Author's Perspective: During my early workshops about diabetes and alternative medicine, some doctors were surprised that I supported Western Medicine and included a chapter in my book about doctor appointments and working with your doctor.
Just as there are things that Alternative Medicine does well, there are things that Western Medicine does well also , e.g. diagnostic tests, blood tests, surgeries for broken bones, handling trauma scenarios, etc.
So, it doesn't make sense to completely ignore Western Medicine. Instead, the key is to take full advantage of what Western Medicine does well (e.g. medical testing) while avoiding what it does not do well (e.g. nutrition recommendations).
Western Medicine is organized around the Theory of Diseases, which believes that a person becomes sick because he or she contracts a disease. In this model, each disease or health problem is seen as an independent entity which can be fully understood without regard to the person it afflicts or the environment in which it occurs.
Consequently, a person with type 2 diabetes is seen as a person with multiple diseases and health problems, e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, increased blood viscosity (blood clots), obesity, etc..
And, because of this, this person is treated with multiple drugs, at least one drug for each disease and health problem. As a result, most people with diabetes end up taking a minimum of 3-5 drugs and as many as 12-16 pills a day!
Western Medicine manages the treatments of diseases by offering two (2) primary options as their solutions to your diseases: (1) drugs, and (2) surgery.
Most of the drugs employed in Western medicine are designed to act as chemical strait jackets, preventing the cells of the body from performing some function that has become hyperactive. Most of the surgeries are designed to try to fix a biochemical problem with a physical tool set.
The side effects of these drugs and surgeries are a direct extension of their actions and may be fatal. A Harvard research team concluded that more than 180,000 Americans are killed in hospitals by their doctors every year.
Most of these deaths occur because doctors prescribe drugs without paying attention to the special characteristics of the person for whom the drugs are prescribed.
Key Point: This doesn't mean that we should completely ignore the use of drugs! Drugs serve a major function, especially in acute, life-threatening situations. For example, in the author's case, the use of drugs such as insulin and heparin saved his life.
Alternative Medicine, on the other hand, is organized around the Theory of Wellness, which believes that the human body is always trying to achieve a state of homeostasis or wellness.
In most cases, Alternative Medicine sees a patient's multiple diseases as one disease with multiple side issues. For example, a person dealing with Type 2 diabetes, obesity, chronic fatigue, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are all part of the same problem!
So, instead of focusing on how to treat 5 or 6 problems, you focus on the best way to get healthy. This is why it's so important to understand the root causes and the biological processes that fuel each disease and health problem.
For example, the Death to Diabetes Program recognizes that chronic inflammation fuels Type 2 diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. So, instead of trying to fix 3 problems, you focus on solving the root cause, e.g. chronic inflammation, to facilitate the body's natural healing and repair processes. As a result, the Death to Diabetes book, DTD Juicing book and Autoimmune Diseases book can be used to address multiple health issues.
If the body is unable to initiate its natural healing and repair processes, then, in most cases (excluding physical injury, like a broke leg), it's because the body is lacking some key macronutrient and/or micronutrients, e. g. Omega-3 fat, chromium, magnesium, Vitamin D.
This is why nutritional therapy is key to dealing with most diseases, which are lifestyle-driven. Consequently, a plant-based nutritional program that is focused on dealing with the specific nutritional deficiencies is key to defeating most systemic diseases.
Alternative Medicine provides many options, based on the person's specific health needs to address their health problems. Examples of Alternative Medicine include:
- Chinese Traditional Medicine or Oriental Medicine
- Nutritional Therapy
- Juicing Therapy
- Nutritional Supplementation
- Detox Therapy
- Functional Medicine
- Herbal Therapy
- Holistic Medicine
- Massage Therapy
- Integrative Medicine (combo of Alternative and Western Medicine)
- Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
Note: But, not all of these alternative methods will help you in successfully fighting your diabetes. The most effective ones include Nutritional Therapy, Juicing Therapy, Detox Therapy (Targeted), Functional Medicine, Herbal Therapy, Naturopathy, Integrative Medicine, and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).
Alternative Medicine does not offer drugs as a primary solution to most diseases, because most diseases are due to a nutritional deficiency or biochemical/hormonal imbalance of some kind.
All alternative systems of healing, ancient or modern, share one common characteristic which separates them from conventional Western medicine. They all approach sickness as a dynamic event in the life of an individual, a problem of balance and relationship, the result of disharmony between the sick person and his or her environment.
The language which describes them may be magical or naturalistic, but the diagnostic and therapeutic focus is always on the person who is ill and the context in which the illness occurs, rather than on the disease itself.
Note: In general, a naturopathic physician will look at you from a holistic perspective, seeking the underlying causes of your illness, rather than elimination of symptoms. Likely you will spend more time with the naturopathic physician, exploring issues of lifestyle, history, diet, etc. A naturopathic physician will search first for the least intrusive methods of treatment with the lowest risk of side effects. You'll be encouraged to become a partner in your health care, actively making decisions with the guidance of your physician.
Integrated Medicine (or Integrative Medicine) uses the best from both Western Medicine and Alternative Medicine. Integrated Medicine perceives illness biographically and at the same time uses the powerful database of modern biological and behavioral science to help describe the varied disharmonies which undermine the health of each individual.
These disturbances originate, almost entirely, with dietary, environmental or social conditions. Although the media are full of stories about "cancer genes", for example, the scientific evidence is that greater than 90% of cancers are environmentally induced.
