Photo credit: wilpf.org
The Brits know. Quality childcare is key. Maternity leave, essential.
Studies had shown that children born to career mothers in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s did not perform as well, with their literacy and numeracy skills about two percent lower. But the latest research by Heather Joshi of the University of London’s Centre for Longitudinal Studies found children born since the mid-1990s whose mothers worked during their early years fared just as well as those whose mothers did not. - Working mothers urged to drop guilt as study finds kids do fine. - British Study
So, the question I have is does this study translate to the U.S. given we don’t have paid maternity leave and HIGH quality childcare isn’t the norm for all income brackets?
Joshi said the most important factor that triggered this change in Britain was the Labour government’s investment in childcare in the mid-1990s.
I already intuitively knew kids of working moms are fine, at least with the parents I know, and I’ve been home full-time with my daughter since she was 9 months. So why do I care?
I’m at home so I could finger point at working mothers. I care because I don’t believe in shaming people for what is natural and that is: some women want to work, have to work, deserve to work.
Ambition is not exclusive to men despite a woman’s biological imperative to have babies. I’ve been ambitious and remained so even when my daughter was born. I just so happened to channel my ambition at home, via writing and other pursuits, some of which took me away from her for short periods.
My daughter is 15 now. I’ve been at home as a writer and volunteer for years. I would without a doubt, have worked part-time but I left my marketing research job due to a myriad of guilt, employer and health reasons. I was lucky to have the choice.
Formula for a happy kid? Who knows, but we sorta do.
It’s to say parental love and care + caregiver love and care = thriving kid. The embracing village and all that. Grandma, aunt, uncle, friend or really loving, attentive daycare provider. It’s all good. Switching kids all over the place, not so good. Kids really do need continuity. Crappy half-ass childcare where the person is barely paying attention or never engaging your child in developmentally stimulating stuff? Come on. No child deserves that.
BUT who can afford the best? My question is, what child doesn’t deserve the best? They all do, regardless of income.
When high quality childcare is more affordable and accessible to folks beyond the wealthy we’ve arrived. This goes along with my safe-car question which is: Why should the safest cars be the most expensive cars? Only rich kids get to live if they get in a car accident? But that’s another post.
Changes in British maternity leave also contributed to the finding, although the US still lags.
Drop the guilt in yourself, and other mothers.
I’ve been writing for a decade about, among other things, debunking myths and shame in the motherhoodsphere (postpartum depression, mommy wars and motherhood identity are my favorites). One of the shame-filled issues is society bashing working moms as “less” or not a full-time mother.
As a stay at home mother this still, always chaps my hide and was a key reason I started the Orlando Mothers & More chapter while I was in another club who focused mainly on stay at homes (or part-time employed). I wanted a more “inclusive” message.
The fact is, finds the Brits, give parents accessible, affordable HIGH QUALITY childcare and time off with their kids, and children will thrive as well as those with parents at home.
An analysis of six studies looking at 40,000 children over the last 40 years found there was no link between mothers continuing their careers and children achieving less at school or misbehaving.This research suggests changes in maternity leave and greater availability of childcare and the consequent increase in maternal employment have played a big role in enabling parents to balance work and family, Fiona Weir, chief executive of the single-parent charity Gingerbread, told Reuters
P.S. Picture is of World War II Rosie the Riveter.
“Women worked during WWII when men went to war in droves, forcing childcare to the forefront. Unfortunately conditions weren’t always ideal for the little ones.Like men, women would quit their jobs if they were unhappy with their pay, location, or environment. Unlike men, women suffered from the “double shift” of work and caring for the family and home. During the war, working mothers had childcare problems and the public sometimes blamed them for the rise in juvenile delinquency. In reality, though, 90% of mothers were home at any given time. The majority of women thought that they could best serve the war effort by staying at home (Campbell 216). During the war, the average family on the homefront had a housewife and a working husband (Yellin 45).”
