History and Origin of Alternative Medicine
Chapter Six – Excerpt from ‘Urinalysis, Alkalinity & Well-Being’ by Dr Kenzo Amariyo
“Alternative Medicine was never meant to be a literal alternative to Orthodox Medicine, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be. It was and remains to be a somewhat misunderstood term for a medicine that can happily abide alongside Orthodox medicine.
Every time we take a hot bath because of aching muscles, we are using Alternative Medicine. Every time we drink medicinal herbal tea or take herbal supplements, we are using Alternative Medicine. That heat pack, that cold pack, that rubbing of the dock leaf on the nettle sting, the vinegar on the insect bite, the ice pack on the swollen foot, the Tiger Balm on those aching muscles, essential oils whether in creams, sprays or ointments, the warm water with lemon to aid with cleansing, choosing to eat the HV way or the Alkalising way, these are all forms of Alternative Medicine yet we so often don’t stop to think about what form of medicine we are using.
The truth is Alternative Medicine has been around for as long as one can remember in one form or another. It was here before Orthodox Medicine, and that is a fact and no-one can dispute that. Alternative and Orthodox Medicine need to be treated as equal, they need to move together, they need to synchronise and be in harmony with each other in order to offer the best health care possible.
One major difference between the two medicinal ways is that Alternative Medicine becomes a part of your life. It becomes a daily medicine whether through food, supplements, yoga, or even Pranic breathing. It becomes a way of life in order to help your body to remain fit and healthy; its main aim is that of preventative rather than cure. However, it is accepted that there are times when prevention hasn’t worked and a cure is necessary.
Alternative Medicine is an approach to life, an approach where ‘Let thy food be thy medicine’ comes into its own. It is a way of living and remembering that prevention will always be better than cure, and although the alternative way is often considered the best way by many, it must be remembered that it is not the only way, but it is a way where we can choose to live an ALTER–NATIVE medicinal life. In other words where we can change or alter the native, the natural, the indigenous characteristics or aspects of our being, which also refers to our spiritual being not just our physical or even cultural being.
Altering the Native
If we look a little further to the deeper meaning of the word alternative, we will see:
Alter – Meaning a change in character or composition, typically in a comparatively small but significant way.
Synonyms: change, make changes to, make different, make alterations to, adjust, make adjustments, to adapt, amend, improve – THE NATIVE
Native – Referring to or in relation to:
Synonyms: innate, inherent, inborn, intrinsic, instinctive, instinctual, intuitive, natural-born, deep-rooted, deep-seated, hereditary, inherited, in the blood, in the family, natal, congenital, bred in the bone, ingrained, built-in.
So what we can see from this is that Alternative Medicine is about taking the opportunity to alter-(the)-native through medicine, in this case natural medicine in one form or another. So once again, Alternative Medicine is where we can change or alter the native, the natural, the indigenous characteristics or aspects of our being, good or bad. This also refers to our spiritual being not just our physical or even cultural being, and we can do so via medicine, Natural Medicine; also known as Traditional Medicine, Indigenous Medicine, Complementary Medicine, Holistic Medicine and of course, Alternative Medicine.
The Term Alternative Medicine
The term Alternative Medicine was never a misplaced unfortunate name; it is an awakening medicine. Alternative Medicine has a spiritual nature, where we can look after our whole being, body, mind and spirit. We could ask why then, if Alternative Medicine is so great, does it appear to not work in many situations?
My answer would simply be because we often wait until we are already sick, or too sick, already in a diseased state before we decide to make changes. Remember, it is here to be adopted as a way of life, a way of being, not to be applied as a band-aid, although many times it still works well as a band-aid.
Alternative Medicine can’t replace those parts of you that are permanently damaged or removed. It can only assist in the healing of what is left. Even if you believe in miracles, even miracles have to follow a spiritual lineage of cause and effect. It is said that Jesus created miracles and I do not doubt it at all, but he didn’t do it by some magical trick. He did it by working with the universal laws of nature, the universal laws of cause and effect, Divine laws and we also should adopt an attitude of natural law.
We must be brave and step out of our preconceived ideas of being merely a physical being and step into reality, into the reality of Alternative Medicine where one starts to realise, to comprehend and internalise the concept of wholeness. The world is one, our world is one and together we make the one. 1 + 1 does not make two; that is mathematics on a physical level; on a spiritual level, 1 + 1 = 1, a greater sum of its parts, every one drop of the ocean when separated, becomes individual drops of the same ocean, when added together those same individual drops make just one ocean – not many oceans.
We are multi-facet beings and we must look to heal our whole being not just one or two aspects. We need to heal the whole in order to be whole and it is as simple as that.”
