Here’s Why We Should Look To Eastern Practices To Fix The System
Think of someone you know who’s been in and out of an American hospital.
Odds are, they received some sort of treatment involving a drug prescription that may not have made them feel better at all. Or maybe the drug helped them in the short-term but did nothing to cure their actual illness.
This is due, in part, to American drug companies’ involvement in every aspect of the healthcare system, and they make unfathomable amounts of money keeping people unwell.
It may sound woo-woo, but the secret to health actually lies in our understanding, or lack thereof, of Qi energy, which is translated as “vital energy.”
Qi embraces all manifestations of energy, from the most material aspects — the earth beneath your feet, your flesh and blood, and even your computer — to the most immaterial: light, movement, heat, nerve impulses, thought, and emotion.
Eastern practices focused on vitality and Qi energy are actually much more adept at providing long-term health solutions — they don’t involve keeping patients hooked on morphine. Overworked American doctors could benefit from looking into treatments that are considered “alternative” in the West, but are very much standard protocol in the East. It goes without saying that the patients would too.
Don’t knock the concept just because you haven’t heard of it before. There’s a reason for this — and it’s because big pharma is financially invested in keeping you hooked on their toxic medications.
Here’s why the Western medical community needs to rethink its approach to healing:
Patients are hooked on drugs and not getting better.
Early in my career, when I was interning at the UCLA Pain Medicine Center, it was standard practice to put critically ill patients on morphine. I asked the head doctor whether there was another option other than just drugging everyone into oblivion.
He told me the best we could do was to help them die as painlessly as possible.
I was shocked. I took a good, long look at myself, and thought about what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t necessarily have the answer then but I knew I didn’t want to wind up like that doctor — depressed and powerless to help my patients. So I decided to walk away.
I found a tai chi teacher, and within the course of an hour or so of practice, I felt the vibrancy of life coursing through my veins.
I realized this is health. Not sterile hospital corridors and a never-ending supply of morphine patches. Feeling the health energy in my hands was a major turning point.
The way our healthcare system is set up right now has essentially turned our doctors into drug pushers.
The pharmaceutical industry spends roughly $5 billion annually on marketing, which is more than $8,000 per physician. And recognizing the formative nature of medical school, pharmaceutical companies start early by targeting medical students, doling out free meals, textbooks, and even drug samples. By the time they’re ready to practice, doctors are essentially pharmaceutical salespeople themselves.
This model isn’t working. People are sicker than ever. And doctors are missing out on major opportunities to help people live healthy lives.
Conventional medicine has outgrown its usefulness.
Modern healthcare in the western world is still based on allopathy, or the “battlefield” treatment of ailments with drugs.
Allopathy rose to prominence during World War I. Faced with the choice between of (1) amputating the soldier’s leg to keep him alive; or (2) patching him up momentarily so he can get back on the battlefield — doctors chose the latter. Penicillin made this sustainable, and we ultimately won the war.
But battlefield tactics belong on the battlefield. They’re terrible at fighting diseases. In fact, allopathic medicine has done much more harm than good. Chronic disease, for instance, has risen sharply over the years.
The reason everyone is sick and dying is that doctors are looking at things through the narrow battlefield lens. Instead of treating the body’s functions, they’re putting a band-aid on the skin — leaving the baseline issue untreated.
If we want to start getting to the core of our current health crisis, doctors need to take a more vitalistic approach.
The ancients had it right.
Ancient forms of medicine up until the mid-20th century were predicated on vitalism, or the idea is that life is governed by forces beyond the physical self.
Vitalism recognizes that the spiritual, psychological, functional, and structural aspects of a live being are all interconnected and that to treat an individual you must treat all aspects, including environmental and external factors.
The notion of vitalism dates back to ancient Egypt when doctors figured out that the body functions best when all its components are brought into harmony. Ancients stressed the importance of a dynamic equilibrium between the anatomical systems, referred to as homeostasis. But by 1931 — when drugs and surgery took off — vitalism was essentially abandoned by Western science.
It is still very much alive, however, in the Eastern world.
According to Chinese medicine, which is based on Qi, life is simply a gathering of Qi. It is in a state of flux, transforming endlessly from one form to another, neither created nor destroyed. Qi moves between the organs and within the body and dictates the flow of blood, in turn, building resilience so that the system is stronger in fighting disease and toxins.
Essentially, healthy Qi allows the body to run as it’s meant to.
With disease on the rise, the Western world is beginning to come back around to vitalism.
Patients and doctors alike are getting fed up with the status quo.
The patients aren’t getting better, and doctors can’t help them. They’re short on time and get browbeaten for suggesting any treatment method that sounds unconventional. There’s a lot of shame in the medical profession, and very little room to be open-minded.
But that’s changing.
The younger generation of doctors is asking themselves how many times they can go to work without seeing results before something gives. And they’re starting to look outside the box. They’re asking dangerous questions, and they’re the ones that are going to break the model.
Europe, in particular, is becoming increasingly reliant on homeopathy, which is rooted in vitalistic thinking.
Roughly 29% of EU’s citizens use homeopathic medication on a daily basis. In fact, homeopathy is now included in Switzerland’s national health system, in addition to the healthcare system’s of other non-European countries like Brazil, Chile, India, Mexico, and Pakistan.
In the U.S., however, the National Institute of Health reports that homeopathy is mostly restricted to “self-care.”
There’s still a long way to go in terms of generating awareness and open-mindedness in the U.S. medical community, but if we can refrain from falling into political, campy judgments about things we don’t understand, our entire approach to medicine will change for the better.
Our lives depend on it.