My wife Stella, who is an amazing healer, is facing the contention that bodywork and alternative medicines are elitist. “Only those with disposable income can afford them, and predominantly white privileged women indulge in them.” I’ll respond to this concern as a specific illustration of the point of my recent piece,
Words cast spells. Calling ancient remedies and natural healing practices "alternative" positions them as inferior and suspect. The history of medicine, the real history, exposes allopathic practices for what they are, crude interlopers prioritizing profit over care. Yes, they can and do save lives in the short term but long term healing ... not so much. Too bad all these can't work together.
As a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Licensed Acupuncturist, I like to call what I do Holistic (East Asian) Medicine. For me the best explanation of the difference between conventional (reductionist) medicine and holistic medicine is the metaphors that they are premised upon. Conventional (germ theory): warfare: medicine is weaponry, interventions are targeted, the disease is the enemy, your body is battlefield, collateral damage is expected. Holistic (terrain theory): health is cultivated (agricultural/ecological), interventions are multivalent, soil (tissues) must be nourished and maintained, seeds (ideas/practices) must be planted and tended, and over time health becomes robust and fruitful.
Hello Charles and viewers,
The deeper truth is that the grand majority would NOT need to spend but a fraction of the $ they do for medical or alternative medical health if they would simply be present with, love, respect, listen to, and respond honestly to what their body is telling them. Our body is a LIVING MIRROR of our mind, and takes spirit (thoughts and beliefs) and crystalizes it into living form; we are the creators of our own experiences. Sadly, most people put much more effort into medicating symptoms and creating drama than they do being present with themselves, being Honest with themselves, and having a real relationship with their bodies.
As of January, 2024, I will have been in the field of holistic health, corrective, and high-performance exercise and orthopedic rehabilitation for 40 years, and have seen clearly that anyone that develops an honest, loving relationship with "themselves" seldom has health challenges and when they do, heal quickly and learn from their experiences.... I have encapsulated the key elements of how we can create health honestly and effectively in my 6-part video series titled "The Fastest Way To Health," which can be seen here by anyone ready to use the power of their heart and mind to create more freedom for themselves and exemplify that to others...which is what children need most from their parents, more than ever...TODAY:
Love and chi,
Holistic Health Practitioner,
Founder, Chek Institute for Holistic Health studies.
Every point here is logical, accurate and true. However, I wonder why not dismantle the concept of privilege itself? Seems that would be an empowering process that would illuminate the “victim mentality” that is ultimately at the core of this issue.
As someone who almost killed himself in medical school, dealing with moral injury, I can attest that most medical doctors and caregivers are severely ill themselves. Imagine going to a mechanic and trusting him with your car when he has broken vehicles all over the place. Do we evaluate our physicians and therapists the same way?
Right on..."Alternative" not so long ago was the perennial mode of healing. Until a few centuries ago with Descartes and his "I think therefore I am" was translated into mechanistic science in isolated laboratories under synthetic conditions never before seen in nature. Nature, where we all came from! Where perennial herbal and other healing modalities did not stop at "what is wrong" in a reductive sense but looked at the whole person, connecting us to all living beings, to the great gifts of the plant realm. Something which began hundreds of thousands of years ago. Yes, "modern medicine" is invaluable in acute situations -- but the very definition of "acute" is "not very often." And meanwhile the third leading cause of death in the US after cancer and heart disease is iatrogenic -- caused by allopathic medical treatment, above all with pharmaceuticals. With which someone is making a ton of money
Amen. Such a powerful message. I have this very topic on a list of wishes I put out into the universe regularly... How can we make these alternative medical treatments and modalities accessible to ALL! A very prescient point is made here; it is not the fault of the practitioners. It is the widely accepted and inherently flawed medical/pharmacological industrial complex and the insurance industry that keep these modalities out of reach of many. Those of us who have been failed by the current medical system, who have watched our already poor health deteriorate further at the hands of treatments and medications offered by the mainstream medical system, only to begin to find relief and healing when we are able to seek out alternative practitioners and treatments understand this. I wish for all to have the ability to experience this. We need to change the systems currently accepted as they are not there for our benefit. They benefit those profiting at our expense. Thank you Charles and Stella for all you are doing to bring awareness to so many.
