access and communication with others in the health care arena.
Complementary health care practitioners should still have accountability for their actions and advice to ensure you that the practitioner is up to date with their education and has some type of peer review mechanism to ensure the safety of the public and the consumer.
The definition listed here is not an exclusive one, but rather is advice concerning the criteria suggested if you plan to see a complementary health care practitioner. The list of possible people that you may consult is almost endless in an effort to achieve personal wholeness and satisfaction of all facets of your entire self. Your ethnic, cultural, and spiritual belief background must be accommodated if you are to gain truly satisfactory health care.
The popular "arrival" of complementary health care is an interesting phenomenon and signals a huge change in the psyche of the population. The ongoing survival of complementary health care systems will be dependent on the will of the individual to take responsibility for his/her own health and a continuing demand for preventive rather than reactive health care measures.
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