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Articles    H3'ed 3/17/10

Health Care and Alternative Health in France

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Lewis Mehl-Madrona
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I recently had the opportunity to speak at a conference in Paris, France. Surprisingly, based upon Michael Moore's glowing reports of the French health care system in his movie, Sicko, I discovered that few French citizens or physicians like their health care either, though some told me that it was a French trait to criticize everything, regardless. My French colleagues said the ambulance takes too long to appear from when it is called, it sometimes takes people to the furthest hospital instead of the closest. They said that doctors are rude, arrogant, and spend too little time. Some are drunks, or so says the media.

Within the ranks, physicians themselves told me of the cut-throat competition for the coveted hospital jobs in Paris and elsewhere. They described doctors attempting to discredit each other and tear one another down in order to climb to the top of the mountain and stay there. One opthalmologist cried as she told me about a colleague of hers who was a good surgeon and was being falsely accused of making errors by the doctor who wanted his position as head of opthalmology and Professor at a medical school.

Apparently medicine is ill in many parts of the world. Perhaps all the world's institutions are ill? What can we do?

The conference was about what we call CAM, or Complementary and Alternative Medicine, in the United States, and particularly about the basis for some CAM practices in advanced physics. The conference was coordinated by Anna de Constatin and sponsored by the Association un Nouveau Regard sur le Vivant, which roughly translates as The Association for a New Look at Life.

The intellectual focus of the conference was the basis for homeopathy, aromatherapy, and some practices of energy medicine in advanced physics. The powerpoints impressively showed that water does remember previous substances and that spectrographic spikes of those substances remain after all molecules of the substance are removed. This, of course, provides potential support for understanding how homeopathy works, if and when it does work. The physicists and engineers were as excited as children with new Christmas toys, though little was said about the degree to which these alternative practices actually help people and under what circumstances.

From my standpoint as an indigenous person ("An American Indian in Paris"), I can readily accept the idea that intention has an effect upon matter and can charge matter with a purpose. I have been taught to be believe that this happens through the power of prayer, through faith, and through belief. What I don't know for certain is if one can separate easily the power of intent at the quantum physics level from the action of "substance memory".

I suppose we could do studies in which mean people make homeopathic remedies while practicing hating the people for whom they prepare the remedies. We could poke them in ways to make them angry all the while they are doing this. Computers could diagnose and prescribe the remedies in constant robotic fashion. But then we beg the question of what can humans do through the power of intent, compassion, and connection to help each other. This might be a more important point than how homeopathy works or if homeopathy works. Perhaps substances or treatments are only excuses to get us together to create a shared intent for healing, to show compassion to one another, and to enter a dialogue that ultimately leads to transformation.

What I do know is how much my colleagues who are homeopaths help some of their patients in their practices. This has impressed me. I can't say how much should be attributed to the homeopathic medicine and how much to the doctor-patient relationship, the shared intent, the compassion, or the faith, but these may be inseparable aspects of good doctoring, which can only be removed in certain kinds of research studies.

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Lewis Mehl-Madrona graduated from Stanford University School of Medicine and completed residencies in family medicine and in psychiatry at the University of Vermont. He is the author of Coyote Medicine, Coyote Healing, Coyote Wisdom, and (more...)
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