From acupuncture to Zithromycin

There are so many descriptors for what we offer at Red Clover Clinic: natural medicine, alternative medicine, complementary medicine, integrative health are a just a few. These terms can be confusing. For example, “alternative medicine” implies that our approach offers an alternative to conventional medicine, which it does. However, it also implies that it could replace conventional medicine, which it can’t. “Integrative” is a nice word and concept, but our clinic doesn’t operate within the conventional medicine structure (there are some truly integrative clinics, where both eastern and western medicine practitioners work together), so what we offer isn’t exactly integrative either. 

What further confuses our clinic’s position in the larger healthcare ecosystem is that we live in a culture of polarized thinking: we have to support one political party or the other; we believe in climate change or we don’t; and we even feel pressure to choose either natural medicine or conventional medicine treatment. We’ve lost the ability to recognize all of the options in between. 

This article has come about because I had a client who was hesitant to tell me that she made the decision to go on an antidepressant medication. That makes me sad, because I want whatever is best for each of my clients. I strongly believe that they are sovereign over their body and are free and able to make the best choice for themselves. I also believe that we need access to all kinds of medical treatment, from acupuncture to Zithromycin (an antibiotic). 

If anyone else out there feels like they’re “cheating” on me when they go to the doctor, or vice versa, please know that you’re not! You are simply gathering information and making decisions that fit you most appropriately. A few thoughts on making your healthcare decisions:

  • First and foremost, make healthcare decisions that best support your quality of life and personal circumstances. 
  • Be informed and work with practitioners who are willing to answer your questions. 
  • Try to find practitioners who are open to what other practitioners have to offer.
  • Don’t hesitate to advocate for yourself. Practitioners should be on your team, not the other way around.
  • Choose the least invasive/toxic interventions first, and find what works for your situation. 
  • Medication, though sometimes necessary, doesn’t replace healthy lifestyle choices.
  • If you need a medical intervention, such as surgery or chemotherapy, still choose to eat a healthy diet and get acupuncture, massage, or cranial-sacral therapy.

Finally, don’t feel bound to choose only natural or only conventional treatment methods…they can be complementary!