June 21st, 2004
L. Daily, OR
Why Your Doctors
The Modern Medical Paradigm
In terms of surgical technique (the cutting apart and repair of the human body) modern medicine has made remarkable advances. In terms of identifying many of the germs that play a role in causing many diseases and improving sanitation to prevent those diseases, once again modern medicine has made remarkable advances. In terms of burns, trauma, and ER's, modern medicine is nothing short of miraculous. But in terms of treating and preventing most disease, particularly the major scourges of the modern era (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s) modern medicine stands an abject failure.
Despite all of the games played with statistics, the numbers are undeniable.
All of the above scourges are modern diseases (at least
in terms of their emergence as epidemics). In the early 1900's,
these diseases were almost unheard of. There is actually a documented
conversation from the beginning of the 20th century in which a
group of doctors was standing around a patient with cancer. "Take
a good look," remarked the senior physician, "for this
is the last time you will see this illness in your lifetime." The
important point to understand is that these diseases are not "natural" and "normal." They
have only appeared en masse in our lifetimes.
Although Modern Medicine likes to trace its roots to Hippocrates, the patron saint of today's doctors, the fact is that the roots of Modern Medicine are sunk much deeper in the Newtonian views of the 17th century when philosophers and scientists defined the universe as a giant machine ruled by physics and math. According to this view of the universe, objects behaved in predictable ways unless acted upon by outside forces. Physicians of that era were not immune to this new paradigm and likewise began to define the human body as a machine that would run smoothly until acted upon by some outside agent. According to this new paradigm, the human body could be analyzed, catalogued, adjusted, and tweaked as required.
This viewpoint became more and more dominant as time went by, until by the 19th century:
The human body was no longer viewed as a holistic entity,
but rather as a grouping of separate parts and pieces.
Unfortunately, the paradigm fails when it comes to disease. Consider:
You have clogged arteries. This eventually causes your blood pressure to rise so your doctor prescribes blood pressure medication to eliminate the symptom -- but not the problem, the clogged arteries. To reduce blood pressure, doctors have essentially four classes of medication.
Diuretics, which reduce pressure by making you pee out water
from your body. Reduce the volume of fluid in the blood, and you
reduce the pressure. Unfortunately, side effects can include dizziness,
weakness, and impotence. (Not to worry, there are medications to
alleviate the side effects.)
But then again, in addition to all of the side effects and complications and dangers of surgery, we are once more presented with a fundamental flaw in your doctor's treatment. If all your doctor did was bypass or clear the arteries supplying blood to your heart, doesn't that mean that all of the other arteries in your body are still clogged -- including the arteries that supply blood to your brain? (You bet it does.) Whoa! Isn't that going to be a problem? Since the arteries are narrowed, won't it be more likely that a small blood clot will get lodged in your brain and cause a stroke?
Absolutely! But that's a different symptom. At this point your doctor once again prescribes another drug to deal with this problem: Coumadin® (medicinal rat poison), which inhibits clotting and thins your blood so that it flows more easily through narrowed arteries.
The bottom line is that the average person 65 years or older in the United States takes between 15-23 (depending on whose statistics you use) drugs prescribed by their doctor and/or purchased over the counter, each and every day of their lives. Only the first 1 or 2 drugs actually deal with the symptoms presented by the original medical problem. The other 13-21 drugs are all required to deal with the negative side effects of the original 2, plus the interactions of all the other drugs they are taking. And the really sad fact is that in over 95% of all cases, the original problem could have been resolved by merely changing diet and lifestyle -- with no side effects.
The Medical Fraternity
None of this would be a problem, except for one fact. And that is, that despite their human frailties and lack of divine insight, they have set themselves up as the ONLY authoritative dispensers of health that we are allowed to use and have incorporated all means at their disposal to prevent any contrary points of view from being heard. Against healers outside of their fraternity, they are particularly ruthless. There are numerous examples, but three stand out.
First, most people are not aware that the AMA was actually
formed to combat homeopathic medicine -- or as stated in the AMA's
original charter, "An enemy who has many strongholds upon
the affection of the people; and one who in many places rivals
us in their esteem."
Lack of information. Many doctors become so busy “practicing” medicine
once they graduate medical school that they no longer have time
to study their art. The net result is that over time they become
ill-informed or misinformed. In fact, for most doctors, their sole
source of information, once they start practicing, is the "party
line" provided by the drug companies (when they are promoting
their drugs, or paying for "peer reviewed" studies that
appear in the leading medical journals) or the sensationalized
reports of studies that appear in newspapers and on TV.