Image courtesy of: Stuart Miles
When economic bad news piles on as it has since 2007, end of times feels certain. The truth is however, economies cycle. What falls off the cliff creeps back and in the process, we gain insights and wisdom. So stay hopeful. Happy days will be here again.
Doom and gloom popular programming
Apocalyptic gloom has become highly marketable. Shows like Doomsday Preppers andDoomsday Bunkers have added their names to the reality TV roster. Website Shtfplan.com offers visitors this friendly tagline: When it hits the fan, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
The popular Left Behind series, first introduced through novels then with a series of movies, offers the Rapture end of times warning. As the presidential campaign approached Dinesh D’Souza rolled out his movie 2016: Obama’s America, as an omen to voters. Obama’s mission were you to accept him as President, D’Souza claimed, is to even the global playing field and in doing so, deflate our nation’s superpower influence.
“He (Obama) wants Americans to have less so the rest of the world can have more.” D’Souza tells Piers Morgan, “He wants America to have less power so that other countries can come up in the world. He’d like to see a multi-polar world in which America is not the sole super power.” (Piers Morgan Tonight. August 12, 2012).
So, take heart. If the Rapture doesn’t swallow you up, ready yourself for economic and societal collapse, war, pandemics, geomagnetic reversal, the electromagnetic pulse, terrorist acts, nuclear incidents and fuel shortages.
Feel better yet or are have you curled into a fetal ball of “Why bother?”
Essentially the gray skies are going to clear up message of what’s going right in the world has the distinct disadvantage of grabbing less air time and social media stir. What’s going right in your daily existence has the mundane quality of just sitting flat and unnoticeable. Good news just is.
Bad news however, irritates and buzzes; it jars our eyes and ears awake with adrenaline and fear.
I will say however, anyone with an ounce of sensitivity wouldn’t expect citizens terrified about where their next mortgage payment, health care coverage or meal will come from to be Pollyanna about the nation’s state of economic affairs. There is however, something to be said for acknowledging that economies (and politicians) cycle. Moreover, with each economic crisis our nation gains new knowledge about where things went terribly, terribly, wrong and more importantly, where things went incredibly right.
“For the past 15 years, home-price changes and sales volumes have either been boosted by a bubble mentality or crushed by crash psychology,” said David Stiff, Fiserv’s chief economist in a March 2013 Orlando Sentinel online article.
The term “crash psychology” struck me.
I assume it has something to do with what Jim Taylor refers to in his July 2012 Psychology Today.com article as herd behavior, the bandwagon effect and recency (paying more attention to latest data than putting market conditions into long term perspective) and loss aversion (an inclination to avoid losses rather than produce profits).
“This is it, the big one,” Sanford of the old sitcom Sanford and Son grumbled before he grabbed his heart for the nth time.
Just last night I heard someone say to a friend who doesn’t happen to share her political view, “Yeah well, good luck. See if you have any money left in the next few years.” As she said this another woman smirked and nodded emphatically across the table.
In my experience naysayers don’t need a crushing presidential election to feel the world is going to pot. Naysayers are universally bi-partisan yet unilaterally pessimistic. They see the world changes as an eventual avalanche and that the latest election out of their favor is simply speeding up our demise.
But, how many false alarms before we decide the Great Depression isn’t coming, again?
Not that I want to downplay or arrogantly dismiss the harsh economic blows affecting millions. The reality is, we have had plenty of fuel to create real fear and economic end of times worry. People are hurting and cheerful mantras won’t hold off creditors. But, previous generations have been hit by recessions and generations to come will as well.
Since December 2007 our economy and global reputation has been beaten up. Businesses scaled back dramatically. Markets crashed to record lows. Real estate dumped. Housing starts halted. School budgets were slashed. Unemployment skyrocketed and remains high in many areas. Gas prices are headed towards Europe’s. Entire countries are being downgraded. Healthcare costs are now a primary cause for personal and small business financial ruin. And, one of the United State’s historical industrial strongholds, the auto industry, is limping along.
