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A very long time ago, when I was a college professor (but not anymore because the stroke eclipsed that opportunity), I was teaching a class of freshmen the art of composition. Included in that group was a middle-aged man who, as it turns out, was a Tai-Chi Master, having found out through my first assigned essay, “What’s Your Passion.” While the unworldly freshman wrote about their passion for video games and shopping, the erudite man wrote about his interest in homeopathic (or holistic) remedies. I remember his words.

“Everything you need to keep yourself healthy is right here on earth, from headache to rash, from stomach pains to diarrhea.”

The class laughed when he said diarrhea, totally being freshman, but the man didn’t skip a beat and went on.

“The only trick is finding what cures what. But once you find a remedy for your particular ailment, you’ll forever stick with it.”   

My student, as it turns out, was into homeopathy. But it falls under the holistic umbrella. Mother Nature Network uses this example:

“Feel a cold coming on? You could nip it in the bud with conventional medicine, or you could consider a homeopathic or holistic approach — but what’s the difference?

“A holistic medical doctor combines modern, Western scientific treatment with alternative medicine or complementary treatments, such as chiropractic, acupuncture or massage. Both a homeopathic physician and a holistic medical doctor will look at the whole picture. How they differ is that the homeopathic doctor would prepare a remedy in liquid or tablet form, while the holistic doctor would provide a patient with the option of a pharmaceutical drug in addition to alternative treatments, which could include a homeopathic remedy.”

The bottom line? Homeopathic medicine looks at the whole person, combining a person’s physical state, diet, emotional and mental state and stress triggers, often not taking into consideration the use of modern diagnostic tests. Holistic medical doctors often encourage diagnostic testing in an attempt to find the underlying cause that led to the disparity in the first place.

I take 10 prescribed pills a day, and I get prescriptions for all of them from a medical doctor. They each do what they’re aiming for, like anti-seizure, reflux, asthma, and as a result, no seizures, no heartburn, no asthma. If another stroke happens, (though the odds say it shouldn’t because I’m past the 5-year post-stroke demarcation line), I’d choose the holistic approach.  

I wanted choices while in the hospital for 15 weeks and after for 6 years, but all they had were medical doctors. Pill writers. Prescription aficionados. Big pharma pills of the day for which the doctors are wined and dined at banquets in hopes that interest abounds. “Choose the red capsule, choose the pink pill,” big pharma screams.

The medical doctors use us as guinea pigs to determine–on us, I repeat–if the pill or serum or what-have-you works. So I can’t say who is more accurate–holistic, homeopathic, or medical. What I can say is, to use Ed Koch’s line, the former mayor of New York, regarding the choice you make, “If it’s working, don’t fix what ain’t broke.”

Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman is one of the world's top 10 stroke bloggers according to the Medical News Today. You can find the original post and other blogs Joyce wrote in Tales of a Stroke Survivor. (https://talesofastrokesurvivor.blog)
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