Moving Healthcare Forward: The Integrative Medicine Paradigm
Ty Vincent MD., Contributing Writer
There is a growing group of conventionally trained physicians, naturopaths and other types of practitioners in the U.S. who have realized the value in picking up new skills and ideas. Conventional M.D. or D.O. training teaches a very narrow perspective on health and an extremely limited therapeutic armamentarium. The area where our conventional system falls most flat is chronic illness management and resolution. Problems such as fatigue syndromes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, and cancers are poorly handled with purely allopathic medicine.
There is also very little attention to real prevention measures in the conventional system. The standard approach is to wait until a “patient” has advanced disease, then to “manage” their issue, using purely symptomatic operations and drugs in most cases. There is little attention to the early signs of metabolic dysfunction before disease fully manifests; there is little attention to the person’s actual health and wellness; there is also a startling willingness to cause additional harm via the “side effects” of drugs and other conventional therapies.
Let’s take the example of breast cancer and look at how an integrative medical approach may improve health care. The conventional approach to screening is to perform mammograms, which can only identify cancer that has been present for several years or more and may even induce cancerous changes by traumatizing the breast tissue and exposing it to ionizing radiation. Once a cancer is identified (years after its inception) the standard therapies include surgical removal in conjunction with intravenous chemotherapy and radiation therapy; both of these treatments are expected to cause significant harm to the patient as well, but little is offered to mitigate that damage.
The conventional approach outlined above has indeed been shown to decrease death rates from breast cancer, but it could be improved upon in so many ways. Breast thermograms have the potential to predict breast cancer years before it is visible on a mammogram, but conventional doctors usually don’t know this technology exists. Modern research has shown that daily exercise dramatically improves survival among women with breast cancer, yet conventional doctors tell you instead to “rest”. Nutritional science has clearly shown that dietary factors such as avoiding sugar and eating more organic fruits and vegetables can improve cancer outcomes, but conventional practitioners tell you to “eat whatever you feel like eating”.
Chemotherapy given in the high-dose conventional manner causes a great deal of damage to normal tissue and triggers the development of new cancer cells in other tissues. Chemotherapy can be administered in much smaller doses using a technique called insulin-potentiated therapy, resulting in better cancer killing and far less collateral damage; but this technique has not yet been embraced by conventional oncologists. Vitamin C given in large intravenous doses has been shown to be completely safe, to kill cancer cells directly, and to greatly mitigate the toxic effects of chemotherapy and radiation on normal tissues. This safe, simple and inexpensive therapy has also not been adopted by conventional oncologists.
Supplements such as vitamin D, iodine and melatonin have all been shown to help reduce breast cancer occurrence, but these are not generally suggested by conventional practitioners. There are many other complementary treatments and therapies that can improve cancer survival while also improving the health of the patient. Integrative medical practitioners are growing in numbers all over the country and can offer a much better healthcare experience with likely better outcomes. The “consumer” must realize that these options exist, and help promote the continued shift in our medical system by choosing the care that most makes sense to them and fits their own philosophies in regards to personal and public health.
Dr. Ty Vincent is an integrative physician trained in full-spectrum family medicine, receiving his degree from the University of Washington, School of Medicine. From attending to patients in the ICU, delivering babies, performing colonoscopies and endoscopies, and daily work within a group practice his experience covers a wide range in the medical field. His additional training includes acupuncture, chelation, hormone therapy, immunotherapy, and herbal medicine. Currently Vincent speaks at integrative medical conferences and in the areas of hormone therapies and immune therapies. A father of six, he also runs his outpatient clinic and is involved in national integrative education for two major physician organizations.