For an added kick to our lagging morale, we watched our government save Wall Street (which I was all for given the potential fall-out). The sub-prime mortgage mess was a house of cards with multiple players including overzealous lenders and consumers, borrowers confused by loan fine print and families just trying to tread water. But in the end, throwing a life raft to the Too Big to Fail market makers who knew better than to invest in deep murky waters — hurt.
Pile on this much economic instability in a short time span and indeed, the world can feel apocalyptic.
Negative economic warnings hide good news
Like the hot issue climate change, while the frequency of out-of-range weather patterns areabsolutely influenced by human behavior, it’s also a product of cyclical weather changes. So too, massive changes to our economy and worldwide standing may seem sudden and cataclysmic, but they occur over time and courtesy of multiple administrations’ policies.
Yet, time and time again our nation returns from recessionary slumps and economic turmoil armed with new knowledge. We’re painfully forced, as we’ve seen with the recent budget crisis in Congress, to adapt, create new or compromise, unless however, you believe we’re destined to repeat our past.
While I do believe in cyclical human and earth behavior, I also believe we’re destined to make new mistakes, not old ones. We evolve.
It’s hard to believe we’re actually advanced beings given Snookie, Jerry Springer, Dance Momsand Tosh O. But indeed, humans have progressed from our early knuckle dragging days.
And, with every crisis we’re forced to re-visit and re-balance. Consider the gas shortage, savings and loan crisis, Enron, the Exxon Valdez, over lending, over spending, over reliance on oil, over fishing, over eating. Too much regulation and we pull back. Too little, we add oversight.
Optimistic outlook in economy
Take a look at our economic indicators (Kiplinger economic outlook). They reveal policy ripple effects and red flags long, long in the making, arrived tipping points, but not eventual collapse or the Great Depression.
Take a look at these positive economic signs:
- GDP crept ahead at a snail-like 0.1-percent pace in last year’s closing quarter, but at least it didn’t contract, as initial estimates had shown.
- There is still no reason to look for an early end to the lengthy period of extremely low interest rates.
- Inflation will edge up a bit this year, but not to troublesome heights.
- On the positive side, and despite a bump upward at the start of the year, core inflation, which excludes food and energy costs, will see only muted increases.
- Spending by businesses this quarter gets the benefit of renewed tax breaks for new or leased equipment. The recent spike in gasoline prices has run its course.
- Crude oil prices will take a breather.
- But expect overall retail sales to climb about 5% this year
- Look for the trade deficit to widen by 2% in 2013, presenting a slight headwind to U.S. economic growth
- Export growth will be held in check by recession in Europe and moderate growth in China.
- We expect imports to increase about 5% for the year, with most of the growth coming in the second half.
- Gains in the housing market will solidify this year.
- Overall, we anticipate sales of existing homes to climb about 7.5%
Granted I cherry picked, which is exactly my point. Look for positive signs. Become aware of the negative only to the degree it informs key decisions about your life. For example, it’s useful to know which industries are cycling, dying and expanding. And, it’s good to know that every financial and investment guru can be dead wrong – or dead right.
Pick your point of view.
In June 2011 James Altucher wrote in the Wall Street Journal that an impressive rise in the stock market was coming…”The market fell like a brick on Wednesday. People can’t handle any piece of bad news without saying ‘this is the big one.’ But it’s not going to happen. Even God took one day to rest. The market every now and then needs a day or two to rest. Maybe even more than a day or two. But over the next 12 to 18 months I expect to see Dow 20,000.”
Nearly two years later, it appears he was on the right track. Andrew Tangel, LA Times, March 6, 2013 writes:
“The Dow Jones industrial average has barreled to an all-time high, erasing $11 trillion of losses racked up when the financial crisis began five years ago. The stock market’s revival — with the Dow at a record 14,253.77 — has some respected minds on Wall Street suggesting the Dow will puncture 20,000 in just a few years. But, as investors may recall, the last few times the stock market seemed headed for records, disaster soon followed.”