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The Holistic Philosophy of Alternative Medicine
The philosophy of Alternative Medicine is and always has been about taking a holistic approach, not only to the individual but also to life in general. Holistic Medicine is a concept that involves preventative and therapeutic medicine that emphasises the importance of the whole person, the whole being. Yet, as I say that, in regards to Orthodox Medicine and even some Alternative Medicine practitioners, the holistic approach often only includes the body, mind, emotions and environment. Sadly, the spiritual aspect is often neglected. From an Alternative Medicine perspective, holistic medicine should look after the entire being, including the spiritual. It should look at the person as a whole as opposed to looking at individual functions or organs.
Holistic Medicine encourages the empowerment of the individual towards self-care, self-healing and self-respect. It harnesses the power of natural substances such as plants and oils, as well as many other therapeutic practices which include those practices that are based in the spiritual realm of life.
All around the world we will find many different natural therapies, some of which we may never have heard of, others that are popular to that specific time or place and many others that are known worldwide. The field of Alternative Medicine is growing and will continue to grow.
Alternative Medicine Around the World
Alternative Medicine has been around for many years, including independent systems of medicine such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Ayurvedic Medicine of India. Other Alternative Medicine such as homeopathy was developed in Europe, whereas chiropractic and osteopathic medicine is said to have developed in the USA.
Today, Alternative Medicine is much more readily accepted but it still has a long way to go in order to be fully embraced by not only the general public but also by the Orthodox Medicine system.
With more and more practitioners having undergone training, and the emergence of some unethical practitioners, regulation is already having to be introduced in order to look after the general public; but it is unfair to dismiss such a powerful way of healing just because of a few rogue practitioners – we get those even in Orthodox Medicine.
However, I do still personally believe that an Alternative way of life is the best possible way forward for health and well-being compared to any other medical system; especially when it focuses on the whole person, body, mind, spirit, emotions and the environment. However, this isn’t to put aside Orthodox Medicine, as we must remember that Orthodox Medicine plays a significant role in achieving well-being and is sometimes the only way forward.
Alternative Medicine, as mentioned earlier, focuses on prevention rather than just cure, but we aren’t all in a healthy state by time we discover Alternative Medicine, in which case Orthodox Medicine may still be needed and may actually be the better option to help bring the individual back into harmony or at least a step closer to harmony.
My goal here is not to separate the two modes of medicine but rather to reiterate the importance of inclusiveness and the power of the individual to make their own choice. These two modes of medicine are simply two sides of the same coin.
Alternative Medicine in General Well-Being
Alternative Medicine offers treatments and therapies that are relatively free of negative side-effects, and primarily focuses on prevention rather than cure. There are Alternative Medicine systems available that can work on different levels of being. Counselling and other psychological therapies can assist in looking at and dealing with deep-seated emotional or psychological problems. Traditional Chinese Medicine can help keep the energy flowing freely, help with pain and other illness, and Ayurvedic Medicine can help in connecting body, mind and spirit. There are so many different approaches to take towards general well-being, many of which work on multi-dimensional levels and many of which overlap one another.
The key to health and wholeness, to general well-being, is through creating a body that is balanced and working in harmony with not only itself but also the environment in which it lives. Stress is a major cause of ill health, so general well-being is also about ensuring your mental, emotional and spiritual aspects are well, not just your physical aspect.
Alternative systems of medicine often work on an energetic/spiritual level, which means that often, but not always, the results are not obvious immediately if at all. The results are often subtle and often take longer than Orthodox Medicine to bring about change, but what is important is that it does at least bring change and assist in general well-being. The fastest route isn’t always the best route or the most wholesome route.
Alternative Medicine covers a huge spectrum of therapies. The World Health Organisation (WHO) lists over 100 recognised therapies, but what works for one may not work for another.
We are at a time where many people have become and continue to become discouraged with Orthodox Medicine, but Orthodox Medicine does have its place in health care as does Alternative Medicine; there is room for both perspectives and as with all things, we need to embrace both perspectives and find a balance within the whole spectrum.
The idea here is not to raise one up and belittle the other, but to simply show the way in which by encompassing both systems we can actually offer a holistic approach to life. The main role for Alternative Medicine is that of preventative medicine whereas Orthodox Medicine, although some of it could be seen as preventative, takes more of a curative approach. It may strive to prevent things from becoming worse but it still aims to treat a diseased state whether of body or mind, as opposed treating a healthy body in order to prevent the diseased state from manifesting in the first place; hence why we only visit the doctor when we are sick!
Alternative Medicine strives to offer us different therapies to empower the individual to be their own physician with wisdom and guidance, and although that does not replace medical doctors of any field it does encourage the individual to take responsibility for their own general well-being and actions. Things can and do go wrong and this certainly does not mean we have failed, but that we need to look deeper into what our body is telling us and what it requires.
For some people, prevention is not part of their way of life, so their lives revolve around constantly finding or at least looking for a cure and trying to fix things. For many others, it is just the opposite. Prevention is primordial, it is inbuilt within them. It is a natural, normal way of life and they make all attempts possible to prevent disease from entering into, or developing within their organism as a whole; their ethos is simply why wait until it is broken?
