Between 60% and 70% of all European patients make use of natural medicines and complimentary therapies – with or without the knowledge of their doctor – alongside conventional treatments. A British study concludes that treatments involving natural medicine are far more closely aligned to what patients expect from an effective treatment. They are looking for a combined conventional and complementary approach to treatment and are keen to engage actively in the therapeutic process. They would also like to discuss the combined approach to conventional medicine, with their doctor (Little CV, The School of Health & Social Care, 2009). This way of working is known as „Integrative“.
The limits of modern medicine and the new understanding of process
The western health care system and its approach to medicine is clearly necessary and valid as far as an efficient diagnosis and the treatment of symptoms is concerned – that is when something acute can be treated directly. The underlying biomedical model however does not permit a genuine understanding of the physical, psychological and spiritual processes that cause a person to become seriously ill. Nor does the process of healing have the necessary orientation. The ability to understand the context of an illness is also missing. One's own experience of working with health and illness and the values connected with it are rarely taken into consideration when developing a therapeutic process. Informing patients of their options and actively involving them in their own healing process needs to become the prime focus of medicine and healthcare.
The future is about co-creative medicine
A large number of patients are looking for a holistic, integrated and person centred approach. They can feel how this helps them cope better with their situation. It is about healing and not just treatment. Added to this, the current world situation and the growing threat of radicalism demonstrates the negative impact on society of being unable to integrate. A way of thinking that results in exclusion rather than integration will inevitably lead to problems – especially in the social sphere where everything depends on having mutual respect and being able to relate with one another. It is important for the individual to have a positive experience of life – also with regard to illness.
In 2013 the World Health Organisation (WHO) proposed a strategy for integrating traditional methods of medicine (WHO traditional medicine strategy: 2014-2023). A way will need to be found for including traditional, non-conventional and complementary treatments within a future human centred approach to medicine.
This requires an open minded and pragmatic approach towards both conventional and complementary medicine. Ideologically based prejudices on both sides currently make this difficult. Doctors and therapists however are responsible to their patients and not to an ideology.
ELIANT seeks to ensure that doctors do not dismiss anything that might benefit patients – never mind how subjective it may seem! Patients seeking a co-creative approach to medicine need to campaign for the integration of the various methods. Without a strong commitment from civil society this new approach and way of thinking will not take hold.
Anthroposophical medicine has been consistently working in this direction since 1921. All of its practitioners have been conventionally trained and are committed to the holistic approach and methods of treatment used in integrated medicine.
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We wish you a lightful time of advent and send our warm greetings