What if there is an option that does not cause side effects?
If you’ve taken pharmaceutical drugs, you may have noticed a common theme: side effects. Consider all the pharmaceutical advertisements you’ve seen on TV, and how the narrator drones on about possible side effects may include, but are not limited to…
The most popular medications on the market, including antibiotics and antidepressants, lead to side-effects in our bodies and even in our future offspring. These side-effects reach beyond our own bodies, because the non-biodegradable quality of drugs negatively impacts our water and soil.
What if there were alternative methods of healing that did not cause side effects? What if we could treat cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, depression, ADD, and autism without drugs?
To create widespread and side-effect-free health solutions, we need to identify and debunk the false assumptions that hold back progress in the field of healthcare.
There are five false assumptions that govern most institutions of Western Medicine:
- “Science is unbiased.”
- “We can change a part without changing the whole.”
- “Objective scientific instruments are the only valid way to understand the world.”
- “We can understand the objective nature of the world through scientific experiments.”
- “We’ve already discovered all the Blues.”
My healing and spiritual journey led me to identify and challenge these assumptions of our medical paradigm. First, the pharmaceutical approach thoroughly failed me, and I turned to the “unscientific” healing modalities of nutrition and energy medicine. Then, I had a series of spiritual experiences that were not explained by conventional science.
These experiences stirred a soul-deep mission in me to share a new mindset of healing, one based on the integration and energetic qualities of our world. This new mindset is how I believe we can heal ourselves and our planet in the coming centuries, but we’ve got to search beyond the stagnant boundaries of science to get there.
Assumption 1: Science is unbiased.
Science as Process refers to using the scientific method to examine and understand our world. This scientific approach allowed the discovery of everything from a round earth to our DNA, and inherently encourages questions rather than answers.
Science as Industry is often more religion than regimen for analysis. It is joined at the hip with the financial interests of politicians, Big Pharma, and profit-oriented universities. All too frequently, Science as Industry establishes certainty through skewed data, with the purpose of altering our behavior for profit.
As with any other fundamentalist worldview, Science as Industry often feeds on the blind faith of followers and breeds condescension for any other worldview.
Many consumers believe that scientific institutions are trustworthy sources of facts. When asked why, “Because… it’s science,” is their reasoning. These individuals confuse Science as Process with Science as Industry.
Consider this statement from Arnold Seymour Relman, Harvard Professor of Medicine and Former Editor-in-Chief of the New England Medical Journal
The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.
Pardon the irony, but there are also studies that show most scientific studies cannot be replicated. And the main purpose of studies are to have reproducible results. Funding bias, however, can create carefully curated data that eludes replication.
Non-industry funded research does not support the agenda of Big Pharma, and so this research occur less frequently. After all, who wants to invest in the safety of consumers when there is no money to be made?
Assumption 2: We can change a part without changing a whole
Western Medicine considers one part of the human body, for example the heart, an independent variable, separate from the rest of the body and our environment. This fallacy is called reductionism. Reductionism is a relic of the 17th century, influenced by the concept that the human body may be like a machine.
A change in a part always causes a change in the whole. The human body, and the planet, are systems so complex that we cannot hope to predict the consequences of one action. But when our actions are thoroughly disharmonious with our evolution and our biology, what can we expect but disastrous repercussions?
For example, consider the fact that plants communicate with serotonin. Yes, serotonin is a hormone we share with our evolutionary ancestors and is integral to plant life. When the pharmaceutical industry began to heavily market antidepressants, many people artificially increased their levels of serotonin. An author and speaker on plant medicine, Stephen Harrod Buhr hypothesizes that this led to increased serotonin being excreted into our ecosystem, disrupting the growth and hormone balance of plant life.
What’s an alternative? If we look at the healing approaches from ancient wisdom traditions, we learn that the whole can be changed to heal a part.
Traditional healers would consider a health symptom a result of community, emotional, and spiritual influences. The healer would cure the symptom by orchestrating change in the whole emotions/consciousness/spirituality of the person.
In the case of depression, we know that the primary cause is inflammation, which is successfully addressed by a nourishing diet. So rather than working at the isolated level of serotonin in our brains’ synapses, we can consider how to change the bigger picture.
We can, for example, integrate a sustainable approach to food production. This leads to healthful meals and stronger community and time spent in the fresh air… aspects proven to reduce depression.
Assumption 3: Objective scientific instruments are the only valid way to understand the world.
Our feelings, intuition, and senses are a valid way to understand the world. As a matter of fact, our felt sense can be more accurate and reliable than scientific instruments.
The world is a symphony. If we examine each note of the symphony individually, as is the reductionist approach, we lose the music.
Remember the last time a beautiful piece of music suspended time for you. Maybe you felt your heart swell and rise up to your throat, and maybe you felt tears gather. You had an experience of life that superseded the analytical explanations of neurotransmitter interactions.
