Politics, economics and religion are inextricably linked with medicine, and they are not good bedfellows.
When we think back to the suppression of ancient medical wisdom, both in Eastern cultures and in America, we learn much about the fallibility of science when emotions, greed, and political preferences rule the day.
In the pandemic, the brilliance of science was apparent in the development of vaccines, but vaccine acceptance was tainted. It was tainted by inability to sort information from disinformation and misinformation, by distrust of the motives of both government and pharmaceutical companies, and by a lack of transparency. It was tainted by the unwillingness of the government to consider the validity of any options not officially sanctioned, by inequities in distribution of the vaccine, and by culture wars.
Conventional medicine absolutely has its place in addressing a virulent and wildly transmissible disease, but it does not address the root cause of disease.
Prevention of disease entails far more than vaccinating the public and educating us as to hand washing, mask wearing and social distancing, though these things may be necessary.
Effective public health services require a comprehensive public health 8nfrastructure. Public health educators should be enlisted to promote health and to help prevent diseases and disabilities that make people more susceptible to adverse outcomes when confronted with a viral challenge. Kits with N95 masks, thermometers, oximeters, test kits, relevant nutrients, and self-care instructions could and should be dispensed.
Receptivity of the host is where education and health promotion intersect with disease prevention.
Thousands of studies have documented the role that diet, exercise, and nutrition play in the promotion of health and prevention of disease.
With all our patients, we as naturopathic doctors evaluate and monitor health status, work with chronic underlying disorders and lifestyle challenges, address excesses and deficiencies, and suggest detailed plans for health promotion, including ways to support the immune system in the event of viral challenges.
Naturopathic medicine treats the whole person. Our efforts to prevent and treat disease and encourage health include acknowledging and addressing pre-existing social, economic, emotional, and spiritual issues and those that have arisen during the pandemic.
Much of the damage done by the virus was not brought about by the virus per se, but by the anxiety, depression, and isolation that were concomitant with social distancing, quarantines, and fear.
These were primary issues during the pandemic in our patients who sought health care in addition to medical management.
Education is fundamental. Doctor as teacher, not doctor as enforcer. As doctors our job is not to coerce or threaten patients to do as we say, nor to refuse treatment if they don’t. We present information, listen to our patients, address their needs and concerns, present pros and cons of various courses of action, and support the patient’s choices.
Naturopathic medicine shares with conventional medicine the principle, “Above all, do no harm.” Telling people that they will die unless they do what the doctor or the government dictates is fear-based, violent, and causes harm. Understanding trumps fear as a motivation for action.
Placebo and nocebo are realities. Words have power to heal or harm the person to whom they are directed. People reliably die when they are told that they will die. People who fear the vaccine fear it because they believe it will cause side effects, and they indeed report side effects, some of which are real and some of which are imagined.
On the other side of the coin, if people believe that a non-harmful substance not proven by conventional scientific research will help them, what is the harm in allowing them to use it?
Medicine has done this for years. It is axiomatic that people with viral infections who believe that an antibiotic will make them better do get better with an antibiotic, even though antibiotics are ineffective against viruses.
A word on identifying and treating the underlying causes of disease. While it is clear that viruses cause viral disease, what is not clear is the cause of the emergence of the virus itself – or, in broader terms, the emergence of a viral epidemic.
From one perspective, we might acknowledge that words, thoughts, and emotions are vibrations of energy. Viruses are vibrations taking a particular physical form. The coronavirus is a perfect reflection of the divisive politics, fear, anger, and and dysfunctional communication that characterizes this time in history.
For information about the services we offer at Pacific Naturopathic, please give us a call at 650-961-1660, use the convenient Contact Form to get in touch, or follow the link to: Consultations – Pacific Naturopathic. Thank you!