Alternative Medicine 101
By Jo Mendoza
The term Alternative Medicine is somewhat erroneous since it was already in
effect long before conventional medicine was introduced. Alternative Medicine is
the natural treatment of disease which came before the tech nologically-based
practices of conventional medicine. In this aspect, alternative medicine is
traditional while conventional medicine is relatively new. Nevertheless,
alternative medicine is termed as such since conventional or traditional Western
medicine is the norm that is taught in all the medical schools and applied in most
There is a wide variety of alternative medicine that has accumulated over the
...view middle of the document...
"Taking responsibility for my own health put me in the alternatives business. It
meant replacing white flour with whole-wheat flour, beef with beans, and TV with
work outs at the gym.
But when it came to medical attention for my child, I was as conservative as a
three-piece suit. That's why, when my five year old daughter, Rachael, developed
a tender lump in her chest one and a half years ago, I took her to the best
pediatrician I could find. He examined her and said, ' we need to watch this. Bring
her back in two weeks.'
Telling a mother to wait is as good as telling her to worry. I decided to use the
two weeks to provide my little girl with what the natural way might have to offer. A
friend suggested a doctor of naturopathy, a practitioner trained in using natural
methods to help the body heal itself.
The naturopath's first move was to take such a thorough history that I was
relieved that Rachael was only five. If she'd had any more history than that, we
could have been in the doctor's office all day. After he did a standard exam, he
made his recommendations: Make raw fruits and vegetables the bulk of her diet
for the next 14 days; use poultices made from the herbs mullein and comfrey on
the lump twice a day; and give her the herb E chinacea, a purported immune
All these instructions seemed reasonable. But when he said, “If she were my
child, I'd look into changing her school situation,” I was taken aback. I knew that
the naturopathic approach was deals holistically with people and seeks to
address causes as well as alleviate symptoms, but switching kindergartens was
a lot to ask. Nonetheless, his gentle questioning during the history had brought
lengthy descriptions from Rachael of the painful teasing she'd been getting from
the other children at school.
I decided to follow all of the naturopath's recommendations, including a change in
Rachael's school, effective immediately. Within a few days, the lump, which I