Alternative medicine or Complementary medicine or both?
Updated: Jan 20, 2022
Although many people refer to medicine that isn't practised by a General Practitioner (GP) also known as a family doctor, or a doctor at a walk in clinic, hospital or specialised practice as "alternative medicine" it's actually known as Complementary and Alternative Medicine or CAM. It is because the medicine we practice is complementing or working in symbiosis with modern medicine. Personally, I am only interested in Complementary medicine modalities part, as scientific studies* have shown that these practices are evidence based and help to complement modern medical care.
1) Holistic Practices disregard Modern Medicine...
First and foremost a reputable and regulated (if that is available to them in their CAM field) practitioner of any holistic modality will NEVER ignore modern science or dissuade, prevent or otherwise tell their client to stop taking their chemo meds/not have that life saving procedure done/discontinue to use their antidepressants for example. And if you decide to use a CAM practitioner who does, then I would suggest to immediately stop working with that person! As a Holistic Therapist, Heath Coach and Nutritionist my Health History form is a vital part of me finding out exactly what has been and is your current "modern" medical state. With me you will continue taking your meds, you will clear any treatment or pathway with your primary healthcare provider (maybe even educating them along the way!) and together we will work on balancing your energy, helping you make better health choices in regards to nutrition and exploring together different ways to augment, compliment and amplify (without interfering with or causing harm) your current modern medical treatments as well as getting to the root of why you are ill.
2) CAM is useless. If I'm in pain its because I have X, Y, and Z...
Pain is 100% for real. As someone who is living with pain and who has a parent with chronic pain one of the fundamental cornerstones of my practice is that your pain is REAL. And, it doesn't have to be in relation to X, Y, and Z. It could be manifesting in an entirely non-physical way and yet be very real to you. In fact, Healing Hands was created by a registered nurse to help with the healing of her patients no matter the origin of their pain. For example, a key component of why/how this works is because the practitioner of Healing Hands guides energy into the patient/client...energy that is universal and all around us. The energy that makes life go. The energy that animates all living creatures. This energy is what helps the client's body and energy field as well and the body's innate ability to heal itself go forward from a place of release, compassion and love.
3) Ok, so we don't need modern medicine? I don't need to see a doctor if I've physically hurt myself, or have cancer or need an operation? I can just use complementary medicine to heal my cells which in turn will heal my problem?
Nope. Got a broken bone? Modern medicine please! Have pain resulting from that fracture? Well you can either take pain medication (paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for example or even narcotics if the pain is beyond the pharmacological scope of over the counter meds for example) or you can get to the root of why you have pain. Again, don't misunderstand me! When I was at the beginning of my chronic pain I took narcotics around the clock for months. In the beginning after my surgery I adamantly refused anything stronger than paracetamol until a nurse explained to me (out of pity probably) that I needed to get my body's pain cycle to manageable level so that my body had a chance to heal itself and get to root of the deep-inside-my-body-all-consuming pain I was experiencing. I'm not talking about the incision site or the severe bruising caused by the operation which can of course cause pain in its own right. Once I was on the narcotics I was able to function which then, eventually, after maaaaany doctors, led me to a therapist who did one mechanical movement on my body and solved that deep pain I was experiencing. After that I got to the root cause of why I was experiencing such debilitating pain...for me it was stress and anxiety. Once I knew it was that I could then turn to different, complementary modalities, to continue with my healing journey.
When I practice Holistic Health Coaching, Nutrition and Healing Hands it is only after getting to the root of the problem and addressing the pain or that persons issue as a whole.
4) Can anyone just decide one day to become a Holistic Health practitioner?
Absolutely not! Like any other profession in the medical field, we have to go to through extensive schooling and training. I have taken courses/classes/certificates in anatomy, pathology, health coaching/counselling, botanical medicine, nutrition, and more. The only difference is regulation. Modern medicine is heavily regulated and rightly so considering the operations, medical conditions such as cancer, and psychological illnesses for example. On average a GP must complete 9-10 years of schooling and residency before they can even become licensed to practice on their own. Many CM professions such as acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chiropractors, Naturopaths etc all have regulatory bodies that they answer to. Healing Hands/ Therapeutic touch takes many years of practice and is also regulated in terms of who can belong to their profession. It is the same for Herbalists. We have extensive knowledge of Pharmacology, biomechanics, and of course how each herb on plant works on and effects the human body. If it were up to me all "medicines" meaning tools and treatments we use to heal the body would be regulated and licensed. We're getting there but it takes time for modern medicine to incorporate the healing potential of these amazing modalities. In the mean time I will continue learning and practicing my craft with love and compassion for my clients.
I hope this blog post helped demystify CAM and what we do. Of course if you have questions for me you can ask away...and if I don't know the answer because I'm not qualified then I'll be referring you to someone who does ;)
Yours in light and love!