The complex traditional medicines of other cultures and the past have generally not created false distinctions between body and mind. The system of medical thinking which dominates the United States has its origins in a 19th century view of how the body functions. Little was known or theorized about the neuroendocrine system, and physicians trained in this country over the past 50 years have tended to specialize into an antiquated categorization of workroles. These categories are no longer scientifically or clinically justified, but enormous economic investment has been made into this structure of theory and practice, as well as even more enormous investments of ego. For this reason, it is unlikely that a challenge to the present medical industrial complex will make much progress.
Techniques that have stood the tests of time and patient acceptance in other cultures are often rejected because they are unfamiliar and strange to physicians increasingly trained in a narrow industrialized model of medical care.
Patients have found that integrative medical techniques such as acupuncture, moxibustion, tuina, and meditation have been useful in situations where drugs, surgery and standard Western treatments have been limited or ineffective. Despite the fact that most holistic treatments are not covered by insurance, those suffering from chronic pain and complex problems have increasingly sought out practitioners of Chinese medicine, Japanese medicine, or doctors who are trained in meditation and Oriental spiritual traditions.
When I have taught my electives on Japanese or Tibetan medicine at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, I define medicine as the "science, art, and craft of understanding suffering, its causes, and its remedies". Having studied with some of the greatest living physicians of the West and East, I can assure you that no medicine can solve all problems, but also that effective techniques of diagnosis and therapy exist in each.
So, effective techniques which relieve suffering, regardless of their origins, are correctly considered "medicine", and those which do not, are correctly seen as "not-medicine". Whether the source of the physician's edification and the patient's relief is French, Arabic, Persian, Chinese, or Tibetan matters not at all.
The traditional medicines which developed in Africa, Asia, India, and Tibet are self contained systems with their own diagnostic criteria, pathophysiologic classification, and treatment regimens. Modern Western disease categories and theories are not directly translatable into traditional concepts, so it is more correct to understand that each medical problem needs to be diagnosed in the traditional system and appropriate traditional remedies be applied for the best results.
In this way, even complex disorders of headache, neck, shoulder, knee and back pain, as well as digestive disorders, arthritis, conditions causing fatigue, stress, and emotional imbalances can be treated.
As in all relationships, the patient physician relationship evolves over a period of time, and requires effort by both the physician and the patient. Modern pressures to find a new doctor or clinic every few years because of changes in insurance and employment have weakened any chance that a long term therapeutic relationship can be established.
Dr. L.B. Grotte, M.D., was the first physician in Ohio to be board certified in both acupuncture and Chinese herbology. He has studied Oriental medicine since 1972 and has practiced Oriental medicine in Cleveland since 1980. Our small practice specializes in creating individualized treatment plans combining Western and Chinese medicine. Call us at 440-461-7488 to make an appointment or visit our website for more information.