Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Health Headlines This Week

“The Appendix Has a Purpose After All”
Well I had to chuckle at this one. I love what tax dollars and grant money get spent on. The Duke University Medical School findings feel like a kid that runs into the house exclaiming with excitement about the epiphany they have had – and the parents and grandparents are looking at him “Well yes, that’s true Jimmy (duh!)”. The article reports, “The appendix, long thought a useless organ, actually grows and protects good germs for your gut, according to a new theory.”

The study shows general human arrogance by assuming that just because we haven’t figured out the significance or purpose of a body part means that it has no value or import.

It further illustrates the arrogance of western, allopathic medicine to presume that no other medical theory or system in the world has any relevance except theirs until they prove something. I have news for them – this study and finding is NOT news to thousands of western trained Naturopathic doctors. It is NOT news to practitioners trained in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It is NOT news to practitioners trained in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for 5000-plus years. It is NOT news to millions of people who live around the globe and practice what the World Health Organization (WHO) calls “Traditional Medicine” – medical practices based on ancient knowledge of the body, earth and plants.

The article says that CDC figures show that between 300-400 Americans die of appendicitis each year, and that the rate in other countries is lower. While these people did ultimately die from a ruptured appendix, our medical system should be looking at the greater causes. In this modern, industrialized and “developed” era, we have thousands of environmental toxins – chemicals, heavy metals and nutrient-poor food. We don’t spend time outdoors, we shun manual labor – in short we lead lives that our bodies were not designed for. Why don’t we shift our medical screening tests to include toxin-screens, heavy metals testing, as well as education and support about healthy nutrition and food choices. Why doesn’t the money spent on studies like these get directed instead to making truly fresh, wholesome food more readily available to more people.

This may come as a surprise, but in Europe, where Naturopathic and Biological medicine have been practiced without interruption and persecution, the importance of a healthy digestive system is seen foundational to the health of the whole body. The medical orientation of both Naturopathic and Biological medicine is to work with the body’s resources not against them, using diet, plant-based remedies, and treatments to stimulate healthy bacteria and proper assimilation to treat both minor and major illnesses.

The article concludes with the quote, “I’ll bet eventually we’ll find the same sort of thing with the tonsils.” I don’t want to burst their bubble, or make them feel left out, but let me whisper in your ear, “The others already have.”

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