Granted it took five years to reach the record high. As well, my husband a trader, reminded me that had we not crashed in 2008 we would have hit 20,000 soon enough. Moreover, the stock market isn’t the best signpost for recovery because it’s not adjusted for inflation. However, consider Daniel Gross’s recent analysis:
“Regular readers will note that I’ve long been pushing back against the notion that the U.S. is in economic decline. A stock market index like the Dow and the S&P 500 may not be the best barometer of national well-being. But it does say something about the ability of U.S.-based companies to thrive in an era when domestic growth is slow and when most of the growth takes place in unfamiliar foreign terrain.”
Certainly Gross or any other pundit isn’t the final word on predicting economic movement. You’ll find plenty of people ready to pick apart his argument line by line. But my philosophical point, and I generally write from philosophical underpinnings, is that the market is on the up, again. The Second Great Depression never came, as more than a few people predicted it would.
Of course there’s numerous times when people predicted a strong bull market and it turned horribly bearish. Outside of getting into the factors around market timing (which I don’t study) if you’re in the “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is” mindset then zoom in on Andrew Tangel’s hedging last line:
“But, as investors may recall, the last few times the stock market seemed headed for records, disaster soon followed.”
Can’t we enjoy a moment of celebration? Or is that too naïve, uninformed and resting on our laurels? After five years of getting the recessionary crap beat out of us we still have more economic naysayers who insist on a cover-all-bases prediction caveat of: “It looks good, but it won’t last” than eternal optimists.
Well true, it won’t last. Cycles, cycle.
But, I’d rather wake up every day cautiously optimistic than confidently pessimistic. It feels better. Be on the look out for good news. It’s out there, or it’s predictably on its way.
Photo: Free digital photos.net
Labors of love, once our exclusive personal domain, are now available for hire. But when we outsource our inner lives do we lose more than we gain?
Paying for personal services used to be a privilege afforded only the wealthy. Now professionals are accessible to the middle and upper middle class chasing the increasingly elusive free time.
Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of the book, The Outsourced Self: Intimate Life in Market Times, describes outsourcing our inner lives as paying for “emotional labor.” The transactions are however, complex despite the fact or maybe because they leave our closest relationships out of the equation.
Interested in a no-strings-attached friend to listen to your problems over lunch or to join you on a trip to Europe? Companies can rent companions. Need a “mom” or “grandma” to attend an event? Filler family members are available. Can’t settle on the right name for your child? A nameologist will narrow the list. Read more….
Fourteen years ago my husband and I had a child. I wanted her more than anything in the world and was consumed with getting pregnant. After my daughter was born my husband and I felt filled, completed by the three of us and so we didn’t have any more kids.
Early on a few of my friends after hearing my motherhood horror stories decided the reason I wanted only one child was because I had postpartum depression, because I didn’t love being a stay at home mom despite being grateful that I had the choice in the first place, because my labor and delivery was long and off the charts painful, but that next time, they said – things would be different.
But hoping for different doesn’t feel like the best reason to have a child, does it?
The Duggar Family: What size is the right size?
When I think about the controversy with the Duggar family, (“19 and Counting”) I wonder, beyond the obvious issue of overpopulation why people feel so strongly about how many kids is the right amount?
Most people agree that bringing little ones into the world if parents can’t love and care for them to the highest level isn’t in a child’s best interest — but barring that, how many kids should someone have?
Is there some exact recipe like if you don’t add enough salt to your soup it’s missing something, add too much and you’ve ruined the whole batch?
When my daughter was around three, the age when people begin to ask when number two is coming, the questions about why we weren’t growing our family were for the most part few and far between. People nowadays generally assume a singleton family stays that way because a couple can’t have more kids — not because they choose to.
