I write a lot about health related topics because that’s often what is on my mind, and I love sharing info. I’m convinced as long as the information I have is shared and helps someone, then it’s not useless. Recently my family gave up cable, and in a compromise purchased Amazon’s Fire TV. While flipping around on there, I noticed a documentary film called, Doctored. Naturally, my curiosity won me over and decided to take a break from house work and writing to watch it while my son napped in my lap.
I found the film to be absolutely fascinating. It covered the behind the scenes perspective of the Chiropractor profession and why it’s viewed with such polar opposite extreme emotions by the general public. It illuminated some key thoughts that I often find myself pondering that I would like to share with you today.
“In the medical field, the individual doctors are often wonderful. They care for their patients, there is no question in my mind that they want to do what is best for their patient. But if they are only educated in one direction and that is pharmacology or surgery, they simply are not going to look in other directions.”
– Kieth Overalnd, D.C. President, American Chiropractic Association
This couldn’t be more true! Coming from a family predominantly populated by medical professionals I remember sitting at hospitals for hours while visiting my parents, watching them and the staff they worked with tirelessly care for strangers as if they were extended family members. Some of the most selfless people I’ve ever met were nurses. They care for everyone because that is who they are. They have a calling to love others, and in that love comes caring for and mending the sick.
Only being educated in one aspect of care significantly limits a health care professional’s ability to help patients mainly because they don’t know any better. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget a heart to heart conversation with my dad, a Duke University graduate, about medical education. He mentioned to be stories about how students were often laughed out of medical degree programs for taking more than the one or two required nutrition classes. Only knowing about medications and surgery won’t help patients like me, who are highly sensitive and experience side effects worse than the condition. They aren’t going to understand how food interacts with our bodies to coach their patients in proper eating, let alone know how diet can affect a variety of conditions. I know this all too well, having been laughed out of several doctors offices for mentioning my diet while trying to figure out why I was so sick.
“When its appropriate, drugs are good. The bottom line is it is not applied properly. And that is my gripe. It’s not that I’m anti-drug, it’s that I’m anti-the way drugs are applied in such an indiscriminate fashion.
– Louis Sportelli, D.C.
Dr. Sportelli hit the nail on the head! I wish this is what my family would hear when I voice my concerns about the medications my doctors had me on and how often we were changing medications (often every week to every month for a few years). I’m not anti-drug. I’m not anti-doctor. I’m concerned about how doctors are taught that medication is the end-all-be-all of care and to accept the bad side of medications to create good for the patient. But when the patient reacts to the medications worse than their initial condition or needs additional medications to combat side effects of the first, is the patient really winning? Sometimes it feels like riding a carousel… going around and around in circles to get nowhere.
“We live in a culture where we want results right now, whether that is pop something in the microwave to have dinner in 10 minutes or go have a surgery or pop three pills because of that euphoria of feeling good for the moment. But all that is doing is masking the problem. We don’t need to go all the way to Iraq or Afghanistan to find combat. Combat is right here. And if healthcare is only about making money, then we have lost focus of the mission.”
– Rebecca Halstead, Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Ret).
We live in a society fixated on instant gratification. No one seems willing to wait anymore. Looking around when we go out in town, we notice people everywhere wanting what they want when they want it and throwing fits, like toddlers in the toy isle. What happened to embracing delayed gratification? We work hard during our prime to set ourselves up for retirement – working hard and sacrificing a portion of our pay so we can be more comfortable later when we are older and less physically capable to work as efficiently as younger bodies. Why would health be any different? We, as a society, thinks its ok to eat fast or convenience foods frequently, but then can’t figure out why we have issues with candida, autoimmune issues, skin issues, migraines… etc… later on. Take care of your bodies now so you can reduce your healthcare costs and misery later. Masking the problem by treating symptoms isn’t doing anyone any good. Finding out what is causing the symptoms and treating that underlying cause will benefit patients much more.
“To me, the ultimate two questions are: Why are we sick? And what do we need to do to get and stay well?”
“The only way we can be healthy is to be, and seek out, and find, and stay in as much as possible, a healthy environment.”
