Not too long ago what the world now knows as Western conventional medicine didn’t exist. While conventional medicine is a newborn compared to the Eastern systems of medicine, several of which have been in use for many thousands of years, its rapid ascension to becoming an internationally recognized standard is worthy of note.
Three advances in particular launched the system as we presently know it to its present orbit: anesthesia, antibiotics and sanitation. As such, it relies heavily on surgical and pharmaceutical interventions. Doctors who practice this system are compensated for treating illness and managing diseases. It is a highly commercialized system with many self-interested stakeholders.
Modern science flourished as a result of Galileo Galilei’s refashioning of the scientific method in the 17th century. Rene Descartes’ philosophy, now called “Cartesianism” also helped set its trajectory, especially its obsession with the intricate details of the mechanics of its interventions. A medicine, for example, is not accepted unless its effect is academically or scientifically understood using current analytical tools.
Proponents of Western conventional medicine have typically had a hard time accepting evidence-based interventions, that is, techniques or therapies which prove useful clinically, until their underlying mechanics are well-understood and mapped out in excruciating detail. This is in stark contrast to the ancient Eastern systems, which accommodate techniques and therapies that prove to be effective clinically, even if how they work is not yet (or ever!) understood.
Because of this bias, Western conventional medicine has discarded many therapies which have proven useful and safe through thousands of years of clinical use. The rejection of these interventions is uncharacteristically unscientific and usually comes in the form of derisive and emotionally-charged quips. For example, medical systems like herbalism, homeopathy and Traditional Chinese Medicine are dismissed as nonsense, unfounded and unproven despite the mountains of clinically generated evidence which point to their effectiveness in both disease management and healthy maintenance.
I envision a new system which transcends the limitations of our present approach, one that:
1. Honors unequivocally the doctor-patient relationship
2. Sees symptoms as an expression of the body’s current attempt to restore balance and is therefore primarily non-suppressive in nature
3. Accepts time-tested interventions as valid without demanding comprehension as a prerequisite to their inclusion
4. Works with the physics (or energetic nature) of the body first and its biochemistry second
5. Recognizes the dynamic nature of the body and prescribes, for example, pharmaceutics (chemical, botanical, mineral, etc.) for no more than three days at a time
6. Educates patients to greater self-awareness