What Does Healing Have To Do With Medicine?

Everything and Nothing, According To One Integrative Medicine Doctor

Image: 4sight Health

It has been six months since my last article. Aside from keeping busy with my business and organizing the health innovation workshops in Europe, I have been under-going my own personal awakening about health and healing. 

My eighty-five-year-old mother was seen in the ER twice in two weeks for general weakness and unresponsiveness. She does not take any medication except for a daily multi-vitamin and all her diagnostic tests came back within normal levels. Her CT scan did however show signs of “mini-strokes” she had been having which has caused her health to deteriorate.

Ever since my father passed away six years ago, my mother’s emotional will to live has significantly declined. She was no longer interested in singing in her church choir, no longer interested in socializing with her good friends, no longer eat her favorite foods, no longer have the energy to attend the senior citizen community center for strength conditioning and exercise and basically no longer willing to be a part of an ecosystem that would support healthy living and thriving.

I began to ask myself the question, how much of our healing as human beings has to do with modern medicine, pharmaceutical drugs, diet and exercise and how much of it has to do with a person’s ability to go inward to have the belief and conviction to heal past wounds, forgive oneself and forgive others, to heal not just the body, but the mind and the spirt as well.

Mikhail Kogan, MD, medical director of the George Washington Center for Integrative Medicine in Washington D.C. writes:

“So, what is the healing path and what has it got to do with medicine? Everything and nothing. Everything, because in the process of treatment and healing, many steps are medical, such as taking natural or synthetic prescription medications, changing the diet, starting mind-body, physical, or energy therapy all those steps are grounded in theoretical and evidence-based data that we are constantly learning and updating. Nothing, because the path in itself is a self-discovery by the patient, a chance to learn what is out of balance and why. Lack of balance can stem from any aspect of life and wellness domains: spiritual, emotional, mental, social, physical, or environmental. This guided self-discovery process more often than not leads to re-evaluation and transformation of one’s beliefs, attitudes, and actions within the affected domain.”

This kind of thinking led me to research several areas where evidence-based practices in integrative and holistic medicine is on the rise and is used with conventional medicine and alone. Americans were spending out of pocket on meditation, yoga, acupuncture, biofield science, supplements as well as other lifestyle treatments. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reports on a 2102 national health interview survey that Americans spent 33.9 Billion dollars on complementary health approaches.

Dr. Kogan continues to state that “if you’re not talking about nutritional improvement, stress reduction and environmental health, then you’re not talking about prevention. Mammograms don’t prevent breast cancer, they simply detect it.”

I believe there are changes that should be made at a policy level. In 2018, after the result of various institutional, organizational, professional, and individual policy campaigns and the modeling of new methods the VA included and recognized licensed acupuncturists. 

In “The Rise of Integrative Health and Medicine, Glenn Sabin and Taylor Walsh chronicle the first of 120 notable achievements in the movement for integrative health and medicine. “The following were born concurrently, and separately, between 1977-79. An organization for holistic medical doctors. Another for holistic nurses. The first new naturopathic medical schools in two decades. The birth of patient-centered care. Ground-breaking mind-body research. The first herb industry organization. A national institute promoting wellness. Within two years a national organization for acupuncturists.”

Should we as consumers of healthcare, awaken to a new consciousness of health and healing that involves going back to real prevention; improving the way food is prepared and grown, the way we have access to clean sustainable water, the environmental factors that affect our air and breathing and reducing the stress and psychological barriers that cause the degeneration of our bodies and our cells.

If you are interested in learning more about holistic health and healing approaches, I encourage you to research more on the topic and learn about what evidence-based practices are available.


National Center For Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

Personal Insights Q&A with Dr. Mikhail Kogan

The Rise of Integrative Health and Medicine – Glenn Sabin, Taylor Walsh

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