You’re looking for an answer such as, “Yes, I combine the best of Eastern and Western medicine to treat the whole patient.” Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to hear it.
While relatively few U.S. physicians integrate East and West, it’s a growing trend among the most enlightened doctors. And the results are promising.
“Combining conventional and alternative healing techniques is not a lion and a lamb relationship,” says John Glaspy, M.D., director of the Women’s Cancers Program at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, in a UCLA health newsletter. “It is two lions working in cooperation with each other for the benefit of the patient.”
At UCLA, cancer specialists attack the malignancy while adding Eastern influences (such as herbal therapies, dietary supplements and mind/body techniques) to strengthen the patient’s tolerance of conventional treatments. The priority thus goes beyond managing symptoms and minimizing side effects to include maintaining overall good physical health as soon as possible, for as long as possible.
The marriage of Eastern and Western medicine applies to other ailments such as allergies. In the March/April 2009 issue of WebMD magazine, allergist Jordan Josephson, M.D., says, “Eastern and Western medicine are joining forces. So now, irrigation with neti pots and hydrating irrigating units (devices that deliver pulses of drug-free irrigation solution) and squeeze bottles are becoming more mainstream.”
To treat depression, Western practitioners typically prescribe anti-depressants along with talk therapy. This may relieve early symptoms, but holistic therapy from the East goes further by exploring the connections among the mind, body and spirit. In the Eastern model, the rest of the body will suffer if any one element is out of sync. For instance, someone with chronic pain may suffer from depression. Blending East and West, a doctor might use acupuncture, herbal medicines, Reiki and meditation along with antidepressants and therapy.