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    They say old dogs can’t learn new tricks. Well, this is a myth; a little time, effort, and prodding from an, um, assertive wife has caused THIS old dog to do handsprings (at least from a mental standpoint)!

    Alternative Remedies and Conventional Medicine

    I’ve spent a good part of the last four years learning how to incorporate alternative remedies into my very conventional medical education. My medical school professors would be spinning in their graves if they knew I was into medicinal gardening, herbs, essential oils, and other “hooey” methods of healing. Yet, in survival, the pharmaceuticals will only last so long; those who rebuild will need a self-sustainable way to produce substances with medicinal benefits. This does not even mention the many benefits of applying a holistic approach to patient care.


    Example of Integrative Medicine Book (and Shameless Plug!)

     What is Integrative Medicine

    Integrative medicine, a term coined by Andrew Weil, M.D. in 1994-5, is the marriage of both conventional and alternative medicine for the purpose of using all the tools in the medical woodshed. For a long time, there was no avenue for medical professionals to seek certification in this new field, somehow placing it in the status of a second-class citizen among medical disciplines.

    The medical establishment has recently taken notice, however. The American board of medical specialties has just announced the development of standards for the eventual certification of integrative medicine as a standard medical specialty. Robert Heinlein once said specialization was for insects, and I mostly agree. This, however, would be a specialty that promotes generality: in addition to learning to do surgery, set a bone, treat pneumonia, etc., the physician would learn how to use herbs and other alternative methods of healing.

    For now, this board certification in integrated medicine is only available to M.D.s and D.O.s. As such, not everyone is happy as chiropractors, naturopaths, and acupuncturists are left out. That’s the bad part, as we must unify all healers to be truly integrative. Yet, established medicine has taken a radical step by validating the methods employed by these practitioners. This would have been unheard-of not long ago.

    The new specialty board has identified its 5 principles for the F.A.B.O.I.M. (Fellow of the American Board Of Integrative Medicine):

    1)A partnership must exist between the patient and the practitioner.

    2)There must be consideration of ALL factors that influence health: mind, body, and spirit.

    3)We must Use both alternative and conventional methods to aid the body’s natural healing process.

    4)There must be consideration of less-invasive measures when addressing disease anytime it is possible to do so.

    5)Medical practice must be based on good science but should also be driven by inquiry and by consideration of new methods to restore and maintain health.

    Will you soon be seeing F.A.B.O.I.M. after my name? I consider myself an integrative medical doctor, but it would be nice to say that I’m “board-certified” in it. Then again, I’m 100 years old and have to watch myself to make sure I don’t drool on my shoes. Also, who wants more academic letters after their name than their name has letters?


    Joe Alton, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., F.A.C.S.

    Aka Dr. Bones


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