Modern versus Alternative Medicine?

There are so many different Healing and Medical modalities nowadays...
"Conventional" modern medicine on the one hand and a vast array of other disciplines which all get lumped together under the heading "Alternative".
Personally, this really annoys me.
Because it implies that the kind of medicine that is offered in modern day hospitals is "proper" medicine, and that any other approach is some kind of new fangled "alternative" to it.
The other thing that really gets my goat, is the concept I am constantly hearing from conventionally trained doctors, that modern medicine is the only "scientific" discipline, and everything else is merely a whimsical or spiritual thing that can at best have an aplication in providing some kind of emotional support to a patient while they are being treated with "proper" modern medicine.
In reality, medicine and healing comes in many many different shades and teachings.
Some of the so called "Alternative" disciplines, such as Chinese Acupuncture and Incian Aruyveda have been around much longer than "modern" medicine, and have centuries of applied research and experimentation documented in their development.
And within modern medicine, there are many treatments and approaches which are experimental at best. And many which have become mainstays of practice, even though there is little or no proof that they actually work!

Ideally as a Healer, you need to be able to pick and choose appropriate therapy for your patient from the many different disciplines, and combine them so as to be able to offer truly wholistic care.
And this of course is where the problem starts.

It has become almost a kind of territory war.
On one side you have the defenders of "conventional" medicine with university degrees and scientific reports to give them credibility...on the other side, there are the equally passionate "alternative" practicioners with equally impressive degrees waving their own research papers to prove that they are the better, greater and safer Way of Healing.
Each side convinced that "their" way is the only true way, and that the other approach is both innefective and dangerous.

There is also a smaller, but growing number of people who put in the time and effort to train in a number of different disciplines, who are attempting to bridge the divide between "Alternative" and "Conventional" and pave the way towards truly Wholistic Health care.

Having worked as a nurse in a busy emergency department, I appreciate the life saving applications of modern day surgery, blood transfusions, cardiac shock treatment and antidotes for snake bites....
On the other hand, my studies in traditional chinese acupressure, and research into aromatherapy, herbalism and homeopathy have shown me how to treat many things that modern medicine simply has nothing to offer for.
I have seen people with chronic back pain, arthritis, asthma, and any number of other chronic biochemistry related disorders treated effectively with these therapies.
And I have also experienced the amazing effect of so called "New Age" psychotherapy approaches to depression and other mental illnesses. Shamanic healing sessions, hands on healing, prayer, encounter therapy to name just a few, can shortcircuit the need for years of talking in a modern psychotherapists office, and reduce or even remove the need for the use of chemical antidepressants!

Realistically, if you are sick and want to become well, you need to look at all the different healing modalities on offer, and find ways of combining different bits of them to give you everything you need to become well and "Whole" again.

And this is where it becomes difficult. How do you work out who to listen to?
How do you choose a doctor or practicioner?
And last but not least, how on earth do you combine the different treatments?

In future posts, I am going to look at the strengths and weaknesses of some of the different types of healing and medicine, and hopefully provide a bit more insight into the many different approaches.
I'm hoping to inspire people to do their own research, stimulate some discusions, and maybe even some heated arguments!


  1. Hi Ambrosia
    this is a welcome addition to the on-going conversation about healing - what it means to heal, and how people can be enabled to heal.

  2. Well done Ambrosia

    This will be very interesting to unravel - as you know I am at the forefront of both modelities and often find myself at crossroads as to which to follow - 'mainstream' or 'alternative' and sometimes do both in my clinical situation - each oblivious to the other.

    Love always

    Harmony x0x


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