Women who have one child by choice don’t readily admit it although I have many times because it’s just simply part of who I am. I think it’s hard for some people to wrap their head around the idea that having one child can be just as motherly and nurturing and fulfilling as having two. Maybe it looks like we’ve left some unfinished business or that we’ve thumbed our noses at our biological imperative women have.
But with deeper inspection behind the argument that bringing more and more kids into a stable loving home is the mark of selflessness, I feel compelled to point out that having kids, biologically or adopting for the right reason is what gets my selfless vote, that is – having kids because you have an unquenchable desire to add the love of a child to your already stable and loving relationship.
Michelle Duggar keeps having kids, I’m happy with one.
Our extremes defy the norm for what some people think is best for kids which is seems like at least one sibling but not too many.
People assume an only child misses out on what only a sibling can give (it’s true they do) and that each subsequent Duggar is exponentially less likely to receive the same amount of parental attention (that’s true too).
But kids can get love and attention from the “village” that surrounds them whether they’re short on siblings or short on parent time.
I won’t debate why the Duggars shun birth control and insist on having so many kids, I understand it’s for religious reasons. Despite our very, very different points of view on who should orchestrate reproduction, the Duggar’s seem remarkably happy. Either they fake it well or the show’s editor is masterful at depicting a balanced family.
Admittedly the Duggars get proceeds from the show, and exploitation is a fair argument against having reality shows with kids, but from my sense this group is no more dysfunctional than the average family, and some might say, they seem even happier.
I prefer, which is not to say I’m right, having kids be mostly well thought-out, but I’d never suggest “surprise” kids aren’t loved as deeply as planned ones.
But what we mostly ignore when we say want want only the best for kids as a whole is that the best is first an issue of intention.
Intention is best for kids.
It’s the purpose behind having twenty children, one or none that honors kids. Do we have kids to fill ourselves, to mend a marriage to heal an emotional void? Or do we have kids to add exponential beauty to what is already healthy in our lives?
We’re still new at sorting out what having children means in this country. Our identity as women is still largely informed by our biological ability to have kids, to have one or to have six. Making babies has been hard-wired into our human survival so I understand it might take another half century or so to evolve to the point where we won’t feel our species is threatened if a percentage of the female population opts out entirely, or has one child.
But I have to think there’s no set formula for what makes a woman maternal enough. Women who want kids get their fill with different amounts of mothering– but there is a clear and painfully obvious formula for what makes an entirely bad mother.
One child or twenty
My husband and I started our family when I turned 31. I knew when I was 19 I’d need some form of infertility intervention, diagnosed at the time with a benign pituitary disorder called Empty Sella Syndrome. This meant Mother Nature would need a little kick in the pants (or in my case injections in the butt) with super hormones if I wanted to have kids. Not one to hail from the school of “if kids ares meant to be they will be” I decided, my child WOULD be — no matter what.
Carl and I went to my long time endocrinologist and after hormone injections and regular monitoring I got pregnant the first month — record time by infertility standards. In our first consultation I asked the doctor what my chances were of conceiving if I wanted one or two kids and he said it was as high or nearly as high as any woman’s on any given month.
Because I was adopted and never met my biological parents my craving to have a child of my own flesh was primal and ferocious. Whatever it took, for however long, for whatever amount of money in whatever country, I would do anything legal to have my own, and given my mindset at the time I probably would have skated on the legal fringes if it came down to it.
Failing wasn’t an option — while I totally supported adoption for other people, there was no plan B. There’s a kind of blind madness behind maternal drive, and yet women who don’t have this in my opinion, aren’t mad. Our conviction to opt out of having kids, to have one or twenty is equally irrepressible, equally non-negotiable.
Michelle Duggar and I: Two different moms, same love
The first time I watched the Duggars on their reality show “17 and Counting” (at the time) I remember wondering beyond the obvious head-scratcher why a woman would ever want to go through childbirth seventeen times and raise that many kids. I self-righteously assumed such an enormous group of kids from parents who clearly bred offspring like puppies had to be really messed up.
