THE ROLE OF THE HEALTH CARE PROVIDER from Carrers in Alternative Medicine by Alan Steinfeld
Healing is an art because it is a subjective practice. No method works for everyone. A practitioner skilled in a particular modality sees each person differently. If you consult a practitioner of Chinese medicine about edema (retention of fluids), one practitioner may find that the source is in the spleen. Another who has studied the same system might find the cause in the kidney or the lungs. In the healing arts, both diagnoses can be correct. Both of these practitioners, if they are good, will treat you effectively and your edema will disappear, even though their diagnoses differ. Their aim of wellness and balance is the same.
How can this be? The answer lies in the basic approach of the healing arts which involves examining and treating the whole person from a subjective point of view rather than fixing the symptoms with some prescribed formula. Quantum physics has shown that the presence of the observer changes the outcome of an experiment, suggesting that no truly objective view of the world is possible. Therefore no two therapists will treat anyone in exactly the same way. Every acupuncturist, massage therapist, and chiropractor will follow his or her own methods for achieving the same results of good health. A good practitioner will bring about healing if possible and will also recognize the limits of his or her method in treating a patient.
If you choose to become a health care provider you will be engaging in a career in which your role as an educator will be vital. You will be responsible for telling people about their bodies-how they function and react-as well as instructing patients on how to take better care of, and gain a better understanding of themselves.
It will be up to you to educate the patient about the nature and meaning of an illness and the possibilities of changing patterns in his or her lifestyle that may have led up to the condition. This method of health care is in fact very similar to the original use of the term "doctor," which comes from the Latin word docere, meaning "to teach."
Helping someone heal means pointing out any behavior that may be getting in the way of a healthier life. In most cases, some change is needed to help a person heal. This change can be in behavior or movements, internal or external. However, people may be resistant to change. A person with a chronic sore throat due to smoking may have a difficult time quitting smoking. Ideally, a therapist will empower people to make healthy changes in their lives. But people themselves must be willing to change.
Gary F. Gordon, cofounder of the American College for Advancement in Medicine, said: "I encourage people to learn to become their own doctors . . . and realize we can learn something from everyone."
Our Planet, Ourselves
Hazel Parcell, the grand dame of alternative medicine, influenced many alternative medicine pioneers, such as Bernard Jensen and Hannah Kruger. Parcell's work intimately connected people to the planet. She said it better than anyone: “Air, water and soil contamination lowers the life force of the planet and therefore of the human species. Since we are the earth, abuse of the planet's delicate ecosystems is tantamount to species suicide. A depressed planet produces depressed people….not only on the psychological level but the physical and spiritual realms as well. Physically we are most of the time only ‘half-healthy’ because the planetary life from which we draw our health has been compromised.”
Alternative holistic medicine reminds us that our bodies are creations of the natural world around us. o live healthy we must live in a harmony with the natural environment around us. For this reason we need to take care of the earth as if it is a natural extension of our bodies. Our individual bodies are microcosmic models of the planet.
In the early 1970’s two scientists, Lynn Margulis and James Lovelock came up some thing called the Gaia theory. Gaia is ancient Greek for Earth. They proclaimed the Earth is a living, breathing being. This idea is one most native religions had long time ago. She, the Earth, has a respiratory system, the atmosphere; a circulatory system which are the oceans and rivers; and a skeletal system, which are its landmasses. Humanity as a species constitute the self-reflecting nervous system interacting with earth and the cosmos.
For some practioners, any holistic approach to healing must include the very thing that has given us life, the earth.
The Native American leader Chief Seattle knew this when in 1853 he was asked to sell his people’s land to the federal government. His reply was:
“The earth does not belong to us.
We belong to the Earth.
This we know;
All things are connected like the blood which
unites one family…
Whatever we do to the Earth we do to ourselves.”