I am proud to be an integrative physician. Many patients ask me “what exactly does that term mean”? If you are an integrative physician you use standard medical methods when they are called for, and you are also willing and able to supplement them with a wide variety of effective complementary modalities.
Finding new modalities to incorporate in your practice requires experimentation.
Patients often ask me how I go about determining what works and what does not in medicine.
STANDARD COVENTIONAL MEDICINE RESEARCH:
In standard conventional medicine, research rules. It is usually based on what is called double-blind placebo-controlled research. This means two fairly large groups of people are given the active treatment or placebo, then statisticians evaluate the data and figure out if there is a difference between groups.
Next a new set of researchers review and possibly repeat the same study, and it becomes what the industry terms as “peer reviewed”. One would think, this is a no-brainer: if the stats are good, then it means the research is valid. But not so fast! In many cases, it is, but sometimes desire for profit takes over good ethics and judgement and data are manipulated to make results look better than they are.
RESEARCH MONEY IS SPENT WISELY: This sort of good research is very expensive, so it is usually done only when it can result in significant profit, for instance. when developing a new drug expected to do well (like Viagra), or some high-tech medical device.
No company will spend this kind of money just out of the goodness of their heart. Therefore, few things already available for cheap will ever be studied as medical treatments. So, what do we do if we want to try using them in medicine? We experiment.
How do we go about experimenting in medicine in a safe way?
When doing medical experiments on people, one can use “proper” protocols developed by special committees tasked with making sure all experiments are ethical, etc. Good luck with that!
I remember one such project I was involved in a couple years ago. Some people well known in integrative community decided to run a study at an academic center to find out if homeopathy works with Covid. As a homeopath, I knew it worked and was using it rather successfully already (see our website on that: www.flusolution.net).
But getting a “proper” study out would have been great for PR, so I got involved. Well, we talked for months, and it never went anywhere. What a waste of time and effort! In hindsight, we should have designed the study ourselves, not bothering with the academic center and the committee. Bypassing these two entities would have allowed us to get it done.
The ethical considerations: Some people would say that this approach would not be ethical, but I disagree. The first thing you need to be sure of when experimenting with a method, is that it is inherently safe. If there is no possible way it can harm a person, it can and should be tried. The upside of such informal research can be great.
An interesting case study: Twenty years ago, my dad developed knee pain. I got an MRI, and we found some damage to the underside of his patella. An orthopedist told me he may need arthroscopic surgery. Around the same time my brother got a bunch of used hard drive magnets from ebay to play with. He showed them to me at our Thanksgiving gathering and I had a crazy idea.We taped one of them on dad’s knee. It took about a week or two for the pain to be completely gone. Then he took the magnet off. It never came back. I’d heard of magnets used in medicine before, and actually used them myself. My grandmother, a physician in Russia, told me a magnetic bracelet helped her with some abdominal pains. Later, while in medical school, I tried a similar bracelet myself for a duodenal ulcer and it healed up fairly quickly.
Following our experiment with my dad’s knee I bought a bunch of magnets from ebay and started experimenting on my patients. I can imagine that some people reading this would be opposed to the idea of such unsupervised experimentation. But again, I disagree because I know that used correctly the magnets are safe. Recently I wanted to try out a magnetic bracelet for some symptoms again and bought one on Amazon. It improved my sleep quite a bit. You never know what it may help with.
MAGNET PURCHASE INFORMATION
Hard drive magnets on ebay (one of many listings)
Warning on the hard drive magnets: these magnets are so strong that they can pinch your skin badly if not careful!
Over the years I carried out many medical experiments; those proving successful added modalities to my practice.
Weight loss: One great example of an experimental modality was that I was the first patient in my weight loss practice using NeuroResearch Protocol 25 years ago. This protocol has helped many of my patients to lose weight and get happier, and I am still on it now in order to maintain my trim figure (especially handy for my unfortunately infrequent appearances on the beach.)
Homeopathy: My grandma was the first patient in my homeopathic practice: https://www.bookonhealing.com/the-book-demystifying-homeopathy/my-conversion-accepting-the-impossible-2/
Medical cannabis: One of my more impactful “medical experiments” ended up being a large part of my practice in the last few years. In 2015, when medical cannabis became legal in Minnesota, I was visited by a representative of Green Goods, who needed to find doctors willing to certify patients for the program. At the time, most doctors’ answer to their request was: “not enough research”. Well, duh! How does one do enough research on a substance not allowed by the Federal Government to be used in research?
The Green Goods representatives convinced me that medical cannabis was safe and I agreed to experiment. Eight years and over 4,000 patients later I am still blown away by the beneficial impact of this medication. And I get blessed by my happy patients on a regular basis, which adds to the fun!
So, the “moral of the story” is that experimentation is good, and we should do more of it. As long as we are sure it is safe!
Recent news on medical cannabis which is a great alternative modality
The availability of dried cannabis flower has increased the number of program participants in many states.
Dried flower is a great addition to the program. Other states where it has been added have reported that people who previously bought cannabis flower on the illicit, or illegal, market are now choosing to enroll in/purchase through a regulated medical program. Medical programs provide cannabis that is safer.
Experts can answer your questions and give guidance about your specific situation. Patients get consistent products, so they always know what they are getting.