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A Legacy of Healing
The Role of Nutrition, Chiropractic and Other Alternative Therapies in Self-Healing
By Christopher J. Amoruso, Angelo C. Rose
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2016 Dr. Angelo Rose; Dr. Christopher Amoruso
All rights reserved.
The Politics of Corruption, Whom Do We Trust?
Today the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries have unprecedented power over the medical establishment and its principles of practice. Sadly, they also have a stranglehold on government. Their power also pervades the scholastic system, even esteemed universities like Harvard. Let me correct that, especially revered universities like Harvard. Take a walk on the Harvard campus and look at the names on some of the buildings. Donations come with a price, and the price is cooperation with the donor's agenda. The agenda of donor companies is to make money. This trickles down to the curriculum, what is taught, what products are endorsed and who are placed in positions of power. If you are skeptical, ponder this. On March 2, 2009 The New York Times published an article titled "Harvard Medical School in Ethics Quandry" by Duff Wilson, about a growing number of students concerned about the revolving door and conflicts of interest between Big Pharma and Harvard professors. The following is a summary of that article.
A Harvard Medical School student named Matt Zerden became concerned about the possible conflict of interest present between one of his professors and the pharmaceutical industry. Zerden's concern began when the professor, while lauding the benefits associated with cholesterol drugs, refused to address their dangerous side effects. Students who questioned this issue seemed to be belittled or treated with disdain. Zerden, doing his own diligent research, discovered that this professor was not only a full-time member of the Harvard Medical faculty, but was simultaneously being paid as a consultant to 10 drug companies, half of whom were makers of these very cholesterol drugs.
The information brought to light by Zerden's research began to grow into a movement at Harvard to push back against this corporate, higher education, conflict of interest. Soon, over 200 Harvard Medical School students and faculty had formed a coalition to expose and confront the influence of the pharmaceutical industry in the classroom and in research laboratories. The coalition's main concern was that money used to build Harvard's Medical School into a world-renowned facility was affecting its curriculum.
The article goes on to say that students expressed concern at the F grade received by Harvard from the American Medical Student Association, a national group that rates medical schools on how well they monitor and control monies received from industry and special interests.
Information on this kind of collusion should not surprise us. We need not look only at Harvard to realize that the corrupt tentacles of the pharmaceutical industry run deep in our society. An internet search of Cabinet members appointed by recent presidents reveals a revolving door in which high-ranking members of our governing institutions have held positions of authority on the boards of top pharmaceutical companies and vice versa. The influence of money and power in the field of medical education should give us reason to pause and to question the consequences of this conflict of interest for public health.
Books have been written on this topic. The information is there if one is willing to search for it.
A History Lesson: The Error of Our Ways
My point in the last segment was to expose a dangerous collusion. Information is only as good as its source. If the source is corrupt, then the information is of little or no value. We have to take responsibility for our health and for the direction we follow. We have to be critical thinkers, demand the right to obtain alternative care. Most importantly, we have to ask ourselves, "Are we really better off this way?" Our children are our future. If we don't have healthy children, the future is bleak.
Did you ever ask yourself why most insurance plans do not cover visits to alternative doctors for nutritional consultation and alternative therapies? Educating patients on healthy eating habits would cure many ills. Take gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD for example. With a willing patient and simple patient nutritional education on proper food combinations and supplementation, this problem can be cured. No need for costly endoscopies, CT scans or medical procedures including surgery on the stomach. Even the supplements needed, in most cases just two, are temporary.
A close look at those around us, family, friends, acquaintances, quickly shows the presence of many diseases and ailments. Both young and old as well as those in between are beset by poor health. Much of this is of our own doing. Supermarket shelves are laden with food products laced with harmful ingredients that prolong product life and shorten ours. The refining and processing of natural foods has created its own problems. The introduction of refined sugars and flours, canned goods, vegetable fats and polished rice have had a devastating effect on human health. Television advertising then entices us to take one drug after another in spite of harmful side effects.
Where did this deterioration of health begin? Weston A. Price, dentist and founder of the research section of the American Dental Association (ADA), answers this when he says, "Life in all of its fullness, is mother nature obeyed." We have become complicit in her destruction.
