Alternative Health Care


     Alternative health care, also known as holistic or homeopathic care, is a myriad
of unconventional health care approaches to healing and improving ill health.

Dr. Samuel Hahnemann discovered homeopathy in the early 1800’s. He was sick of
the art of medicine practiced in his time; he said it was barbaric. He knew
there had to be alternatives so, like any devoted science lover would do, he
experimented on himself and his friends. Hahnemann found that large dosages of
herbs increased symptoms so he decreased the dosage and found that the symptoms
decreased and usually ceased (Smith 10). Homeopathy became popular in the
nineteenth century. This may be accounted for because most patients at that time
agreed that them-modern techniques were harsh and didn’t work. The same thing
is happening today. People are resorting to holistic remedies because the"promise of allopathic medicine has lost its luster"(Smith 10). Some
criticize holistic care as being primitive. According to Joseph Wassesug,

"Holistic medicine...is what we practice when we don’t know the real
answer." For example, years ago tuberculosis was treated was treated with
fresh air and Adirondack chairs, polio was treated with baths and hub tanks, and
rheumatic fever was treated with good nutrition and bed rest! (Copeland 103)

Another problem with holistic care is that the government has no regulation of
holistic practices and who practices them. This makes it difficult to determine
exactly who is really qualified and which alternative medicines are safe.

"Finally, critics such as Joseph D. Wassersug argue that while alternative
practitioners may be more caring, some may not have the education or expertise
to effectively treat serious injury" (Wekesser 95). We have got to use common
sense when choosing a doctor. When a person has a M.D. or an R.N. after his name
we opt to trust our life to him! One should check the doctors’ background
before visiting him. "...blind trust of medical degrees is not a replacement
for using common sense" (Copeland 105). When someone chooses alternative care
he must take into consideration its dangers. One could actually overdose on
vitamins or misuse herbal therapies. "Instead of feeling better, I felt
increasingly worse, like a spaced out zombie" complained Carol Copeland, a
former holistic patient who almost lost her life to cancer because her
homeopathic physicians were to proud to think they were wrong thus they
neglected an ovarian cyst (Copeland 104 Wekesser 95). Another problem with these
unconventional health care alternatives is that they give false relief. What
this means is that when someone uses a holistic remedy and then feels relief he
tends to credit the remedy. This method does not hold water because most
ailments resolve themselves (headache for example). Barrett says holistic
practitioners are quacks. "The main reason for quackery’s success is its
ability to seduce people who are unsuspecting and desperate" (Barrett

112-113). Nevertheless, holistic medicine has strengths. One, it recognizes the
psychological, environmental and social aspects of illness. Two, it involves the
patient in his own treatment with activities etc.. And three, it emphasizes
preventive medicine as its base (holistic). Holistic medicine is a practice of
health cares that that emphasizes treatment of the entire patient—body, mind
and spirit. Homeopathic care, compared to allopathic is expensive. There are no
doctor’s visit’s, or expensive antibiotic prescriptions necessary. This is
not to say that doctors are not useful; obviously, if there were a serious
injury one should not hesitate to go to a medical (allopathic) doctor (Smith

10). Homeopathy is ideal for the homemaker or mother because it enables her to
cure common ailments with herbs that she may have around her home (Smith10).

Homeopathy is easy to learn. There are workshops for the lay person that wants
to understand holistic medicine. The use of many remedies can be performed by
anyone; hence homeopathy does not require a medical degree (Smith 10). It makes
sense to try alternative care. Some people feel that doctors are too interested
in money and not entirely concerned with the patient (Gordon 107). There is an
entirely new faith involved in alternative health care. It is a new approach to
tradition and though some may be skeptical there is much reason to have a sound
mind towards it. Homeopathy works fast; in most cases the remedies take affect
in ten minutes. If by chance a homeopathy remedy didn’t work one could still
seek other medical help without worrying that he waited too long (Solovitch

100). Some people chose alternative care because so many other methods (and
doctors) fail to cure them. Others do not like the way they were treated by
doctors--whether it is bad bedside manner or neglect of their feelings.

Physicians of holistic medicine are oft more attentive to their patients’
needs and not as rushed as medical doctors (Wekesser 95). In the time of need it
is most comforting to know that the physician cares and wants to help. This is a
true story of a man diagnosed with colon cancer. The oncologist told him that he
had only a few months to live; the tumors were enormous and irreversible. A week
after that doctor visit the man, Jon, and his wife were in a car accident. Both
were okay yet suffered minor back and neck injuries so they went to a
chiropractor. On January 18, 1993 Dr. Gil Logatto saw Jon and his wife Tina for
their first visit. He learned of Jon’s illness and instead of feeling sorry
for him he was excited for him. Dr. Logatto went on to tell of his own interest
in holistic medicine. And a study he had read that carrot juice would shrink the
tumors. Jon told Tina and, though skeptical, she bought a juicer and a case of
carrots. They began drinking carrot juice three times a day. When Jon went back
to the oncologist on March 9, 1993 to everyone’s surprise there was only one
small tumor left from the six massive tumors which had afflicted him just two
months before! It is almost five years since Jon was diagnosed terminally ill
and he is cancer free. Tina and Jon have a new found faith in holistic medicine;
and they also have a baby on the way thanks to Dr. Logatto’s interest in
holistic medicine. Dr. Logatto has been a close friend of the family for many
years. He is well educated in many fields of medicine. OUTLINE THESIS: I feel
that alternative medicine, such as holistic care and homeopathy, is a great
concept. It is safe effective and inexpensive; what more could one want from
health care! I am concerned, however, that misused holistic medicine could be
dangerous. But then I am reminded that if there were a problem, there would be
no dangerous time delay to get an allopathic physician. I. Background II.

Dangerous and ineffective A. Primitive B. Overdose C. No government regulation

D. False relief III. Safe and effective A. Inexpensive B. Simple C. New faith D.

Natural E. Fast F. Other methods may fail IV. Personal example

Bibliography

Berrett, Steven. "Alternative Medicine Should Not Be Considered Standard

Medical Practice" 1993 Rpt. Health Care in America: Opposing viewpoint
p.112-113 Copeland, Carolyn. "Alternative Medicine Can Be Dangerous and

Ineffective" 1991 Rpt. Health Care in America: Opposing viewpoint p. 101-105

Gordon, James S. "Alternative Medicine Should Be Standard Medical Practice"

1993 Rpt. Health Care in America: Opposing viewpoint p. 107 Health Care in

America: Opposing viewpoint Ed. Carol Wekesser. San Diego: Greenhaver, 1994

"Holistic Medicine" American Academic Encyclopedia 1997 ed. Prodigy, Grolier

Electronic Publishing, Inc. Smith, Robert. "The Magic of Homeopathy" Total

Health vol. 15 August 1993 p.10 Solovitch, Sara. . "Alternative Medicine Can

Be Safe and Effective" 1992 Rpt. Health Care in America: Opposing viewpoint p.

97-100 Wekesser, Carol. "Is Alternative Medicine Safe?" Health Care in

America: Opposing viewpoint 1994 p. 95