“Show me the evidence” is someone who completely discounts empirical evidence and the holistic worldview. They are mired in the reductionist model, so to them if it wasn’t reduced to its component parts and subjected to rigorous laboratory testing, its not valid. The Chinese civilization has been in continuous existence for thousands of years, and they kept the records. Reductionism drives an either/or mindset, when it should be both. Ignoring thousands of years of documented empirical evidence is foolishness.
Some of us don’t have the luxury of living within the system anymore. Long gone are the days of pizza/wine weekends and a faith in an all mighty doctor. There isn’t a place for us there anymore. We are the outcasts that have had to search outside the box for authentic healing. That search is expensive but it is our number one priority. We have had to make incredible adjustments to make it happen because there was no other choice. Disposable income doesn’t exist here. This lifestyle is all consuming and requires much greater work than believing it’s someone else’s responsibility to heal me. I certainly wouldn’t label it privilege but rather a calling born out of necessity.
As a Hands-on-Healer, working in an alternative system, I also use an alternative monetary system. I simply ask for a donation. It can be any amount of money or gifting. It all works out for me. However, I do have the privilege of a being retired with a social security income and married with another source of income as well. I am passing my privilege forward.
When I stumbled upon natural healing modalities about 12 years ago, I was astounded to learn how misled I'd been over the decades. Already I had stepped away from pharmaceuticals because of the terrible side effects, so definitely I was looking for an "alternative."
What's hard now is witnessing the ignorance of my loved ones who are in very poor health and clinging to the allopathic system of medicating their problems (which only drives the illness deeper). They think I'm the crazy one. Even the example of my seemingly increasing good health and wellbeing, while theirs is deteriorating, is not enough.
The point I'm trying to make (not very well) is the belief system being so cemented that truth cannot get through. I myself only looked into alternatives, finally because I had my back against the wall. But: I was curious enough to pursue. Many people I meet are more fearful and dependent and trusting of experts, than they are curious and thinking that they can be empowered to actually be their own healer. Totally different frame of reference.
I'm a believer in the healing power of our own hands and mind. Resonant Attention ( I took Stella's classes) and other self practiced alternative healing modalities healed and acute hip condition I was suffering with. It felt miraculous.
I'm working on figuring out how to bring my functional medicine health coaching to those who couldn't otherwise afford it so people can be empowered to heal themselves like I've been doing.
I am a Reiki practitioner and teacher and start Reiki circles with my students. We work on each other for free unless there is a rental fee for the space.
I have walked in both worlds of allopathic and holistic health as a provider for 25 years. Both are valuable and beneficial. Medicine is a suppressive model. Most medications are inhibitory to a physiological pathway. Which at times is a very good thing. Life saving in fact. Holistic models are expressive. Actually encouraging and supporting the physiology to function optimally. Our culture essentially creates a chronic illness with expensive and dangerous therapies for life. But calls them lifesaving. And then we marginalize incredibly effective healing arts that increase health and function and call them expensive. Yet a lifetime of these therapies is less than a couple of days in the hospital or a couple of years of damaging drugs.
Maybe people who practice ‘alternative’ medicine can give charity care or treatments to the disadvantaged. I, like many in medicine, give up my time and talents to people who have no medical coverage. Half of my surgical practice is given as charity or non-reimbursed care. I have no control of the corporatization of medicine, and I am not proud of it. The privileged nature of alternative medicine is real and if it got involved in the medical insurance industry it would be abused and bastardized, as well as increase medical premiums to an even higher level because of the practitioners and users working the bloated system.
As an RN with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, I chose to work in an integrative clinic because our mainstream healthcare system is so dysfunctional, which Charles explains clearly. What's wrong starts with the question: Is it moral to make a profit from the suffering of people who are sick?
And Charles is right, many times the doctors in my clinic gave research articles to their patients to take to their primary care doctors to explain why our docs had recommended an alternative treatment. In most cases, the primary care doctor refused to read the research and threw it in the wastebasket, telling the patient to stop taking what we had recommended. The primary care didn't know if the treatment was safe or not, or effective or not. They told the patient to stop taking it because it wasn't what they were taught in school or what was recommended by conventional specialists. In other words, they gave advice out of ignorance, not knowledge, but weren't able to just say, "I don't know."