But to assume a family as big as the Duggars is seething with emotionally neglected kids and middle-child syndromes is as prejudicial as believing a family with one child is missing something.
Extreme family sizes make us want to re-calibrate to the middle, to adjust the dimensions of another parent’s life to come closer to ours, and so reinforce what we think to be right.
Years back a friend of mine was grocery shopping and saw a frantic mother trying to get her three kids who were running between the aisles to settle down. My friend remarked that she totally understood because she had three of her own at home, the woman said, “Yeah, it’s like those moms with one child aren’t really parents.”
Is it because of the discomfort of our mixed emotions, that squirrely motherhood ambivalence — that we adore our kids but hate the grind, that we sling arrows at a family that doesn’t match ours?
The number of children Michelle Duggar and I have are driven by the same intention — because of what defines us, because of what we feel kids deserve, both of us immune to the parameters society sets.
I’d guess Michelle and I both feel kids spring from a powerful power — mine from a spiritual place within that’s been quenched by my daughter, hers from a force above that perhaps wants more.
At first I was drawn to the Duggar family because I was fascinated with their bizarre world, and then because I liked watching them. What goes on in their lives when the camera’s aren’t watching, what level of function or dysfunction sits in their family compared to mine is impossible to say, but small family or enormous — the intention is the love that fills the household.
Which online sites do you trust for health information?
Search engine company Optimum 7 writes that Bing will rival Google in getting health results because Bing is narrowing their health information search results to 9 sites.
“This move will possibly allow Bing to make serious gains against Google as the population ages and higher quality medical information is needed by users,” writes Optimum.
“When it comes down to it, there is no substitute for 8 years of medical school and professional medical experience in the field. That’s apparently what Bing thinks as well, because they are limiting their results to the expert content generated by:
The Mayo Clinic, Medicine.net, Medstory, Medline Plus, The National Institute of Health (NIH), About.com, Wikipedia and others.”
While I don’t think relying on doctors is always the ideal pathway for a patient to get health information and to heal, I do agree for the most part, with Bing’s top 9 list.
I hate to see people land on health information sites and get half-baked answers. It’s a good idea for people to conduct their own credibility and gut check before they agree with high profile medical information providers, a doctor, mom, friend, neighbor, wellness writer — anyone.
Ultimately, we are in charge of our own wellness and if what the NIH, your doctor or mental health practitioner suggests doesn’t genuinely sit right with you, don’t do it. I put that much weight into deciding how to steer our individual wellness.
It’s more work to take charge, but it’s always worth it.
In my view, advice/information + personal experience + instinct = gained wisdom.
I’m no doctor but….
I’m not a healthcare practitioner but I do work hard to provide accurate, scientific findings in my articles, to offer my own experience and insights.
I attended the school of hard knocks by going to numerous doctors over the years, of trial and error, of my dedication to hundreds of hours researching medical science. As a Psychology student way back when, I poured over academic journals and learned how to read the language of peer-reviewed studies, the foreign language of term-heavy medical jargon.
More importantly, I understand how I feel when I try something and it works, or when it doesn’t.
Also, I was diagnosed with empty sella syndrome at age 19, a benign pituitary disorder that along with other contributing factors, sporadically affected my mood for decades. As a result of having post-partum depression and monthly mood changes, I dove unrelenting into studying the brain and natural mood management.
My obsession with the brain, what I believe is our most fascinating organ, (our beliefs, and the functions of the brain), my psychology degree and my personal belief that everyone can live a positive and empowered life led me to write the articles you’ll find on this website.
Natural medicine moves front and center
The once deemed quackery of medicine, the red-headed step-child of healing is slowly but surely becoming mainstream. Who isn’t taking at the very least, fish oil and a multi-vitamin? Chiropractic care, massage, acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), all of these healing practices have seeped into our paradigm of well-being.
