Thursday, September 4, 2008

A holistic approach to health in Sudbury. (Part 2)

In Sudbury and throughout Canada we need a more holistic approach to health care, one which examines and assesses the whole person (something that cannot be done in a short 15 min visit to your doctor’s office because they have a patient overload). Part of this holistic approach would be to create a system that includes both Allopathic and Alternative/Natural medicine. Both forms of medicine work together, not against each other. The combination of these two valid and well-researched medical systems is known as Integrative Medicine. “It’s becoming increasingly evident that complementary and alternative medicine can play a role in better health.” (Mayo Clinic, Book of Alternative Medicine, 2007) This system would work together by providing a holistic approach to medical care by taking into consideration the whole person (body, mind, and soul). Not seeing the patient as a person with a symptom that needs to be treated but looking at the person as a whole and finding out why the person is ill and going back to the source of the imbalance. It is up to the Health care practitioner to find out the reason behind this discrepancy and not just to use a "band-aid" solution by prescribing pills to mask the symptoms. In other words: cure the disease instead of the symptoms. This should be the focus of our publicly funded healthcare system.

In an Integrative Medical System, Health Care Practitioners would use natural and gentler approaches to illness instead of using harsher and invasive approaches with side effects as the first step. For example, when one uses herbs there are usually less side effects due to the fact that the plant constituents are used synergistically and are in a natural form that the body is able to manage and absorb as apposed to pharmaceuticals which use only one active ingredient from a plant source or a variety of active ingredients from different plants that have been reproduced in a synthetic form thus making it harsher and unnatural in the body and harder on the body’s organs. Each herb will contain other constituents (active ingredients) that will reverse the side effects or severity of the main active ingredients; this is how they work together. The other constituents will also make the main active ingredients more effective (some herbs can contain up to a 1000 constituents in one single plant). This also explains why some studies done on herbs detect side effects while other studies do not. Most scientists will test the herb for its side effects and effectiveness in the same manner they would with a pharmaceutical by studying the one component or active ingredient (constituent), when this is done they are more likely to detect it as being ineffective in treatment or having severe side effects. Since the active ingredients (constituents) in an herbs work together as described above the herb therefore should be studied and tested in its natural form with all active ingredients being taken into effect, when studies like this are done the results are more accurate and show the real effects of the herb. Only when a patient's condition becomes worse or there is no improvement then the use of pharmaceuticals or surgery should be used. Should a person require immediate intervention then allopathic medicine would be used instead of Alternative medicine, as immediate results are needed to stabilize the patient i.e. when a person is having an analphaletic shock due to an allergy, Allopathic care is needed, as holistic care would not work fast enough in this emergency situation.
This system of medicine would also primarily focus on preventative medicine to prevent the above situations and save on health care dollars and long lines in the waiting rooms of Sudbury. By teaching their patients how to eat well, exercise and manage stress they would be saving billions of health care dollars on more expensive and invasive treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy as publicly-funded holistic approach to healthcare will decrease the need for these treatments.

Dana Clark
Organization Chair, Sudbury Federal Green Party Association
Secretary, Sudbury Green Party of Ontario Constituency Association.

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