“Going for a 30-minute walk 5 days a week can reduce heart disease, diabetes, and obesity by 90%.”
“Eating more raw fruits and vegetables, taking Omega 3 and Vitamin D, which are pennies a day, have an astronomical benefit.”
“Things that are useful in an emergency are not the same things that provide us with our genetic requirements for nutrition, exercise…etc… The focus is gone from how we live in the environment that we have created for ourselves to looking inside through a microscope to find out this weakness that’s causing this illness. So, our well-being is totally dependent upon the quality of the ecosystem that we live in. It’s not about being an environmentalist, it’s about being a humanist. As the population rate increases and the consumption rate increases, there has to be a point when we can say to ourselves, ‘is this sustainable.’ There is this long delay that’s occurred between the consequences of our actions destroying the environment we live on and the consequence that is going to destroy us because the laws of this earth and this universe are not laws we can live outside of.”
– James Chestnut, D.C., Scientist, Chiropractor, Author
Dr. Chestnut had so many great things to say. I re-watched his part in the documentary at least six or seven times. So much truth in such a small segment of the film. Why are we sick? You’ll never be able to convince me that environmental toxins don’t play a large role in our collective sickness. There are so many chronic diseases that have popped up over the past century (ironically, when industrialization really took a foothold in our societal “advancement”). I keep hearing excuses such as, “we have better reporting process now,” but I can’t accept that as a valid explanation. It goes against physics. Newton’s law: Each action has an equal or opposite reaction. We pollute our environment, we get sick. Many people have criticized me over the years for reducing toxins. They ask me, “what is the point to avoiding toxins, when we are surrounded by them constantly.” What’s the point? The point is to reduce my family’s toxic load as much as possible to give our bodies a fighting chance against environmental toxins we can’t avoid. The point is to reduce sickness. And I can honestly say we’ve noticed a HUGE change in our bodies since submitting ourselves to avoiding the toxins we are able to avoid.
What is a Humanist? By definition, a humanist is a person having a strong interest in or concern for human welfare, values, and dignity. A humanist doesn’t care about race, religion, or creed. Humanists don’t care how educated you are or how much money you make. We care about YOU and your wellbeing. We care about how a poisonous environment will affect your health and the quality of life associated with it.
“If all physicians thought this way, open their minds up to alternatives, open up the communications streams of who knows what, where. In other words we are conversing with Eastern medicine, for example, we are looking more at holistic approaches; we are looking at suitable alternatives, both mechanically with regards to rehabilitation therapy and pharmaceutical therapy with regards to prescription based drugs, we would find more bona-fide alternatives that work to be able to offer our patients in terms of getting them better.”
– Jim Webber, MD
Dr. Webber offered the best pearl of wisdom for healthcare professionals. To sum up his message: If all physicians thought this way, we would find more alternatives that work to offer our patients. Meaning one size does not fit all when it comes to medical care. Our medical system should be geared towards the individual’s biology, lifestyle, and current situation… not a standard expected (or forced) to work for everyone.
This is exactly the mentality I’ve had since becoming sick. After 6 years of failed medicated roller coasters (including medications shutting down my liver and pancreas), I voiced my concerns to my doctors. After asking if we could try alternative treatments from a more holistic approach, I found myself perplexed walking to the mental health side of my veterans healthcare facility with a referral in hand to see a psychiatrist. I’m sure you can imagine my anger when the psychiatrist decided to put me on medication because I was (and I quote) “too concerned and asking too many questions” about the care I was receiving. So, instead of exploring other options with nothing to lose, I was sent to another doctor to put me on medication to make me more compliant and less of a headache.
Ironically, when I sought out alternative methods, my health began significantly improving. I am a walking success story that proves good health can be regained when you follow your gut instincts and do what you feel is right when nothing else has worked. Don’t give up your fight. Don’t be afraid to take charge of your health. Your doctor works for you. Don’t be afraid to seek alternative care. People mock or fear what they don’t understand. Natural and alternative therapies shouldn’t be lumped into that.