I’ve been doing massage and chiropractic for more than a decade. I tried acupuncture a few times and felt floating and calm. I loved it. My medicine cabinet is my fridge and vitamin cabinet and I almost never get sick. If I get a sniffle, I wipe it out within a few days.
Preventative medicine by way of lifestyle changes, herbs, supplements and alternative healing practices have yet to become our nation’s FIRST line of defense for well-being, but these are no longer considered voo-doo fringe for the “granola-eating set.”
Increasingly conventional medicine combined with alternative solutions is becoming the wave of our health-care future. Practitioners from both fields will become friends, or at least friendly, best practices from both branches will merge into better healing solutions. Metabolic medicine will become the rage, changes we can make to prevent diabetes, heart disease and other epidemic level metabolic disorders that are largely due to what we eat, do and don’t do.
Dr. Mercola offers healing solutions not prescriptions
Kudos to Forbes for offering their best of alternative medicine sites. They “sifted through the muck and found reliable, informative sites“…
Excuse me but Dr. Mercola should top the list.
The issue I suspect is Dr. Mercola and other alternative medicine vocalists / activists have no problem bucking the traditional paradigm of conventional medicine for the good of their readers. Point out the layered politics behind the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and you’ll never make top lists in mainstream dialogue.
Mercola presents critical bias in favor of alternative medicine and he makes no apologies.
And, out of fairness to online medical information rankings, Mercola’s site is not an encyclopedic list of diseases symptoms, causes, and treatments. Mercola chooses health issues of his and the public’s interest then presents an argument against traditional approaches to address the issue.
He backs his report by peer-reviewed studies, studies cited in reputable publications such as the Lancet, the results of which can be found on Pub-Med, THE online database for reviewed medical research.
The National Center for Alternative and Complementary Medicine
The National Center for Alternative and Complementary Medicine (NCCAM) under the NIH, doesn’t make it into the news often, but I wonder with critics of the NCCAM like Dr. Wallace Sampson who set up a website calling for the defunding of the NCCAM due to its “quackery” how it ever could.
Writes Dr. Sampson on his website:
“While the public is distracted by terror attacks, wars, and personal and business scandals, modern medicine’s integrity is being eroded by New Age mysticism, cult-like schemes, ideologies, and classical quackery, all misrepresented as ‘alternative medicine.’ Using obscure language and misleading claims, their advocates promote changes that would propel medicine back five centuries or more.
They would supplant objectivity and reason with myths, feelings, hunches, and sophistry. NCCAM is presented as a scientific vehicle to study alternative medicine’s anomalous methods. But it actually promotes the movement by assuming that false and implausible claims are legitimate things to study.”
Dear sir, healing practices outside the standards set by Old School doctors are not “New Age” mysticism. The natural world compromised of organisms, botanicals, our minds and our invisible beliefs, these are the roots, the genetic code for all healing.
Doctors learned through desire, discovery, innovation and evolution how to use what the natural world gave them.
Now however, we use what pharmaceutical companies offer, what genetically modified, preservative-rich foods offer, what chronic stress and lack of exercise take away, and so our bodies are collectively screaming “OUCH!”
In response we find new drugs to fix what we created by bucking the natural laws, and the cycle continues. If that cycle of of insanity is more beneficial to healing than working within the natural world, our minds, and our “hunches” as you call it, then I’m at a total loss.
When medication harms
I’ll go with my gut to inform my health over five doctors scratching their heads and writing me another prescription, charging me thousands, who with the best of all intentions STILL can’t figure out the cure.
I’ll go with my husband’s instinct to pull himself OFF Baycol when it was prescribed to him by his doctor, despite the fact that his cholesterol was only borderline high.
Days later and “just not feeling right,” my husband stopped the medication on his own a decision that might have saved his life because Baycol was pulled from the market in 2001 after 31 people died from rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which muscle tissue breaks down resulting in kidney failure.
