This is a letter that I’ve sent in response to an article written by Samantha Turnbull (ABC online news) this morning. A link to the article is below the letter.
How my heart aches just a little bit more every time I read an article like yours.
I have spent the last 14 years working as a counsellor (and most of that in addictions), and what I am seeing is a rapid decline in the general mental and physical health of our communities. What I am also witnessing is that it doesn’t matter how much more money or scientific evidence we throw at the modern systems of medicine, they just aren’t working and they are buckling under the burden of expectation we have lofted onto them for the last 70 or so years… and we will not be able to afford it for too much longer. We have never been sicker as a population.
We need to approach our health question differently, all of us that is, you included. You appear to be buying into the argument that one stream of medicine is better than the other, and this therefore assumes that people like me (who use and believe in both) are idiots for embracing anything “alternative” and that we are constantly being hoodwinked by an industry that doesn’t know its a*** from its elbow. It is so insulting! And all the while people are missing out on what will become best practice in the future, a collaboration between the two.
What I would love to see and hear from reporters like you is a story that has people who have real power in the health world, like Professor Dwyer, say “tell me more, Professor Myers, I am open to knowing what you and your colleagues have found”, not several derogatory ,disrespectful and reductionist remarks in an article with a slant that sets out to lampoon a professor and his organisation who are looking for real change and to imply that they are incompetent. This doesn’t improve our national health one iota.
How about taking up Professor Myers’ argument that there is plenty of supporting evidence that should have been included in the NHMRC’s review of Naturopathy. WHY wasn’t it? If it was flawed, would not that become self-evident? Tens of thousands of Australians use complementary therapies, firstly because they work and secondly because they feel that the medical model can no longer see the forest for the trees and maybe, just maybe, there is something to be learnt from treating the body in an holistic manner rather than as the bits and pieces we’ve been reduced to.
I am interested in what motivates journalists like yourself to continue to ignore the huge body of evidence that is available that clearly shows that what is happening in the medical world is not working. Is it fear of stepping outside the square? What a shame, as there are thousands (yes thousands) of wonderful health professionals in Australia taking that risk every day despite the scorn, anger and lack of support associated with being outside the square. They know through experience and through positive outcomes for their patients that they are making a difference, and isn’t that the reason for being a healthcare professional? There is a fundamental truth in that.
This shouldn’t be a competition, and yet the media and this article seem intent on making it so. People’s lives are at stake every minute of the day. My colleagues (from a whole range of modalities, including medical doctors) and I could provide plenty of evidence of incompetence on both sides with life and death consequences, and I could provide plenty of evidence again on both sides of real healing and wellness because a practitioner was true to the oath they took when they cast their hat into the healthcare arena.
On a personal level, I wouldn’t be alive today were it not for some very skilled doctors when I was a young child. Equally I wouldn’t be the person I am now without the assistance of some very capable complementary practitioners who diagnosed and helped me through the resultant PTSD as an adult.
Please take a look around and catch up with what is already happening at the grassroots level in our communities, and it’s happening for a very good reason. The general population doesn’t lack intelligence. Dig deeper into the wellness side of healthcare. Thousands of us have, and we don’t have any problem marrying the two worlds together, and we are hungry for good solid truthful journalism that gives equal weight to both sides.
I am not associated with anyone in your article.
Naturopathy defended in ‘world-first’ study, but critics question university’s credibility