Recently, many of my patients have been coming into my office complaining about western medicine. I’ve had several patients misdiagnosed, mistreated and overmedicated. They’ve been told not to change their diets, that any other form of medicine is quackery and worst of all, that the condition they have is what they are stuck with for the rest of their lives.
Now, in some cases, this could be true. Diabetes is a condition that never really goes away, but with proper diet and exercise it can be managed so that you never have any of the side effects of it. I do not blame the MD’s for the way they are with patients, it’s the way they have been trained.
I’ve spoken with many MD’s, mostly the ones that have decided to learn Acupuncture to use it in conjunction with Western Medicine.
They all say the same thing, they are not taught about alternative ways of treating patients in medical school. Many times they are taught only about the drugs they should be prescribing and sometimes they even have a quota of medications they are supposed to prescribe per month.
Often times, MD’s are spread too thin, there are just not enough of them out there anymore! A friend of mine has been in practice for over 30 years and he is affiliated with a local hospital. He told me when he first started he had 30 minutes with each patient. It allowed him time to talk to each patient and get to know them and really look into their condition.
Now, the hospital requires they see a patient every 10 minutes. This means that someone else has to do their vitals and find out whats going on so the MD can spend as little time as possible in the room. This will ensure he can complete the paperwork in time or he will have to stay late and finish it at the end of the day. I have no doubt in my mind that western medical doctors are overworked. As someone who spends a lot of time in hospitals, doctors and nurses alike are spread extremely thin. They work crazy hours and, in my opinion, do not make the money they deserve.
Lastly, understanding how much time it takes to acquire the knowledge and deep understanding of medicine to become a doctor is incredible. While studying Acupuncture in school I was required to learn western medicine along with eastern medicine so as an acupuncturist I can properly diagnose a patient or know when to refer them to another doctor. Let me be honest, I probably do not remember as much as I should about sickness and disease. I try to read up on different medical texts every month just to keep my knowledge up to date. Doctors, especially the ones you find at places like “ER DOCs” are required to know a huge variety of medical conditions because almost anything can walk through that door. I know when they call an ambulance I’ve seen everything from GI issues to children with cardiac issues to stroke. If I had to remember every symptom I might misdiagnose someone too!
In Defense of Eastern Medicine
Now, in defense of Eastern medicine, it really does work. I’ve had several MD’s tell me they “believe in Acupuncture.” Acupuncture is not a religion, it is not something you can believe in. it is a medicine that has proven time and time again that it works. Most people aren’t aware that Eastern Medicine has been around much longer than western medicine and while I know that both work, I truly believe there is a place in this world for both types of medicine.
Eastern medicine works slowly. This is something that people in the modern world struggle with, and it’s something that I’ve gotten a lot of attitude from MD’s about. “You should check to see what works faster, medication or acupuncture with herbs”. I know medication will work faster, but there are some people, like myself, that do not want chemicals in their body. It might take longer to feel better, but in the long run I would rather my body help me fight the disease than have to deal with the side effects of the medications. Or have my body no longer be able to fight off illness on its own because it has become immune to different drugs and diseases.
Last year I had a 13-month-old in my office with an ear infection. I could tell the child was uncomfortable and I asked the parents several times if they would prefer to take him to an MD to get antibiotics. “He’s been on antibiotics for this 3 times already, if you think he can handle it I’d like to try acupuncture instead.” I treated the child. I had him in my office 3 times in one week and each time he seemed to be getting better. Finally, after about a week the parents said he was infection free and he was off playing. He now comes back once a month for a “tune up treatment” and he has been ear infection free for over a year now.
I had a woman come in last November and tell me that her doctor told her she had high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes and he said that she would be on medication for the rest of her life. She came in my office crying about all the medications she was on and all the side effects that were affecting her daily life. We spent a few weeks changing her diet and getting acupuncture treatments and she is off 1/3 of her medications today and the last medication is reduced so low she expects to be off it within the next few months.
Acupuncture is a preventative medicine with the mindset to prevent disease instead of treating disease, where as western medicine is the complete opposite. “Why fix something that isn’t broken” was something one of my patients asked me when I told him I recommend he come in for monthly “tune up” treatments to prevent it from happening again.” I responded, “Wouldn’t you rather stay out of pain instead of getting in pain again and having to come here more often to get yourself feeling better?” He agreed. He said he never thought of medicine like that. My job is to make sure you stay healthy, that’s why I recommend diet changes and monthly tune up treatments. Western medicine, while it can be preventative in the fact that they have tests to check for certain illnesses before they happen, more approaches health as something you don’t fix until it’s broken.
I truly believe in my heart of hearts that there is a place in society for both eastern and western medicine. I don’t bash western medicine and I hope that western medical practitioners don’t bash eastern medicine. I can’t reset bones, but I can get someone out of pain without the use of addicting opioids. If we work together there is better chance that we can get people feeling good for longer.