We all know what it feels like to be suspicious of the conventional medical system.
African Americans, in particular, have been for decades about racism within the health care system and how they feel it impacts their medical care. Acclaimed tennis pro Serena Williams recently shared in the media how her underlying health condition could have killed her when she was giving birth if she hadn’t advocated for herself.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that black women in the United States are more than three times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes. They aren’t alone in their skepticism, either. Regardless of race or background, many people — particularly Millennials — look at doctors with one eyebrow raised. As a result, the millennial generation is responsible for a renewed interest in more natural approaches to personal wellness.
But don’t be too quick to throw out conventional medicine. Let’s remember that at the turn of the 20th century, the average person died in their mid 30s. Because of evidence-based research, cutting-edge technologies and medications, people nowadays typically live well into their 70s and 80s.
While we still need to strive for equity within our health care systems, the scientific leaps and bounds that have been made throughout the decades are truly astonishing. With advanced medicine at doctors’ fingertips, why then do some patients want to revert back to ancient, traditional ways of healing?
The return to naturopathy, midwifery and alternative care methods has been popping up often on social media. That prompts the question: What is the best course for medical care?
The answer may not be so black and white.
“In becoming so medically focused, we may have forgotten to treat the whole person while we’ve been focusing on treating individual parts of disease,” said Dr. Vonda Wright, founder and CEO of Women’s Health Conversations. “In the new age of medicine where we have the potential to build prevention programs that are specific to an individual‘s DNA, we have the ability to return to treating the whole person while reinventing medicine to include elements for integration of the mind, body and spirit.”
Sometimes, medicine alone is not always the best medicine. Instead, pulling from traditional medicine and infusing it with additional care (think chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, medical marijuana, mental health therapy and other treatments) can enhance your current wellness journey. Just make sure it’s monitored by your health care professional.
“I always say that the best medicine is often retaining mobility, enhancing nutrition, or creating a healthy, positive mindset,” Dr. Wright said. “In the new age of medicine, we need to focus on the entire person. When you do, suddenly medicine becomes personalized and it’s true, there’s no one pill for that.”
And perhaps, that is a very good thing.