The Two Sides of Medicine

Opposing views concerning the maintenance of good health and how to regain it, after having lost it, have existed throughout time.  It is a conflict that has continued to unravel, assuming various turns and twists.

Asklepians vs Hygeians

One mind-set believes good health is a result of outside intervention; drugs and surgery.  Another believes that good health results from living in harmony with nature; adopting sound nutrition; and good habits of cleanliness.  The ancient Greeks had terms for these two groups of people.  Those who believed that the secret of good health resulted from living in harmony with nature were known as Hygeian.

Modern western medicine adopts the Asklepian approach.  In recent years the Hygeian approach which has always been the underlying principle behind Chinese traditional medicine has gained much ground. The increase in the popularity of the Hygeian approach is no doubt due to a dissatisfaction with traditional mainstream medicine.

Increasing cases of individual experiences solidify the notion that physicians and hospitals are to be avoided, not to mention the increasing awareness that the medical industry is highly influenced by drug companies.  The large number of under and uninsured, as well as the growing awareness that one’s health status is primarily a personal responsibility are, in fact, all responsible for the bulging hygeian supporters today.

In spite of this movement away from mainstream medicine, it (mainstream medicine) still has a place in everyone’s health program.  As an example, let’s assume that you are over 40 years of age; you are healthy, fit and not overweight. You eat well, you don’t smoke, don’t drink excessively and rarely get sick.

Ponder this:  Have you ever known anyone around this age who, in spite of the fact that they appeared completely healthy, died suddenly?  Tragedies like this happen every day and the results are devastating. Sadly, many of these tragedies can be avoided if more people become aware of their risk factors.

What can be done?
First of all, if you are over 35 and have not had a blood test within the last few years, arrange for a CBC that will test your cholesterol levels; triglycerides; homocysteine; lipoproteins; plasma glucose; liver and kidney function.  If you are a man over 40, you will want to seriously consider getting a PSA. (Prostate Specific Antigen test).

A potential conflict
Let’s say your tests show that your cholesterol is high.  Your medical physician may initially suggest that you lower your intake of diet cholesterol.  If this is unsuccessful which it is likely to be, the next step would be a prescription for a cholesterol lowering drug commonly known as statins. These are drugs that work by blocking an enzyme that your liver needs to manufacture cholesterol. (Up to 80% of your blood cholesterol is manufactured by your liver, NOT from the ingestion of cholesterol within your diet).

These statin drugs are very powerful and have been known to cause serious side effects including deaths. In fact, Bayer is one company that was forced to withdraw its statin drug from the market place because of unacceptable levels of fatalities.  In spite of these risks, sales of statin drugs amount to billions of dollars per year and are commonly prescribed.

The fact of the matter is that there are natural alternatives to these statins which can assist in lowering cholesterol safely, and without side effects.  However, the general public hears very little about them as they are not patentable and lack the financial incentive for the big corporations to promote them.  You may well want to seek natural alternatives to your health concerns before subjecting yourself to the negative side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.

Pharmaceutical drugs are known as blockers; natural remedies as enablers
Pharmaceutical drugs are blockers and do not normally heal the underlying ailment. They generally work by suppressing natural functions.  Results are often instant.  Therefore, is a place for these powerful prescription drugs, such as in the case of life threatening emergencies.

In contrast, natural products such as herbs and vitamin supplements are enablers.  They work, correcting the cause of the ailment, which is often a nutrient deficiency.  The results from this approach are not immediate and are measured in weeks or even months.

The suggestion is to work with your physician.  Seek to have discussions surrounding how you would like to see your situation handled.  Do your research, beforehand, in order to present her/him with sensible and viable options.  In the end, the two of you will, hopefully, arrive at an acceptable posture for both.  If your physician is closed to your proposed course of action, unwilling to dialogue, don’t hesitate to locate another who will see the benefits of working as a team to achieve and maintain your good health.