Today's Agriculture: Cheap Food – Poor Health
Although this topic is vast, I urge the reader to keep an open mind. It is not hard to understand that our fruits and vegetables are only as good as the soil from which they come. Where do soil nutrients come from? The produce we eat comes from the ground we cultivate. The healthier that ground, the healthier the plants which spring from it. There are many very informative books on this subject. One such book is Soil, Grass and Cancer by André Voisin. Although largely ignored by the mainstream agricultural community, the pioneering soil studies of André Voisin bring to light the complex relationship between soil quality, food composition and human health. Both a biochemist and a farmer, Voisin found, in his many years working his own farms, that "when the soil and grasses were cared for properly, the animals living upon that land would enjoy abundant health. And as a result, the people consuming these animals and their products would enjoy abundant health as well."
Author Joel Salatin in Folks, This Ain't Normal states that, "as our country grew at the turn of the 20 century, soil depletion, widening deserts, and burgeoning populations meant answers to soil fertility needed to be found, and fast." On p. 125 of his book, Salatin does an excellent job of summarizing the genesis of how we as a country lapsed from proper care of the soil and fled for greener pastures (pun intended):
See, dear folks, those of us on the environmental side, the biological side, of agriculture are prone to point fingers at our grandparents and other ancestors and decry them as horrible people for spreading those bags of NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) rather than making compost. But faced with the decision, most of us would have done the same thing. The truth is that when the starting gun went off in 1946 in a race to feed the world, in what would eventually become the chemical-based Green Revolution, the artificial chemical side had a two-lap head start. ... By the 1920's and 1930s, people couldn't rid themselves of the manure fork fast enough ... they were doing what they thought would be easier and better. But it wasn't normal in the great ecological balance sheet. (Ibid p. 128-129)
What Salatin is essentially pointing out is this: when we opted to move to chemical fertilizers and industrialization/mechanization of farming in order to feed an overpopulated earth, and feed it cheaply, we had to sacrifice something. And what we sacrificed was the soil quality, and therefore, the nutritional quality of what came from that soil. As a result, a decline in the health of the animals and humans that feed off of that soil was destined to follow. He adds, "If we step back and let nature teach us, we will learn all we need to know. The more we try to trick, shortcut, or adulterate these processes, the less productive and efficient nature will be." (Ibid p.135) This includes producing poorer quality, nutrient deficient food. Salatin states:
After all, soil is fundamentally a living organism. It's a biological world down there under our feet. Yes you can fool things for a while, but eventually the balance sheet will bleed red. And the soil microbes, the actinomycetes (bacterial decomposers that give the soil an earthy odor), the azotobacter (microbes that grab atmospheric nitrogen and put it in the soil to feed plants), the mycorrhiza (fungi that build plant immunity), the earthworms will scream for — even demand — proper nutrition. (Ibid p. 130)
Our soil is our most precious commodity. Without healthy, organic soil, our food supply will quickly erode to nothing more than a cache of empty calories, devoid of trace minerals, vitamins and other nutrients known and unknown that our bodies depend on to be healthy. We would all do well to remember the Dust Bowl.
Essentially, not all apples are created equal. Or corn. Or cattle. The richer and healthier the soil, the richer and healthier the life which springs from it. Cheap food is really more expensive! The degenerative diseases and conditions that have become rampant are mortgaging our future, and the future of our children. The cheap food destroying the health of many is actually more expensive in the long run. Consider the long-term health care costs that lie in wait. It is also destroying one of America's greatest natural resources: her soil. To get our priorities straight, we need to think about the way we live.
In his book Health at Gunpoint, author James J. Gormley notes that "Agriculture has become a highly commercialized and politics-driven industry in which only a few have power and influence over everyone else." He goes on to point out that "in 2010 alone, the government spent $96.3 billion on subsidies and programs, most of which benefited the wealthiest large farms. When it comes to farming subsidies, health is frequently too expensive to take into account. Gormley goes on to point out that "the widespread availability of advanced farm equipment has allowed for improved productivity and efficiency while mechanization in combination with subsidies has resulted in over-farming, a problem that he feels has 'snowballed' out of control." (p. 45) The infamous Dust Bowl of the 1930's was caused by this same mentality of faster, cheaper production. As a result of the need for greater food supplies during World War I, farmers began to look for ways to till more land faster in order to keep up with demand. Fortunately for them, and unfortunately for the soil, this occurred at a point when the industrial revolution was providing advancements in machinery and equipment that allowed that very thing to happen. Damaged soil as a result of the over-farming combined with drought conditions led to the soil literally blowing away, turning some of our nation's most fertile lands into arid ones, and prompting Franklin D. Roosevelt to famously remark, "A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself."
