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 OK enough is enough. It’s time I bought into the whole “conventional” versus so called “alternative” medicine debate. A debate that seems to be gaining more and more momentum much to the frustration of people like myself.

Point 1.

We recently saw the very tragic death of a beautiful soul, Wellness Warrior Jess Ainscough. The ripple affects of this tragedy are still being felt. She has been accused of promoting an anti-“conventional” approach to healing her own rare cancer, and in doing so, has been implicated as someone who has irresponsibly influenced people against conventional medicine in the face of disease. Disease, which supposedly can only be cured and treated via conventional medicine.

How dare she advocate that we take some responsibility for contributing to our own healing by living a healthy, balanced, toxin-free and self-nurturing life!

Point 2.

The above tragedy has occurred within a social and cultural context demanding more and more information about health and wellbeing.

Nearly everyone claims to be an expert, or more importantly…..wants to be an expert.

Throw in a high profile celebrity advocating the latest and greatest restrictive “diet” (after all, if it worked for them it will work for everyone right?), social media and the internet, and you have a perfect storm resulting in an over load of ill informed, heavily biased and at times - blatantly inaccurate information.

Point 3.

Even more recently in the media we hear about Belle Gibson, Founding Director of The Whole Food Pantry.

Like Jess, she claimed to have healed her cancer by eating and living clean and toxin free. However it now seems that she never had cancer at all.

What on earth would possess someone to lie about having a terminal disease? Well I may not know Belle –but what I can say is that she is a young woman who knows EXACTLY what everyone wants.

To be the expert of their own mind and body.

We are craving information about health and wellbeing. Like Jess, what Belle tried to do was give people the tools to become exactly that – the expert of their own health and wellbeing.

In my book, that simply makes her misguided and perhaps a little greedy (and before you judge Belle think of a time when you told a white lie which quickly snow-balled into something you couldn’t back out of). Perhaps her heart was in the right place. After all, none of us are perfect, and we all make mistakes.

However, it now seems that you have to pick a camp. Are you all for “conventional” medicine? Or are you all for “alternative” medicine?

Wow. How ridiculously over simplistic and unhelpful.

I believe that we can heal our body through good nutrition and stress management, meditation and yoga.

I also believe that dry needling saw me running again after a painful injury.

I have seen patients of mine soar after only 1-2 sessions of kinesiology, and I have read enough research to believe that processed foods are heavily implicated in a number of diseases.

Having said that, I had both my children in state of the art fully equipped hospitals surrounded by amazing expert medical professionals.

I was treated by an amazing gastroenterologist when I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease, and I have a medicine cabinet at home stocked with panadol, ibuprofen, and anti-histamines sitting right next to concentrated fish oil, magnesium, zinc, Vitamin B complex and probiotics.

Why can’t we be an advocate of BOTH conventional and alternative medicine?

Jess Ainscough wrote about her amazing team of medical professionals. She never shunned medical treatment; in fact sh

e had radiotherapy when she was first diagnosed with epithelioid sarcoma. What Jess did was compliment her medical treatment by taking responsibility for her own health.

All too often we put ourselves in the hands of medical professionals, relinquishing responsibility for our own health.

We need to start taking responsibility for our own health.

Medical Emergency rooms, GP practices are over loaded and under-resourced. Dr Google has become many people’s go-to when it comes to diagnosing and understanding health issues. We are searching for knowledge and seeking answers.

Consider also, that medical science, as we know it does not have all the answers. Our health system is dominated by research driven, evidence based approaches to “western” diagnosis and treatment. All of my study and career has focussed on clinical assessment, and applying treatments that have been the subject of clinical trials and meta-analysis.

I’m certainly not saying this is a bad thing. What I am saying, is that there are limitations to this type of research.

For example, many eastern-based treatments (used for centuries) exist within a completely different paradigm unable to fit into our western-based research methodologies.

This doesn’t mean they don’t work.

Simply discrediting something because there is no scientific evidence or proof is like saying that love doesn’t exist because I can’t “prove” it. How can you prove something exists or works if you don’t have the right tools to measure it?

Conventional medicine has many answers. If my son has a temperature I’ll give him panadol, and if I’m concerned that my running injury isn’t improving I’ll request an X-Ray/MRI and seek the appropriate medical treatment.

However I am also a huge advocate of naturopathy, acupuncture, kinesiology and remedial massage. I embrace it all and I could not care less if the “proof” for the success of these treatment modalities doesn’t exist in a peer-reviewed western medical journal.

I also have an autoimmune disease and I know exactly what causes inflammation in my body. I also know how to bring my system back to health. My GP or specialist didn’t tell me…..I worked it out by combining conventional and non-conventional treatment approaches.

Taking responsibility for our health means finding out what works for you. To do that, we need to pay attention to what our body is telling us and learn how to read the signs associated with ill health. In addition, it’s about PREVENTION.  

Making your health a priority.

So instead of feeling compelled to sit in one of these camps – consider sitting in both. They both have a role to play, and neither

has ALL the answers.

By opening yourself up to all of the options available, both conventional

and alternative, you will dramatically increase the likelihood of finding what will work for your mind and body.

We are all searching for the same thing – sustainable health, and prevention of disease.

Wouldn’t the world be a better (and healthier) place if all of those influential people in the media simply worked together, instead of working to polarize our society?

It seems the focus of providing real “health” information has been lost to a battle of ego’s? Sorry Pete, just my opinion ;-)