A centenarian's view on prescription medications inspires Mary S. Wallis, L.Ac. to discuss alternative solutions including homeopathy, meridian therapy, and lifestyle changes.
The January/February 2010 AARP Bulletin had an article on page 3 written by Jim Toedtman (editor) called "My English Teacher's Admonition". In it he speaks about a former English teacher, now a centenarian "...she had a quick explanation for her long life: long walks, playing the piano and, rather than taking the elevator, still climbing the steps to her second-floor room.
But here's the key, she said 'I don't take any medicine. I did once and got sick, so I knew enough to stop.' " He continues to say that she is the exception. Also, he points out that the average medicare recipient has more than 30 prescriptions filled. That figure astounded me. It should not have surprised me. In my practice, I see seniors who give me one or two page prescription lists supplementing their intake form.
This centenarian's focus on lifestyle shows a great wisdom. In my practice, I encourage my patients to make changes that will enhance their health over the long term. My job is to get them out the door living as healthy a life as is their capacity. Armed with healthy diet and exercise, people can overcome many of the health obstacles our modern technologically-enhanced generation encounters.
It is my sense that pharmaceuticals were created to form a bridge, allowing us to function better while we do the work to change our lifestyles, to enhance our health, and minimize our dysfunction. For instance, in the case of high blood pressure (B/P): while changes in diet and exercise are made to regain and maintain a healthy B/P, a prescription to reduce high B/P that is life threatening seems prudent. The discipline to change ones unhealthy lifestyle needs to be the focus. The pharmaceutical should be temporary. That should be encouraged by your health care provider, your family, and your friends.
What most of the American population is unaware of is that there are alternatives to prescription medications. Most of us are aware that prescriptions have unwanted side effects. We weigh these side effects against the risks and decide to take them perhaps because we are not educated as to the alternatives. Medical Universities, only now, are beginning to offer "elective" courses in alternative health care options.
One alternative is Homotoxicology, Hans Reckweg's solution to the difficulties in finding the right homeopathic preparation. He developed a whole system to bring humans back from disease to health. He recognized the challenge to homeopathy – it took a lot of trial and error to find the right preparation. He developed broader spectrum homeopathic preparations that are combinations of single homeopathic proven remedies.
Homeopathics have proven to be safe and reliable. The one precaution is that the components in the homotoxicology products could cause an allergic reaction. That is true of anything with which one comes in contact. Often, the preparations can be taken along with pharmaceutical medications, thereby reducing the necessary pharmaceutical dosage. In some cases the homotoxicology preparation can then replace the pharmaceutical. This would be done with the awareness and advice of the prescribing physician. Homotoxicology supports the body's own propensity toward homeostasis. It is meant to make itself obsolete. Once the body regains health, the homotoxicology medication is stopped.
Meridian Therapy, the energetic "hands on" medicine I practice, moves the body's energetics encouraging a healthy balance. Through the use of acupuncture needles, moxibustion, lifestyle counseling, and oriental hand therapies, Meridian Therapy fortifies deficient energy and frees up stuck energy. It is an excellent alternative medicine that both regains and then maintains health. As the energetic pulses show balance over the course of treatment, pharmaceuticals can be reduced and often eliminated. Again, this is done with the prescribing physician's awareness and counsel. Once balance is achieved, it is maintained through lifestyle changes and, perhaps, Meridian Therapy seasonal "tune ups" which occur approximately four times a year as the seasons change.
Homotoxicology and Meridian Therapy work well in combination. These therapies can safely be used in combination with pharmaceuticals. And they are meant to help one achieve healthy balance as quickly as your body allows. While being treated, lifestyle changes are encouraged and achieved. Utilizing the healthy lifestyle tools learned (diet, exercise, relaxation techniques, stretching, etc.) allows one to better maintain balance and thus health. By using these "alternative" medicines to regain health and committing to a healthy lifestyle, the need for pharmaceutical intervention may be decreased or even eliminated altogether. One might achieve the feat of Mr. Toedtman's English teacher, starting ones next century free of pharmaceuticals and full of life.