When identical twins are reared in separate environments, the rate at which each twin develops cancer is comparable to the cancer rate in the adoptive family, not the biological family. The publicity accorded to "cancer genes" serves to cripple individual initiatives at cancer prevention and to displace scrutiny from cancer's environmental and dietary triggers.
Integrated Medicine exists to empower you to improve your health by improving your four pillars of healing:
- Nutrition/Dietary/Lifestyle: Nutrition, habits, and the daily pattern of rest and exercise.
- Environment: Protection from chemical and biological toxins.
- Detoxification: The body’s ability to self-purify and protect itself from internal toxicity.
- Interpersonal Relationships: The social support network: family, friends, involvement in community, and a strong-patient alliance.
Integrated Medicine couples the latest scientific advances with the most profound insights of ancient healing systems, giving you the best ways to preserve health, increase longevity and speed recovery from illness.
The six dimensions of the Wellness Wheel went beyond the four pillars of Integrative Medicine to provide a better resolution of what entails holistic wellness.
Recently, the six dimensions of the Wellness Wheel were expanded to eight dimensions to provide even better resolution of holistic wellness (see diagram below).
This expansion is done in order to provide better resolution and clarity so that you can better understand how to achieve optimum wellness and happiness.
Note: The Death to Diabetes Wellness Program is one of the few programs in the United States that addresses all 8 elements of the wellness wheel as well as the 4 pillars of integrative medicine.
Wellness is much more than merely physical health, exercise or nutrition. The complete definition of wellness is the full integration of eight dimensions that go beyond the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Each of these eight dimensions act and interact in a way that contributes to our overall wellness and quality of life.
Physical Wellness is the ability to maintain a healthy quality of life that allows us to get through our daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress. The ability to recognize that our behaviors have a significant impact on our wellness and adopting healthful habits (routine check ups, a balanced diet, exercise, etc.) while avoiding destructive habits (fast food, tobacco, drugs, alcohol, etc.) will lead to optimal Physical Wellness.
Emotional Wellness is the ability to understand ourselves and cope with the challenges life can bring. The ability to acknowledge and share feelings of anger, fear, sadness or stress; hope, love, joy and happiness in a productive manner contributes to our Emotional Wellness.
Intellectual Wellness is the ability to open our minds to new ideas and experiences that can be applied to personal decisions, group interaction and community betterment. The desire to learn new concepts, improve skills and seek challenges in pursuit of lifelong learning contributes to our Intellectual Wellness.
Spiritual Wellness is a personal matter involving values and beliefs that provide a purpose in our lives. While different individuals may have different views of what spiritualism is, it is generally considered to be the search for meaning and purpose in human existence, leading one to strive for a state of harmony with oneself and others while working to balance inner needs with the rest of the world. Being open to different cultures, religions, and spiritual philosophies contributes to our Spiritual Wellness.
Social Wellness is the ability to relate to and connect with other people in our community and the world and being comfortable with and liking yourself as a person. Our ability to establish and maintain positive relationships with family, friends and co-workers contributes to our Social Wellness.
Occupational Wellness is the ability to get personal fulfillment from our jobs or our chosen career fields while still maintaining balance in our lives. Our desire to contribute in our careers to make a positive impact on the organizations we work in and to society as a whole leads to Occupational Wellness.
Environmental Wellness is the ability to recognize our own responsibility for the quality of the air, the water and the land that surrounds us. The ability to make a positive impact on the quality of our environment, be it our homes, our communities or our planet contributes to our Environmental Wellness.
Financial Wellness is the ability to recognize that we must be knowledgeable and responsible for our financial decisions because they directly impact our quality of life. It would be nice if we didn't have to rely on money to live, but, in today's world, that is almost impossible to do. Saving, investing, understanding insurance, buying a home, leveraging credit cards,avoiding debt, living within or below our means, and entrepreneurship are some of the keys to achieving Financial Wellness.
Note: Most wellness wheels do not include a Financial component because it is usually included within the Occupational dimension.
Note: There are other dimensions, that are the result of combining two or more dimensions. For example, Cultural Wellness is a combination of Spiritual Wellness and Social Wellness.
Note: You can see that the Death to Diabetes Wellness Program is a complete program because it utilizes all eight dimensions of the Wellness Wheel. In addition, the Death to Diabetes Wellness Program utilizes all four pillars of Integrative Medicine, including how to strengthen the immune system to defend your body against most diseases.
Key Point: Don't assume that just because a healthcare professional is involved in alternative medicine that they can help you with your diabetes! Most of the following alternative healthcare professionals are ill-equipped to help you with your diabetes: dietitians, nutritionists, diabetes educators, chiropractors, herbalists, wellness consultants, holistic practitioners, acupuncturists, naturopathic doctors, etc. Ensure that the person has the science background in diabetes pathology and nutrition by interviewing the person before you give up any of your money! Be wary if they offer a guarantee but require full payment!
Note: For more information about alternative medicine, refer to the Death to Diabetes Blog posts about Alternative Medicine and Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
If you want to gain a better understanding of the science of diabetes as well as the science of nutrition, then, get the author's Science of Diabetes & Nutrition booklet.
If you want to use your knowledge of Alternative Medicine to help others in your family, church or community, then, take a look at the author's health coaching and training program.
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