While traveling across the United States, I suffered a painful earache. I am Italian and had only recently moved to California, so I had another month before my health insurance took effect. My husband and I were in Florida, on our way back to Los Angeles, when we stopped at a local pharmacy. The doctor inspected my ear with her otoscope. She even coerced my husband to take a look, until he, too, was forced to agree my ear was infected. She diagnosed me with mononucleosis, prescribed what her website recommended, and sent me on my way.
Having worked at management level positions of pharmaceutical companies, I knew the drug she had prescribed was a heavy hitter, like hunting bees with a bazooka. Nevertheless, my earache was agonizing and I was deaf in that ear, so I took the pills as prescribed for one week, after which I suffered the side effects: swollen limbs, accelerated heart rate, and sleeplessness. I also did some research and learned that the medication intended to cure my earache weakened my immune system, which is a bad strategy for treating mononucleosis.
Ten days later, back in California, my husband took me to visit another doctor. Doctor #2 insisted mononucleosis was impossible. I had had mono as a teenager. The likelihood of suffering that illness a second time was low. Besides, I had none of the symptoms. Doctor #2 prescribed two drugs. One was the same drug recommended by the first doctor, but Doctor #2 prescribed three times the dosage and insisted I take the pills for an entire month. The second drug was another heavy hitter and the equivalent of lighting birthday candles with a flamethrower. As I was still struggling to detoxify my body from the first round of drugs, and preferred to avoid an even more serious case of side effects, I decided not to follow her instructions.
One week later, my husband and I were in Italy spending the winter holidays with my family. I was still suffering the earache and still deaf in that ear. During this time I visited my family doctor in Rome. He recommended a saline solution (a sterile mix of salt and water), which I used for a week. Day by day, my earache went away and I started hearing again.
Why does the western healthcare system insist on chopping down entire trees instead of plucking the one bad leaf?
Whether you suffer a common cold, the seasonal flu, or something more serious, your doctor is obligated to follow a predetermined protocol that disregards his or her knowledge, experience, and instinct about what your problem might be. Meanwhile, healthcare professionals are paid to win doctors onto their side. Pharmaceutical companies drive doctors’ decisions by filtering the information they share and the drugs they push. It’s part of their marketing plan.
Take my husband, for example. He used to have high cholesterol that was hereditary. Ten years ago, when he was 35 years old, his doctor prescribed a drug that he would have had to take every day for the rest of his life. The drug was expensive and, thanks to its side effects, would more than likely have caused debilitating muscle pain and damage within a decade or two.
A Holistic Health Practitioner would have first asked my husband about his diet and exercise routine. What do you eat in a week? How many minutes of cardio do you do daily? Instead of masking the symptoms, holistic medicine addresses the root cause of your problem. Six months after we met, my husband’s cholesterol had dropped from 360 to 205. I had put him on a holistic plan.
I first turned to holistic medicine in 2000, after surviving a life-threatening car crash. When painkillers and prescription drugs proved useless to alleviate the chronic pain I suffered, a friend suggested I undergo a Shiatsu massage. During those 45 minutes I experienced substantial relief for the first time since the accident, and also developed a passionate interest in holistic therapies and solutions.
Though not the gateway to immortality, holistic medicine offers a safe and healthy approach to wellness. Is a pebble in your shoe causing pain when you walk? A Holistic Health Practitioner would suggest you remove your shoe and pull out the pebble, while many western doctors would amputate your foot. Western medicine is aggressive. Often the solution is to remove an organ or other parts of your body, not considering the fact that our body is a perfect system whose separate parts work in synergy. Today’s approach to healthcare in the western world is like hunting bees with a bazooka or lighting birthday candles with a flamethrower or chopping down a tree to pluck that one bad leaf.
Healthcare is a multi-billion dollar business. With so much money to be made, corporations will cross lines, and the main problem there is that nobody is held accountable. Shareholders want their investment protected and improved upon, forcing the CEO to make decisions that put people’s lives in jeopardy. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical company managers get bonuses for meeting quotas. Who cares who’s sick or dying or dependent on your drug when your bonus is an all expense paid trip to the Bahamas? I’ve known and worked with these people. Some of them would sell their sister for an extra perk or a pension.
No, the Holistic Health Practitioner can’t change the world, but he or she can help you change yourself, which is why I chose the holistic path. Yes, I would go to a western doctor if I broke a bone. But your body’s first and best medicine is itself. Properly guided, your body will maintain its own health and, when necessary, heal itself in a natural way.