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The Practical Herbalist

Are Patients Ready?

Science is all about discovery and redefining what is known about the world and how it works. Many people seem to think that science is about defining an absolute truth and want things to be very black and white. They want things to be clearly good or bad, one right answer, no ambiguity. Life just doesn't work that way. Medicine particularly does not work that way. This can create an uncomfortable situation for many patients who find themselves seeking out alternative medicines.

In our culture biomedical medicine is presented as the only way of looking at the function of the body. Many alternative medical options arrive at different answers, not because of some magic or mystical system, but rather a very simple process of taking the information about the patient and arranging it differently and arriving at a different conclusion. An example I use in lectures is measurement using English units verses metric units. If I measure something in one system and it comes out to a nice easy to use whole number, it is likely to be a difficult to use decimal or fraction in the other system. The object being measured has not changed, but by changing the definition, how the situation is understood, has been changed.

Many people are not ready for this shift in thinking. To them there is only one way to measure and think about things. They quite often fear alternative medicine because they feel that if it works, then it contradicts how they see the world. That view of the world was shaped by many people that they trust. In a black and white view of the world, that means that those trusted people were wrong. Some people do not want to face that.
Change can be difficult. Different systems are not wrong or right, they just are different ways of describing the what is going on. We have to realize that there is more than one way to describe our world and that having lots of ways of looking at things benefits us all.

David Bock

This article was from David's LakeCountryOnline.com column, "The Practical Herbalist"

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David Bock, C. Ac., Dipl. OM, FABORM
Wisconsin Certified Acupuncturist
National Board Certification in Oriental Medicine
Fellow American Board Of Oriental Reproductive Medicine

Bock Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine
888 Thackeray Trail #206
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin 53066