If we continually remember to take a holistic approach to life, to health and well-being and work with ourselves to bring about the desired change we will have a positive impact upon our own small world and those around us. We can’t direct a traveller on a road we haven’t travelled, and although that doesn’t mean we must suffer all things to help people, what it does mean is that the more we work on ourselves, the more we heal our own broken parts, the easier it will be to help others on their healing path no matter what level we are working on.
What separates an average person from a shaman is partly the decision to go within their own darkness and deal with the fears, the self-created demons and come out the other side healed and whole.
We are all made of the same stuff as the universe. In the theory of Tao, it talks about the essence of a formless, nameless force that moves all things, or which some call the mother of substance. It runs through each one of us, it runs through the trees, the flowers, the animals, it is a conscious intelligence that operates on the Earth, in the Heavens and through all living creatures including humans. We are all individual microcosms and all part of the big macrocosm, all part of the same substance, all part of the same universe. We all come from the same ocean of life energy. What is part of me is part of you and what is part of you is part of me. We all hold the same life energy within us, we are all individual drops of the same ocean, the only difference is that some of us are less aware of where or what we have come from.
If we all understood our relationship to the whole, we would perhaps feel better about ourselves, we would perhaps feel more empowered, more able to achieve, more worthy of love and respect. How we view ourselves, or how we view where we came from, has a direct impact on our ability to achieve that which we desire in life. If we truly know and understand the principles in which that same universal energy flows through us all, we would have a better knowledge of the power that is within each one of us. If each person could find their own power, they would perhaps spend less time trying to gain power from outside of themselves.
Nature represents, and is, a reflection of balance. If we take the time to observe nature, we can learn how to obtain balance within our own lives. The observance of nature will assist us all to live in a balanced and appropriate manner, it will assist us into a place where we can and do feel full of life energy. If we permit it into our lives, it will move us to the place we need to be in life in order to grow and evolve.
Disease of our organs can be said to happen when our body is out of sync, out of balance, neglected or malnourished but not always. Disease can be said to be not a cause but a result, a result of an unhealthy body both in and out. When we look to just heal the disease, we fail ourselves, for if the disease really IS caused by deeper issues such as an out of balance spiritual body, or repetitive negative mind loops, then we need to look to heal the deeper issues otherwise we fool ourselves into a temporary healing. If the disease is because of the dis-eased or stressed spiritual or physical body and we fail to bring healing on a deeper level, then will it not manifest itself once again in the same organ, or even manifest itself as something else or somewhere else?
Healing the whole body is paramount if we want to give the best to ourselves. We have to refrain from seeing the physical aspect of the human body as a separate entity or sole entity and start to treat the whole; and we can only do that when we come to terms with the different aspects that we have as human beings.
So let us look at those different aspects but on a different level. Our physical body is an amazing piece of equipment. It permits us to move in all directions. It provides a home for our mind and has a phenomenal ability to heal itself when in the right environment. The psychological aspect of our body, the mind, is an amazing aspect, a phenomenal part of us, and as I believe that we are all part of the thing that created all, part of that same creative force, it stands to reason that I also believe that the same creative energy runs through each one of us.
We are all part of the same circle of life, all animated through the same substance, that same essence that created everything, and that it is simply a matter of us recognising that the divine essence (call it what you may) is within us as well as around us, working through us to the extent of which we can comprehend It.
The greater the understanding of our inherent strength and capabilities, the more likely we are to be able to foster those same strengths, those same capabilities and the greater the chance of us being able to embrace the qualities of that which gives us life, that which animates us.
As we start to look past the physical, we start to unravel the inexplicable magnificence of our being, the physical body we can both see and comprehend, but the mind we can’t see but we know we have one; and through science and psychology we have begun to grasp the basis of which it lives and acts within us and for us. But as we delve deeper still into our being, we come to the less understood aspects of our being; our soul, our spirit, an integral aspect of our being which we need to have a basic understanding of.
As with all forms of therapy, whether from Alternative Medicine or Orthodox Medicine, one aspect which is imperative to the success of the treatment is our ability or even choice, to work with the therapist, to take some responsibility for what is happening in the actual healing session no matter what therapy is being used. Not only does this assist the therapist, but it also serves to empower us, the individual, and empowering us means we are better equip to help ourselves after the sessions and through other life crises.
A good therapist or doctor will empower you so that when you leave their room you are not dependent upon them but rather empowered to realise your own divine potential. When we can recognise our own divine potential and recognise the need to keep our whole being in good working order, we have a ticket to freedom.
Freedom comes at a price, it requires, commitment, self-discipline and a trust in something greater than self.
In closing, I just want to say – look after yourself, don’t take your health for granted, don’t run your body, mind and/or spirit into the ground. Find balance, find self love, find the answers to your deepest needs and desires and last but not least, find the compassion you need in order to forgive yourself and others for any wrong doings so that your spirit may be free to fly with two evenly balanced wings.
Always Walk in Peace – Kenzo