Oriental medicine’s view of health, disease, medicine, and even death is quite different from that of Western medicine. Cancer is a great example of the stark contrast.
The Gospel of Cancer
In conventional medicine, cancer is considered a diagnosis. Realistically, it’s more like a sentence, but they call it a diagnosis. Conventional medicine is not particularly interested in how you got the cancer. They’re focused on heroic and very expensive ways to keep you from dying (in fact, this is the overruling mindset of allopathic medicine in general — more on that in a future post). You could say Western medicine has a death grip on not dying.
If you are ‘diagnosed’ with cancer, you are told that you MUST subject yourself to invasive and highly toxic treatments to ‘kill’ the cancer — or you will die. American doctors assume — to put it nicely — that no one will question this course of action.
These procedures will largely annihilate your immune system, if not kill you. For some reason, Americans obediently line up for these primitive treatments. Given abysmal success rates, such willingness can only be attributed to two things: fear, and an irrational belief in Western medicine.
This might be a good time to talk about a word the medical establishment loves to use when trying to establish a corner on the market of reality: placebo.
Ironically, studies show that 30% of clinical results obtained by conventional medicine is pure placebo. That is to say, Americans have an enculturated belief in Western medicine which provides 30% of therapeutic results from pharmaceutical and even surgical treatment. If you’re behind in your placebo research, the following four articles may well ruffle your belief system: 1, 2, 3, 4
But my point is twofold:
1. Americans’ trust in Western medicine is based on culturally engrained faith, not on clinical results. If statistics on efficacy were understood by the public, reasonable individuals would have turned their backs on MDs and Big Pharma long before they established themselves as God.
2. Oriental Medicine works at a 30% disadvantage in the West. That is, Oriental Medicine must be effective enough to outperform a 30% placebo advantage held by Western medicine in the minds of Western clients — even those who give lip service to Oriental Medicine. And it does this, repeatedly, day after day.
Yet watch a Western client who is getting treatment from a DOM when they discover they have a condition which scares them. They run to Big Daddy — every time — regardless of efficacy, regardless of reason, regardless of outcome.
It’s what they believe in.
But we’re not finished with cancer treatment in the US. If your assaulted body happens to survive Western treatment, survival rates after treatment average a few extra months of an extremely low quality of life. Sadly, most Americans faced with that decision, make just such a choice. I say sadly, because it’s a rather horrifying statement on the quality of most people’s lives.
If you’re still standing when they’re finished with you, you’re sent out the door with nothing more than, “Good Luck!” Nothing will have been done to change the conditions in your body or your life which allowed the cancer to manifest in the first place. Nothing. Good luck, indeed.
As for the values of Big Medicine and Big Pharma, it’s not difficult to perceive where those lie. Cancer is BIG business. Unimaginably big business. And those who profit from it are extremely protective of their monopoly on this morbid market. Anyone who threatens, or is simply outside the ‘club’, is attacked, persecuted, and driven out of the country, into jail, or poverty.
Nonetheless, there are those outside the inner circle who are willing to offer intelligent, effective treatment for those who so choose.
View From the Orient
In Oriental Medicine, cancer is a symptom. A diagnosis must be made by examining how the cancer manifests, what it ‘looks’ like, how it feels. The systemic conditions which enable the existence of these particular manifestations, and the diet, outlook, and habits which support the process — in this particular cancer, in this particular patient — must be understood. These compose the diagnosis, because they are the cause of the symptom — cancer. And correcting those imbalances is the primary method for treating the patient.
Or, if you are cancer-free and retain the services of a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, you are already working to harmonize all imbalances all the time, in order to avoid surprises like cancer.
The illusion that someone suddenly develops cancer is a myth. Cancer takes a long time and a lot of encouragement to manifest as a lethal disease. Someone who discovers they have pancreatic cancer and succumbs to it within a few weeks initiated the process and unknowingly developed that cancer for a long time prior to their sudden ‘diagnosis’ and demise.
I am reminded of an MD who experienced this scenario with liver cancer. I actually heard him say, “This isn’t fair! I ate my fiber.” Despite the fact that he was a runner, he had one of the most death-promoting diets I’ve seen. This is a pretty typical reflection of conventional medicine’s insight into cancer and health.
No, cancer has a multiplicity of specific causes, and it takes time and diligence to develop a life-threatening disease of it. Cancer is a process which continually seeks an avenue of expression in our bodies. The typical American diet and addictions give that process plenty of opportunity. We either nurture the disease process, or we nurture vibrant health. We’re never standing still.
Once the Doctor of Oriental Medicine (DOM) has determined a meaningful diagnosis, treatment begins. It consists of many facets. Components nearly always include appropriate dietary corrections, Chinese herbal medicine, and acupuncture. These are key modalities for managing pathological factors, and imbalances, including dilemmas of modern life, such as blood sugar metabolism, hepatic metabolism, fatty acid metabolism, allergies, and toxicity. These things have different names in Oriental medicine, and those names encompass a much broader perspective of the phenomena.
Modern methods of powerfully expressing Oriental Medicine’s principles may include intravenous therapies such as mega-dose Vitamin C or hydrogen peroxide. These modalities are widely favored by patients who aspire to something beyond Western medicine’s regimen.
The entire orchestration is precisely tailored to the particular individual and their condition. And it’s likely to include modalities far beyond what’s listed above.
Perhaps the most challenging task of the DOM is, in fact, the orchestration — the proper sequence and coordination of these procedures at the appropriate time.
Yes, there are substances in the Chinese pharmacopeia with the capacity to halt cancer’s evolution, but equally important are the components required to resolve other pathogenic factors and correct imbalances. The name of the game is harmonizing the entire organism, keeping it strong and resilient in the face of adversity.
While a few of these efforts are specifically aimed at suppressing the cancer process, all of them are contributing to building all levels of the individual’s health — physical, mental, emotional. Spiritual health is very personal, and it’s a touchy subject in the West, so it’s importance is emphasized, but not proselytized.
In Oriental Medicine, nothing is overlooked, because everything influences a phenomenon like human life — including the resolution of cancer. In case it’s not obvious by now, if we haven’t begun to get serious about our health until we’ve received the sentence of cancer, we’re getting a very late start.
Can we outcreate cancer with Oriental Medicine? Certainly, but that’s ultimately determined by our fate karma. And how long have we waited to start treatment? Is Oriental Medicine our last resort? Or have we been using it all along to support good health?
Yes, recoveries happen. ‘Miracles’ occur in both life and death. Beautiful experiences can also be had by those who ultimately die, simply because their health has been so well supported. Quality of life at its end is a precious commodity — for both the dying and those left behind. I’ve seen its presence facilitate a parting not otherwise possible.
More to the point, do we want to be healthy? How much value do we place on that objective? How much competition does it receive from our physical desires and habits — our pressing agendas or our laziness? How much respect do we show our physical vehicle?
To the casual observer, there may appear to be no difference between the attitude of wanting to beat cancer and the attitude of desiring good health. In reality, there are universes of difference between the two. And our choice of attitude determines all — including whether or not we ‘beat’ cancer.