In her book Stolen Harvest, Vandana Shiva notes that there is an intimate relationship between agriculture, animals and humans. And this relationship is reciprocal. You cannot affect one without affecting the other. Gormley adds that it is "this natural ecological chain that has been disrupted by soil erosion, which has become a problem in many areas of the United States. Not only is soil lost, but everything the soil contains, including earthworms, microorganisms, minerals, fungi, and organic materials that all work together to provide plants with necessary nutrients and environment. These microorganisms and nutrients strengthen plants and boost their natural resistance to disease and pests. They also provide other living creatures with the essential vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy." (Gormley, p. 47) We are one of those creatures.
In conclusion, we must as a people, as human beings all inhabiting the same planet, come to terms with how we have treated the soil, and how we move forward. There are solutions. People like Allan Savory, Wendell Berry, Joel Salatin and others have already proven these solutions can work. But we must return to our roots, to our connection with Mother Nature.CHAPTER 2
THE HOLISTIC DOCTOR/PATIENT EXPERIENCE
Physical Examination/Holistic Patient Assessment
Great disparity exists in the experience of a patient visiting an allopathic physician for his/her condition versus that of visiting a holistic physician, because philosophically holistic care is not a symptom-based approach. On the contrary, holistic care is based on treating each person as unique. It's about restoring and creating balance.
In our office we use a reproducible framework that consists of five distinct examination areas for which we thoroughly assess our patients. Those five areas are: Pre-examination Surveys, Patient History-Lifestyle/Diet Assessment, Physical/Spinal/Structural Examination, Mental/Emotional/Spiritual-Stress Assessment and lastly Review of Findings. Every health problem is approached from this framework to find the areas of weakness in each category that have led to the loss of health. For example, some patients present with a very healthy diet, but overwhelming stress at work, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and lack of proper rest as the causative factors in their health problems. They may also have a history of structural problems like poor posture, pes planus (flat feet) and a history of motor vehicle accidents that have created imbalances. Whatever the area(s) of weakness, they must be addressed individually to restore the homeostasis and health of the whole person. This is not the traditional symptom-based approach of western medicine, where symptoms are treated with either drugs, surgery or chemotherapy/ radiation. Holistic care must focus on the whole person. Symptoms are just one clue we use to trace the illness back to the cause of the dysfunction. To solve the individual's health problems, we must first get to know the person.
Before ever speaking to the patient, we begin by having them fill out a Systems Survey Form and a Toxicity Questionnaire designed by the nutritional stalwart Standard Process. The System Survey has 224 commonly found symptoms arranged into 9 groups, such as symptoms related to digestion or the liver and gallbladder.
These are not the only surveys available which offer insight into the origins of a patient's health concerns, but they are the ones I have chosen to use over the years and with which I have had great success. Assessing the surveys allows us to gain insight into the patient's nutritional needs and to pre-screen them for problems before we even speak to them. The Toxicity Questionnaire is designed to aid the practitioner in assessing a patient's potential need for a more detailed clinical purification program. Once these questionnaires have been filled out by the patient, they can be scored and interpreted by the clinician to give insight into which organ systems may be involved in the patient's dysfunction and to help build a foundation for beginning supplementation. A wise man once told me,"If you ask the patient the right questions, 90% of the time they will tell you what is wrong with them."
The Patient History-Lifestyle/Diet evaluation is made up of a thorough history of their current problem(s), their past history of illnesses, what they eat and drink, or do not eat and drink, what prescription medications they take, and whether or not they smoke, exercise, sit all day at work, and so on. For many of our patients, their health concern(s) and chief complaint(s) are often due to daily behavioral practices. Therefore, special attention is paid to a patient's diet and lifestyle habits. To do this more thoroughly, a patient may be asked to fill out a week-long food diary before their first scheduled appointment. Much helpful information can be gleaned this way. Much information is also brought to light in the history part of the examination where we get to speak one-on-one with the patient to find out their habits. Are they active and exercising? Do they skip breakfast or eat on the go often? Are they taking prescription medication(s) that may be causing some of the symptoms for which they are seeking help? Unfortunately this is far too common today as most Americans take prescription medications for one problem, only to end up with other problems as a result of their first medication.
Excerpted from A Legacy of Healing by Christopher J. Amoruso, Angelo C. Rose. Copyright © 2016 Dr. Angelo Rose; Dr. Christopher Amoruso. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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