Holistic Medicine

Lately, my desire to go to Holistic Medical school has gotten stronger and stronger. If I could do college all over again, I would have bagged the whole graphic design idea and taken a pre-med course so I could go straight to ND school. But I didn’t know a thing about holistic medicine then. So I guess I can’t worry too much about it.

I am guessing that like most of my life, many of you have never heard of Nautropathic medicine before, or if you have, it’s been weird stuff like eating eye of newt and standing on your head for ten minutes. Here’s the basic concept behind it, as stolen from the National College of Nautural Medicine’s Website:

These principles stand as the distinguishing marks of the profession:

The healing power of nature — vis medicatrix naturae
The body has the inherent ability to establish, maintain, and restore health. The healing process is ordered and intelligent; nature heals through the response of the body. The physician’s role is to facilitate and augment this process, to identify and remove obstacles to health and recovery, and to support the creation of a healthy internal and external environment.

Identify and treat the cause — tolle causam
Illness does not occur without cause. Underlying causes of disease must be discovered and removed or treated before a person can recover completely from illness. Symptoms are expressions of the body’s attempt to heal, but are not the cause of disease; therefore, naturopathic medicine addresses itself primarily to the underlying causes of disease, rather than to the symptoms. Causes may occur on many levels, including physical, mental-emotional, and spiritual. The physician must evaluate fundamental underlying causes on all levels, directing treatment at root causes as well as seeking relief of symptoms.

First do no harm — primum no nocere
The process of healing includes the generation of symptoms, which are, in fact, expressions of the body attempting to heal itself. Therapeutic actions should be complementary to and synergistic with this healing process. The physician’s actions can support or antagonize the actions of vis medicatrix naturae; therefore, methods designed to suppress symptoms without removing underlying causes are considered harmful and are avoided or minimized.

Treat the whole person — in perturbato animo sicut in corpore sanitas esse non potest
Health and disease are conditions of the whole organism, involving a complex interaction of physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, and social factors. The physician must treat the whole person by taking all of these factors into account. The harmonious functioning of all aspects of the individual is essential to recovery from and prevention of disease, and requires a personalized and comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment.

The physician as teacher — docere
Beyond an accurate diagnosis and appropriate prescription, the physician must work to create a healthy, sensitive interpersonal relationship with the patient. A cooperative doctor-patient relationship has inherent therapeutic value. The physician’s major role is to educate and encourage the patient to take responsibility for his or her own health. The physician is a catalyst for healthful change, empowering and motivating the patient to assume responsibility. It is the patient, not the doctor, who ultimately creates or accomplishes healing. The physician must strive to inspire hope as well as understanding. The physician must also make a commitment to her/his personal and spiritual development.

Prevention — principiis obsta: sero medicina curatur
The ultimate goal of naturopathic medicine is prevention. This is accomplished through education and promotion of lifestyle habits that foster good health. The physician assesses risk factors and hereditary susceptibility to disease and makes appropriate interventions to avoid further harm and risk to the patient. The emphasis is on building health rather than on fighting disease. Because it is difficult to be healthy in an unhealthy world, it is the responsibility of both physician and patient to create a healthier environment in which to live.

So that is a basic overview- you can’t just treat the symptoms (like the medical world of today teaches us) but you have to treat the whole person and find the cause of the symptoms. It’s kind of self-evident, but the way most standard physicians practice today, you would think otherwise. Nautropathic Physicians are informed of the latest medical advancement, just like a traditional MD would be, but instead of handing out pills to fix all of the problems a patient has, NDs take time to assess the cause of the illness- even emotional illnesses, not just the symptoms. If I were to get an ND, I would  be licensed to practice as a doctor in 15 states, five Canadian provinces, the District of Columbia, and the US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Of course, neither Alabama nor any other state in the southeast licenses NDs to practice as a general practitioner (so people can use their insurance to pay for my services). In non licensed states, I can see patients and help treat their disease, but the expense comes out of pocket and I am considered more of a “health consultant” instead of a doctor.

If I were from a wealthy family who could support Chris and me while I went off to medical school for five years, it would be no problem. But that is just not the case. Especially with a baby on the way. The other problem is that although there are many nautropahic medical schools around the country (including some that are all online classes etc), they are not accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME), (which is the only one recognized by the US department of education) which basically makes them really shady. I mean, would you want to go to a “doctor” who took their entire coursework on the internet?? No thanks. Those are the kind of people who make you eat eye of newt and stand on your head. Sketchy. Programs that have been accredited by the CNME and the AANMC require their students to take 4 years of professional level ND schooling with a one year residency, study a curriculum that includes current medical science and traditional nautropathic theory, and pass the NPLEX (nautropathic physicians licensing exam) which is the organic version of the Medical licensing board exam that MDs have to take.  It really is a legit process.

So that leaves only four schools in the country that are CNME accredited and they are NO WHERE near Florence, Alabama. The four are Bastyr University in Seattle, National College of Nautropathic Medicine in Portland, Southwest College of Nautropathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona, and University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, CT. I am a wife of a man who is making his career in Florence. How do I reconcile my dreams of being an ND with the life I currently have, while still being a submissive wife?? I’m not sure. It’s hard sometimes. I get mad at God about it sometimes. But that’s the thorn in my flesh. I’m a gypsy. I want to be the doctor kind of gypsy that travels around healing people with herbs and a better diet. Being stuck in the buckle of the Bible belt, thousands of miles away from the education I would like to have is not ideal.But it’s my reality.

So I’m asking for help: Do any of you have any good ideas of how I could make this work? How can I be a good wife, a good mom, and a good medical school student in Portland, or Seattle, or Bridgeport? Has anybody made teleportation work yet? And, how can we even afford the costs of medical school (ND school costs about the same as MD school)??

Any and all suggestions will be welcome. And if your suggestion happens to be “Sorry Laura, you can’t get what you want in life” then So and So be it.