Hope may be the best medicine of all…

June 6, 2018

In today’s installment of the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack used this quote – “He (she) is the best physician who is the most ingenious inspirer of hope. (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Modern Medicine is at best an art, which tries to cloak itself in science to add credibility. Certainly, there is some science involved, but mostly it’s a practice of techniques that pillswere developed through a process of trial and error, whether it be in diagnosing aliments or performing surgery. Even the development of our modern wonder drugs is mostly a matter of trial and error; although the newest gene therapies are based more in a scientific understanding of how our genes work and what they do in the body. Of course the current opioid epidemic shows how out-of-hand modern medicine can get with it’s prescription drug approach.

And then there are all of the alternative or holistic medical practices, many of which focus primarily on allowing the body to heal itself. Some are accompanied by lengthy discussions of “energy flows” within the body or other scientifically questionable explanations of why they supposedly work. Most of them have been developed over centuries of trail and error, too. In the old days Snake Oil salesmen also had explanations about why their elixirs would cure all ills. Many of the alternative approaches might sound like that; however, some work as well, if not better,  than modern medicine at relieving pain and allowing a person to heal.

It would seem that Jack’s quote is the most reasonable explanation of why many of these approaches to healing actually work. The most successful practitioners inspire the hope of the patient and out of that hope comes the time and attitude to promote healing. The fact that many also relieve pain reinforces that hope.

woman-prayingI’m certainly not advocating for the position of refusing modern medical help and putting all of our hope in either alternative approaches or even in faith. Misguided people who try to use faith as a reason and defense for not vaccinating their children or giving them the benefit of modern treatments and drugs, where needed, are just wrong and a danger to themselves and society. It is unfortunate that too many get away with that approach until it is too late.

I do think it is important to add faith to the strength of the hope that one has in whatever medical approach is being employed. There have been a few studies that were at least as scientific as many drug tests that showed the positive impact of faith in the healing process. Combining hope that one will get better; with faith that God will help make it happen is strong medicine indeed.

So, keep the faith and keep hope in your medicine cabinet. Have a healthy rest of the week, no matter what approach you take to healing your body.

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Some things evolve but they never change…

April 12, 2018

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog featured this little quote – “The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”  (Voltaire)

Medicine has evolved a lot since Voltaire’s time, but that aspect hasn’t changed. If Voltaire was alive to comment on modern medicine his quote might read – “The art of medicine consists of drugging the patient while nature cures the disease.” Modern pillsmedicine seems to be focused more upon relief of symptoms than actual healing. Whatever you have, there’s a pill for that, or at least a pill to make you feel better while it runs its course. Nature still takes care of that over time.

Admittedly, there have been dramatic improvements in the surgery aspect of modern medicine. Now when something wears out it can be replaced, either by a man-made option or a transplant from someone usually less fortunate than the receiver of the transplant. It is even possible today to print a new things to put into you, using recently developed 3d printing techniques.

One thing that remains a problem is that going to hospital can be the most dangerous option for many. Too many people still die in the hospital from diseases or infections that they get there that they would not have contracted at home. In the Civil War many more Union soldiers died in the field hospitals from infections than dies from the actual gun shots that put them there – the result of infections from reused and non-disinfected bandages.  In the modern hospital it is most often the result of bad hygiene practices by the staff that allows bacteria and viruses to spread freely in the facilities.

I will also admit that the preventive medicine side of thing has gotten much better, with vaccines being responsible for just about wiping out certain diseases from Voltaire’s time. With all of that research and money spent on vaccines, the common cold virus still seems to have the upper hand. Bacteria and viruses also have evolved over time and we hear now about antibiotic resistant strains that may eventually win out in their war against humanity.

Perhaps we should all be content to amuse ourselves and let nature figure out a cure forman praying what ails us. That certainly beats the opioid option that modern medicine has come up with as a solution. From time to time we see studies that indicate the power of prayer in “miraculous” recoveries from some disease or condition. Perhaps it is the power of that prayer to encourage us to persevere while nature works its cure. Just sayin’ that there’s nothing wrong with prayin’.

Have a wonderful and healthy weekend ahead.