This FDA approved drug, like all drugs in the US, underwent the usual rigors of clinical trials before release, then like many drugs, harmed the consumer. Yet the natural methods of lowering my husband’s cholesterol worked without any side effects. But we remained open to trying a statin when his numbers rose so he took medication for six months, then weaned off and increased his nutraceuticals. His numbers remain good.
I’m in love with the world of science and medical research. Yet, scientific research, peer-reviewed reports, measurable results, all the parameters we use to decide what medicines and methods work are ONLY as good as they DO heal rather than just resolve some symptoms and yield new side effects.
Don’t discard the invisible power of your gut, your feelings and your OWN gained insights simply because doing so over reaches your doctor’s advice or the NIH, CDC or FDA. They don’t live in your body, you do.
Yet, I fully understand that we cannot prescribe unproven methods or supplements to millions of people, what has not been thoroughly tested in controlled clinical trials, over time, with repeatable results.
Alternative medicine becoming mainstream too slowly
A doctor friend of mine, an MD who supports alternative medicine, was kind enough to address my frustration with the slowness (or non-existence) of alternative practices and/or supplements getting into the healthcare paradigms. It relates to the law of unintended consequences and I fully respect the intention behind this. Prescribe the untested or unproven to a few patients, harm a few, prescribe to millions, harm millions.
But aren’t we doing that already with the long list of side effects we hand patients with our litany of drugs, the statins for instance, that we prescribe by the millions? We legally harm patient’s by accepting side effects as expected, but “unintended” consequences. Hmm.
And Dr. Sampson wants to discredit the alternative medicine branch of the NIH and strip away its funding. Talk about moving back in medicine five centuries.
So Dr Sampson, if the NCCAM threatens your institution’s comfort zone you chase it away rather than tightening up standards to prove validity and reliability? Rather than working to further our understanding of the mechanisms behind the nutraceuticals and ancient array of alternative healing practices that have worked for cultures, you liken this to witchcraft.
Not wise. The invisible unseen world, whether it’s cellular memory, the mind-body connection, gut or God, all of it informs our healing.
We should support the evolution of BOTH the traditional and alternative branches of medicine, to find the OVERLAP where the strengths and protocols of each branch CURES the patient rather than keeps them on a treadmill of symptoms and side effects and feathers the nests of the drug companies.
Writes Wikipedia Medicine : “Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness.”
The art of healing doesn’t sit entirely within the walls of scientific study, often it sits within our own minds, inside our instincts, along side the practitioners’ bedside manner.
Stay open-minded…placebo, nocebo
Belief is power.
Patients given placebos, sugar pills for a condition, show improvement just because they THINK it will work, even if they’re told they’re taking a placebo up front. The nocebo affect, when a patient takes a harmless, inactive substance and reports negative affects because they expect a negative outcome, is equally as fascinating.
The placebo, nocebo response demands we put the influence of the mind front and center to healing. The force of the mind is as important (much more so, IMO) to our health as the most promoted pharmaceutical or revered surgical procedure (which is, not to dilute the benefits of the latter in some cases.)
Believe acupuncture, supplements, magnetic therapy, herbs, chiropractic, TCM won’t do a thing for you?
Does it really matter how healing comes as long as healing comes safely, permanently and offers patients the eventual power to steer their own well-being?
I think THAT’s where the worry lies in the hearts of traditional medical practitioners who nay say alternative practices, fear of patients stumping and then trumping their own doctor.
What does it mean if the patient becomes the healer?
It’s not necessary to fight against alternative medicine to protect traditional practices, complementary medicine offers the best of both worlds. We will ALWAYS need our brilliant, our schooled, our insightful and compassionate doctors to partner with patients in their wellness, to give them the knowledge they do not have, but to ASSIST in their well-being, not to determine it.
We are evolving with new ideas, innovations and medical practices and so we must allow progress to flourish and to promote the well-being we all deserve.
To our empowerment,