Integrative medicine presentation by Mabel Loján

Mabel Loján presented on integrative medicine from a far broader perspective than I usually tackle the subject. This proved very informative for me, and a chance to expand my own thinking on a more holistic approach to healing.

As an opening definition Dr. Loján noted that we are divine in ourselves and we have the innate ability to heal.

Dr. Loján then led the class in a standing awareness meditation with a focus on breathing and each of the five senses separately.

Dr. Loján explained that we do not have pharmaceutical medicine that is intended to treat emotions per se. At the heart of integrative medicine is seeing each patient as a whole individual. Doctors tend to focus only the disease and treat a disease the same way in every patient. Doctors are almost infamous for not making small talk, assessing a patient's emotional state and emotional relationship with their disease.

Integrative specialists see the person both a whole and as an interconnected part of their environment, including their family connections, feelings, emotions, and physical environs. Diseases are a message that something is out of balance. Diseases such as diabetes have proven difficult to treat using western medical models. The complication is that no pill is going to fix the constellation of factors that led the person to develop diabetes. This has to be treated holistically.

In integrative medicine the patient is an active and willing participant in their own treatment, and treatments will vary by individual. The placebo effect is also a message: healing is dependent on belief that the system in use will cure. Believing is a part of the healing. Again, western medical practitioners may feel uncomfortable with this - antibiotics are antibiotics and they work against bacteria whether or not the patient believes in the medicine. Yet the brain-immune system linkages that underlie placebo effect is ignored at risk. No antibiotic completely cleans up an infection, the immune system must also play an active role.

Humans are part of an invisible web that interconnects people. We need those connections. Loneliness contributes to depression which in turn contributes to an unbalanced body prone to disease. Doctors might treat depression with Prozac, but integrative specialists will look for causes of depression. Depression is happening in the mind, fixing the mind and thinking are likely to be more productive long term strategies.

What one consumes is also important, and not just food consumption. What one chooses to see and to watch with one's eyes affects the brain. Make what you choose to view nutritious for your eyes. This is good for your brain. What you choose to listen too is also a matter of nutrition. Industrial noise can lead to sickness. Cities are filled with non-nutritious sounds. Forests are places with nutritious sounds. Mountain top vistas are good for the eyes and ears.

In integrative medicine the patient is fully informed as to what is being done and why. The concept of a doctor ordering tests without explaining their purpose to the patient would be an anathema to an integrative medicine specialist. They might order the same tests, but with explanations to the patient and even discussions where options might exist. Giving power to the patient is a first step to them gaining control over their body and their disease. Western medicine tends to remove choice from the hands of th the patient.

Dr. Loján then introduced the class to the chakra system concept. She started with the root chakra, red. Time would not permit coverage of the other chakras.

Seeing disease and illness not in isolation but rather as a part of a patient who is part of broader interconnected system of life was a broadening experience.


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