There is so much less science here than you can possibly imagine. The fact is the therapeutic effect of many drugs is, in reality, nothing more than that same drug's primary adverse reaction. No kidding. Just one example is Benadryl, which was originally sold as an antihistamine, but it caused so much drowsiness that it's practically never used as an antihistamine anymore. Never one's to miss an opportunity; the drug companies simply remarketed it as a sleep aid.
Doctors say that many alternative healing procedures and
herbal remedies are dangerous. In fact, less than 5 people die
(theoretically) each year from complications resulting from overdosing
on vitamins or herbal remedies. But if doctors are that concerned
about 5 people who die from herbs each year, they must be absolutely
out of their minds when it comes to the 106,000 (conservatively)
who die from the pharmaceuticals that they prescribe. (I'll bet
Dr. Davis forgot to mention that in his impassioned testimony before
Congress last week.)
Most people have been led to believe that if an alternative therapy really had any value, it would eventually be tested and incorporated by the medical establishment. The only reason you never hear about any alternative therapies for the major diseases from physicians is that they don't work. Right? Not quite.
In 1997, I was involved in creating a new brewing process for herbal tinctures that produced tinctures 100-200% stronger than anything the world had ever seen before. The first tincture produced using this new process was an Echinacea based immune enhancer. Over the next year and a half, we watched as testimonial after testimonial poured in confirming its efficacy. In mid 1998, however, something remarkable happened. A woman with metastasized breast cancer was about to commence chemotherapy treatment. But her doctor was very concerned because, even before starting the treatment, her white cell count was at 2600, about half of normal; and, as her doctor was aware, the chemotherapy itself was likely to drive that count significantly lower. The day after her first chemo treatment, with her oncologist's approval, she began taking this Echinacea formula. In the first two weeks, instead of her white count going down, it went up - from 2600 to 4600. In the next two weeks, it went up to 5200.This represents an astounding 100% improvement in immune function while undergoing chemo.
This was exciting. If these results held up in testing, it would make a significant difference for any patient undergoing chemo and/or radiation therapy, which both tend to devastate the patient's immune system -- making them vulnerable to opportunistic infection. I contacted a number of the major hospitals and clinics around the country (including, Cedars Sinai, Sloan Kettering, Beth Israel, and the Mayo Clinic -- not to mention a number of facilities that had "alternative healing" units) to have them test this formula with their patients. I even offered to pay for the testing. No response. Not easily discouraged, I sent two follow up letters to each of the hospitals and clinics. After three letters to each hospital, the sum total response was one letter from UCLA stating, "I have no interest in receiving any further communication from you unless it contains copies of published peer-reviewed scientific studies (laboratory or clinical)." For a moment, I was confused. I mean, that's why I had contacted the doctor to have him study it. Then the problem became very clear.
As the doctor stated, he would only recognize a "peer-reviewed" study. He, however, was not willing to study it himself; and neither were any of his peers. A potentially powerful, all-natural, safe food-grade complement to traditional cancer therapy had been effectively marginalized and dismissed by the fraternity of medical "superiors" without ever being tested.
Failure to acknowledge the economic pressures that control
I believe that medical doctors are now in a very difficult position. It is as though they are locked in a room with two 800-pound gorillas. One of those gorillas is managed health care, whose sole goal is to restrict the way these doctors practice medicine and to limit the amount of money they make doing it. The other gorilla is alternative health, which has become a multi-billion dollar industry despite the best efforts of the medical community to stop it.
The one thing that I do know is that if you are indeed in a room with two huge gorillas, there is one place you don't want to be -- between them. At some point, you are going to have to get behind one of them...or you will be crushed in the middle. And since, by definition, managed health care is dedicated to crushing the individual doctor, there is only one option. At some point, doctors will have to step in behind supplements and herbs.
So you think, based on Dr. Davis' testimony, that's impossible? Not really. I believe it is inevitable -- and therein lies my greatest fear. I believe that Dr Davis's testimony is not an attempt to eliminate alternative medicine, but a step in the direction of co-opting it -- of turning alternative medicine into another branch of organized medicine, available only by prescription and through their members. If we were talking about business (and with billions of dollars at stake, are we not), we might say that we were witnessing an early salvo in a hostile takeover bid -- a takeover initiated, not by individual doctors (the vast majority of whom really do mean well), but rather by the mob mentality of organized medicine (which truly is hostile to alternative medicine and all who practice it).
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