By Dr. (Shihan) Mary Bolz
Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Master of Science Oriental Medicine
Bachelor of Science Physical Education, Pre-Physical Therapy
Master Martial Arts Instructor, 6th Degree Black Belt
What has happened to the Hippocratic Oath? This oath is comparable to a Code of Ethics for physicians and was originally written in Ionic Greek, and is believed to have been written by the famous Greek physician, Hippocrates. or by one of his students, and named after him. Hippocrates is famously regarded as the “father” of western medicine. The Hippocratic Oath is one of the most widely known of Greek medical texts. There have been and are many translations of this oath in English and by now is probably quite modernized. Whatever translation one chooses to follow, it does seem that they all include one phrase with the intimation of “I will do no harm.” A translation of one portion of the oath states “I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.” Another, and perhaps more contemporary translation puts the phrase this way, “I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.”
Now, let’s look at the state of the health of the American people, overall. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), the United States ranks number one in the world for total expenditure for health care in proportion to our GDP (gross domestic product. Yet, as Steven A. Schroeder, M.D. wrote in his abstract in the New England Journal of Medicine, “Among the 30 developed nations that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States ranks near the bottom on most standard measures of health status.” The number of people with diabetes mellitus Type II, those with cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, and many other is increasing every year and the rate at which these disease states increase is predicted to rise, even double, within 20 years. More people, than ever before in history, are contracting incurable diseases and are being born with them. The number of obese people in the United States is now officially at 28%. General Electric, one of the largest manufacturers of MRI machines has a found a new market by the need to produce new machines to be able to hold up to 660-pound persons. How proud can we be of that? What kind of way is that to help the economy; we can produce larger MRI machines and more of them, because there are more sick people here.
The more modern medicines we have, the more disease we have. The more modern medicines we have, the more obese and overweight people we have. The more modern medicines we have, the more our nation is in a healthcare crisis. The more money we throw at the health problems and the more research is done for drugs, the worse the diseases become. This should tell us something: The medicine is on the wrong path! The problem with “healthcare,” which is more appropriately termed, “sickcare” is not that people can’t afford it. It is not a matter of health insurance coverage for every American. It is a matter of health itself. Insurance can’t make us well. Insurance can’t make us well because the contemporary medicine can’t make us well. Contemporary allopathic medicine is not only failing to improve our health, it is making us sicker. Medications are over prescribed. Medications are given when not necessary and the dosages given for analgesic narcotics are astounding. Thanks to the over-prescribing of antibiotics, we have more infectious diseases that we cannot control and our own immune systems have become lazy. If something is given immediately to kill off the offending pathogens, our own system can “take a vacation.” The old adage, “use it or lose it” is true. Synthetic and bio-identical thyroid hormone is given, then the thyroid gets lazy and will malfunction even more so. Antihypertensive medication and cholesterol medication prescribing is out of control. There are side effects to all medications: some mild, some moderate, some severe, short and/or long term. Medications need to be taken more seriously by medical professionals; the medical doctors need to realize what powerful poison they are playing with.
What happened to the Hippocratic Oath; dietary advice, do no harm, and Hippocrates’ philosophy, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food?” In Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as other ancient medical practices, it was and is the doctor’s role to be an educator. The doctor should be a teacher and teach her/his patients about the proper foods and way of life to take care of their health. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the medicines are food; they are whole plants which can be eaten as they are, though they are usually cooked into a tea for a medicinal effect. They do not have the side effects like synthetic drugs because nature constructed them. When only active ingredients are selected from plants and animals in nature and then synthesized, that’s when the trouble begins.
We, as a society, have forgotten how to take care of our health. We have forgotten the basics of life well-lived, forgotten the basics of health and happiness. We have been too busy chasing the rainbow of financial stability and success, or perhaps the myth of it. We have forgotten to not only take care of ourselves and our own families, we have forgotten to love and care about our neighbors. Shame on us. Shame on the medical profession, as well. However, we cannot blame only the medicine, we must first and foremost blame ourselves, for, ultimately, we are, each one of us, responsible for our own lives. We cannot eat whatever we want, drink whatever we want, do whatever we want, without thought and deliberation, without suffering the consequences. People unthinkingly eat the “plastic” and mass-produced commodities in the supermarkets and restaurants that are passed off as food. If one looks close, most of what they eat is not food as it exists in nature. They are chemical products. “Products.” That is the key word. Everything is a product in this world, it is not food. And, products are made mostly with the goal of financial gain in mind. Food should be grown, and grown with the thought in the mind of the grower that it is for health and food, and that they can get a reasonable living for offering this food which they have grown. The sincere farmer does think this, but watch Monsanto and Dow and other companies’ salespersons enter the picture. The farmer is told they cannot compete financially unless they use the herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizer. The farmer feels bad. Oh, they cannot afford not to compete! The mega-corporation of chemicals wins again.
In a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal, the title read, “FDA Urged to Speed Approval of Drugs.” It was the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology that urged this. A co-chairman was quoted, “American researchers and companies should be able to accelerate the development of safe and effective drugs while also strengthening the U.S. economy.” We are not seeing too many safe nor effective drugs and how can creating more sick people help our economy in the long run? These are all short-sited and superficial goals. It certainly temporarily helps the pharmaceutical companies economic picture. Since when can a nation’s economic backbone be built on manufacturing companies that are producing medications for the sick? One that has far too many sick people. With so man;y sick people, who will be working and paying taxes to pay for the healthcare system to take care of these people?
Too many medications are prescribed in place of good medical advice on diet and lifestyle. There are too many borderline hypertensive patients being given antihypertensive medication when they should be given advice strictly. The same is true of the statin drugs for the hypercholesterolemia.
It is not necessary that so many people must be on medications for the rest of their lives. This is a myth. The stark reality is, many of these medications are creating more diseases and making the disease for which they are given even worse, in the long term. Let’s take a look at diabetes, adult onset. If these medications are working, why do so many Americans with diabetes go on to complications such as kidney failure, heart disease, infections, amputations? The medicine is certainly not turning the disease around. Statistically, in China diabetics that need amputations or dialysis are 40% less than in America.
In the countryside in China, where the poor folks who cannot afford modern western medicine live, the cancer rates are much lower. Their diet is mostly rice and vegetables with very small amounts of animal protein. They do not go to the doctors regularly, indeed, they rarely go.They are not on medications and they have less incidence of degenerative disease.
Nature was beautifully and perfectly designed. We have fooled around with Mother Nature for too many years now and we are so out of balance because we have put nature out of balance. Everything is upside down. It need not be so. To change that, we must realize that we must go back to nature, go back to the basics, get grounded, look at what the set up of nature and the universe is and try to follow that.
It is not to say that we completely throw out allopathic medicine. It is to say that the entire profession must examine how they are currently handling chronic disease and borderline cases. We should be cutting down on the number of people that need medications in our society, not increasing the number. That means the doctor is not keeping the patient well and is not improving the patient’s health. There needs to be a complete overhaul of the medicine. Perhaps Western medicine should specialize in emergencies and true late stage disease and leave the prevention and chronic disease management to Eastern medicine.
Most degenerative diseases are preventable by a moderate, sensible diet and lifestyle. However, even among people who know this, they do not understand what the diet should be or what real food is. It is the doctor’s role to help the patient understand this and guide them. It is the patient’s role to prevent their own disease and not just want a pill to fix everything that is wrong. There will be more on this topic in the next issue. Please look forward to a continuation of this topic, with references from other deep thinkers on this topic.