We often define “Alternative Medicine” as an approach to treatment which considers the whole person and not just their parts.
We do not treat pains in the stomach without considering nutrition, emotions such as anxiety, the nerves that innervate the stomach, a stomach infection (H. pylori), an infected tooth, mercury amalgams, and others. Obviously it is important to consider all the possibilities which might cause a person’s symptoms.
But let’s step back even a little further, taking on a broader perspective.
An American neurosurgeon and a pioneer of brain surgery, Dr. Harvey Cushing, M.D., said, “A physician is obligated to consider more than a diseased organ, more even than the whole man – he must view the man in his world.”
Dr. Cushing, considered to be the father of modern neurosurgery, spoke of a very important approach, an almost three dimensional way of deciphering the causes of a person’s suffering.
How can a physician not consider the world which surrounds their patient? Certainly entering the hidden and microscopic world through X-rays, lab testing, biopsies, and the testing of other specimens reveal important information yet we are viewing the results, often the pathology, of years and decades of a slowly degenerating condition. This microscopic perspective does not tell us, does not inform us, as to how this came to be.
We must venture into the depths of a person’s physique and their psyche while viewing it against the landscape of the broad expanse of their past and the world which surrounds and influences them today.
Our biology influences our biography. The chemistry that flows through our veins today affects our immediate decisions.
Our psychology affects our physiology. It is true that our thoughts and emotions influence the chemistry which bathes our every cell and tissue.
In the French language there is the word “comportement” which means a person’s demeanor or behavior, and a person’s comportement is influenced by their social environment.
There are a myriad of influences which affect the body, mind and spirit. One role of the practitioner of the art of medicine, of alternative medicine, is to help their patient to become more aware, more conscious, of how various influences surrounding them impact their health.
Dr. Alexander Haskell, N.D.
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