Likewise, consider the experience of neuroscientist Jill Bolt Taylor, who described the experience of Universal Unity she felt during a stroke. She felt the reality that is not yet measured by machines, but is known by poets and mystics and lovers and artists.
Experiences of intuition, unity, compassion, love, and inspiration are the Universe’s Music that cannot be measured by scientific machines. This music, often flattened into meaninglessness through the scientific lens, must felt and understood in the body.
After all, the human body has evolved for 300 billion years in concert with our environment. We would not have survived if our biology couldn’t accurately sense, predict and adapt to our world.
Philosopher and author Nassim Taleb identifies how our cultural reliance on scientific data, rather than inherited wisdom, may have fueled the crises of our time:
With psychology papers replicating less than 40%, dietary advice reversing after 30 years of fatphobia, macroeconomic analysis working worse than astrology, the appointment of Bernanke who was less than clueless of the risks, and pharmaceutical trials replicating at best only 1/3 of the time, people are perfectly entitled to rely on their own ancestral instinct and listen to their grandmothers.
Assumption 4: We can understand the objective nature of the world through scientific experiments.
Both Science as Industry and Science as Process assumes we can objectively conduct studies. But the act of observing can radically change that which we observe. Perhaps there is no such thing as neutrality or objectivity in conducting a scientific experiment.
Here’s what we know from quantum physics: at the level of the smallest parts of reality, all that exists are waves of energy without a decided form. The act of observation transforms the wave into an atomic particle with which we can perceive and interact.
We don’t exactly know what quantum physics means at the macro level of physical objects, but it’s likely that our observation of reality influences reality.
What if the insistent presence of human expectation influences our scientific experiments and even our model of the world? We have many examples of this from the field of science.
- Studies by Dr. William Braud showed that human intention can change the direction of fish swimming in a tank, can speed up gerbils on a wheel, and can effect the rate of cell death in red blood cells.
- Biologist Carrol Nash showed that human intention can influence the growth rate of bacteria
- Biologist Gernard Grad showed that intentional healing can effect the growth rate of plants
- Physicist Dr. William Tiller found that human intention can change the acidity of water, the activity of enzymes, and the growth rate of fly larvae
- The placebo effect shows that our expectations change our physiological response. Double-blind, placebo-controlled research published in the Lancet shows even our doctor’s expectations influence how a participant responds to a drug or placebo.
We can no longer assume that scientific study remains uninfluenced by our beliefs, observations, and expectations. For these study citations and much more like them, please see the books The Field and Mind Over Medicine.
Assumption 5: We’ve already discovered all the Blues.
Imagine this: Ancient cultures likely didn’t see the color blue because they didn’t have a word for it. Ancient Icelandic, Hindu, Chinese, Arabic and Hebrew texts have no mention of the color blue.
Researchers found a tribe in Africa that still does not have a word for the color blue. When presented with a screen of green and blue squares, the tribal members could not see any difference.
We humans frequently miss entire spectrums of reality that are right in front of our nose. For example, we didn’t even know electromagnetic frequencies existed and could be harnessed for communication until the last century.
There likely exist countless Blues in the world which we do not perceive, because our language and cultures determines what information our brain processes. The term sensory-gating describes the phenomenon of our unconscious mind sifting out different aspects of reality.
For example, Western culture at large lacks the language and presuppositions for the metaphysical spectrum of reality. Subtle energies and various forms of consciousness are commonly perceived in Wisdom Traditions but not our modern world.
Our beliefs determine what we see in the world, at a very physical level. Perhaps we need to first change our beliefs, in order to perceive new options for healing.
This post is dedicated to two types of people
First, I dedicate it to all the individuals who have ever commented on my website or Facebook page and said something, “Energy medicine? The GAPS Diet? Acupuncture? You’re just pushing pseudoscience, and I can prove it, because science says…”
And second, I dedicate this post to those who, like me, pursue alternative healing modalities and are challenged by people who maintain blind faith in Science as Industry.
Now, when someone tells you, “Science says your health treatment is pseudoscience,” you can say…
Here’s something to think about: reductionism is SO 1600s, intuition is a valid measurement device, the observer matters, we don’t know all the blues, and science has bias’ too.
And then you can, if you wish, drop the mic for effect. BOOM.
In college a few years ago, I took a world mythology class. We discussed how science is a mythology (I use that term in the meaning of a culture’s narrative of Reality), and how objectivity is not truly possible, even in science. The scientist cannot help but bring their own personal experiences and biases into science. I found these discussions intriguing because we as a culture tend to blindly believe science as the one true way without ever questioning the motives of those bringing us the science. I love this post because you are doing just that! And I love that you are encouraging people to listen to their intuition. Too often we ignore the wisdom within us and suffer for it. Fantastic post!