|Education preferable to Medication|
THE SURGEON VALERIE MALKA
FOR MORE than 10,000 years, natural therapies have been used, while conventional medicine is but 100 years old. They deserve the recognition universities have given them as they have healing modalities and benefits proven by credible and peer-reviewed research. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 80 per cent of the world's population relies on natural therapies to treat, prevent and cure diseases, yet in Australia we have closed-minded colleagues determined to damage and bring into disrepute the entire natural health profession.
Do the Americans have it completely wrong? Not only do they have dedicated courses in universities but almost 85 per cent of US medical schools offer elective courses in alternative and complementary medicine or include it in required courses.
There is no better than modern medicine when it comes to surgery, emergency and trauma, but for almost everything else, traditional, natural or alternative medicine is far more effective - particularly for chronic illness which modern medicine is completely unable to treat or cure. These therapies, unlike modern medicine which focuses on symptom control, work to treat the entire person, recognising and stimulating the body's innate capability to heal the root cause of illness. Modern medicine actually suppresses and thwarts that innate healing mechanism by unbalancing the complex human organism and its systems, particularly the immune system, with the liberal use of drugs and ignorance of the importance of diet and lifestyle.
With conventional medicine's birth came the slow and deliberate move by the medical profession to discredit what became labelled "alternative medicine". I can only presume that what lies at the heart of it is the threat to conventional medicine's power base and the unhealthy relationship it has long enjoyed with the trillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry.
It is about time the Australian medical profession started educating rather than medicating. It is unfortunate that it is the public's disillusionment with modern medicine and its inability to treat many diseases, as well as the dreadful side-effects of any treatment offered, that have increased the popularity of complementary and alternative medicine. It should have been due to the interest, enthusiasm and reason of doctors, scientists, researchers and politicians.
As a qualified medical specialist and surgeon, I am ashamed of the medical profession when it so blatantly displays its ignorance and persists in attacking a profession from which we have much to learn.
Dr Valerie Malka is a surgeon and former director of trauma services at Westmead Hospital.
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