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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Blinded By What We Constantly See

One could pour the whole of my knowledge of integrative/functional medicine and alternative healing modalities into a thimble, though I am steadily expanding it. That said, we published 24 articles in Natural Awakenings on those topics in 2017, and none on allopathic medicine.

And while it is true that you, our readers, are more open to integrative medicine and alternative healing than the population at large, we don’t know how much you know about the subject matter or the extent to which you embrace it rather than just are open to it.

I say all this to contrast it with what Natural Awakenings staff members have heard in recent conversations with alternative healthcare providers. As our lead article, “Healing The Hard Stuff ” states, most patients who see these practitioners still seek them out only as a last resort. Doctors and health practitioners tell us that their patients and clients are typically not very knowledgeable about the conditions they can address and the methods they use.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised. Most of us tend to not address issues until they become unavoidable. Still, at least part of the reason people struggle with understanding integrative medicine is because it encompasses so much. Indeed, Jennie Rothenberg Gritz, writing about alternative medicine in a 2015 article in The Atlantic, says that, “After months of speaking to leading integrative doctors and researchers, I found that I was still having trouble summing up exactly what integrative health was all about.”

In her article, Gritz identifies common attributes among integrative practitioners that help us increase our understanding.

I’ve added an item or two to her list and summarize it here:

  • Chronic vs. acute. Mainstream medicine, characterized by surgical and pharmacological solutions, is most successful in addressing acute situations. Integrative medicine is focused on chronic conditions, something that 40 percent of adults over 18 suffer from, according to a 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine.
  • Integrative doctors accept as fact that a life force, prana or chi, powers the body’s ability to heal itself, and that one aspect of their work is to balance and unblock energy. These models do not exist in conventional medicine.
  • Beyond the physical, alternative practitioners support healing by addressing multiple dimensions, including beliefs, attitudes and emotions. They will also, to a much greater degree than allopaths, address diet and nutrition. The bottom line: Patients are encouraged, if not required, to be active participants in their healing.
  • Care and treatment are highly personalized. Integrative doctors typically rely on more diagnostics than allopaths, and it is not unusual for initial appointments to last two or more hours.
In my readings, the one thing worth mentioning that could benefit many readers is to be proactive. Chronic conditions and many acute situations manifest after years of poor habits and/or neglect. Seek out an integrative doctor, naturopath, acupuncturist or widely educated chiropractor for a wellness visit. It won’t be inexpensive upfront, but it will probably save much pain and money down the road. And it may add years of healthy living to your life.

New Managing Editor

With this issue we welcome Diane Eaton as our new Managing Editor!

Diane is a longtime professional writer of wide experience, including as a senior writer for Apple Computer.

She has written many magazine articles, including several for the fabulous, locally published Conscious Life Journal. She is a professional author, ghostwriter, copywriter and book editor as well.

Diane is deeply interested in the scope of topics and issues that Natural Awakenings covers. She brings a provider perspective — she and her husband founded Desert

Canyon Treatment Center, which operated for 12 years in Sedona, Arizona. The center was home to a residential addiction treatment program that pioneered the use of holistic wellness approaches, including yoga, meditation and nutrition.

I look forward to the many ways in which Diane’s creative energy will build upon the outstanding foundation that our former managing editor, Sarah Buehrle, laid this past year. We are always striving to improve. To that end, please email Diane, at [email protected], with your thoughts about the stories you’ve read and with your suggestions about stories you’d like to see in print.

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