Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Innate Healing and Naturopathic Philosophy

Once again, I was out on the town in Cambridge this past weekend visiting a local health food store. I enjoy these opportunities to talk to customers about their health and the potential for healing, often supported by the available herbs, homeopathics, and supplements. I am frequently amazed and sometimes impressed, by the customers own grasp of health and healing. And then there are the times I am amazed and not so impressed. This weekend provided a bit of both.
There was a woman that was in the store and we began to discuss her recently broken arm. She had fallen three weeks earlier and shattered her wrist. I am not sure which bones, but she said she required plates and the doctors were recommending that she attend physical therapy to support healing so that she would have continued use of the arm. She did not want to go, instead preferring to allow the body to heal itself. She shared her belief that the body should heal itself if given the right foods and listening to your internal instincts. She asked me what I thought.
I expressed my concern that fibrosis and adhesions that can form during the healing process can severely limit future use. It is not advisable to leave an injury totally immobile. I would use homeopathics and hydrotherapy in addition to the physical therapy to help facilitate the healing process in the body.
This answer was totally unacceptable to her. I was accused of being to "western" in my medical beliefs. When I tried to elaborate on Naturopathic philosophy, I believe she directed an expletive toward me and then walked off to allow her wrist to fibrosis as she wanted.
I am not sure what she wanted to hear. But I am sorry that we couldn't meet somewhere in the middle. I respect her desire to allow the body its own healing process. I too, desire to allow the body its own healing process. But as a Naturopathic Doctor, I believe we can support and enhance these actions with specifically selected treatments. The body does have an innate ability to right imbalance. We are striving constantly towards a state of equilibrium. I guess we could sit back and expect this all to happen despite the influences that are beyond our control. Or, we can make those little changes, do those little things to make it that much easier for the process to happen. Would using alternating hydrotherpy, hot and cold baths, to support circulation to an inflamed tissue area be an acceptable treatment? For me and the vast majority of my patients, Yes. But for the woman in the health food store this past weekend it would be too much.
I hope she heals well and finds the support she is seeking to validate her beliefs. I feel fortunate to already be comfortable with my healing philosophy and to share those beliefs with patients that are willing to pursue their own ideals.

1 comment:

The Cissells said...

It is interesting how passionate people are in their beliefs on healing and medical care. It seems that some are drawn completely to one side or the other (no intervention or too much intervention) but I guess that is true of anything. I just wish that people would be more in tune with the voice inside them that helps to discern what is right for them. That voice is usually somewhere in the middle. And usually reasonable.