This article begins a new, monthly column by a local Chiropractor
who will discuss philosophy and treatments offered by her profession.
Extensive research is used to develop these articles, but readers
should always consult their own health care professionals before
embarking on any course of treatment.
All healthcare professionals have the same goal - to help their patients either maintain a healthy body or regain good health. The difference between health professionals is their philosophy and methods used to achieve this common purpose. Today, choices range from "Allopathic" Healthcare (Treatment with remedies that produce effects differing from those of the disease) to a large group of professionals who help patients in other ways - so-called "Alternative" Healthcare including, but not limited to Osteopathy, Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine and Chiropractic.
Allopathic medicine traces its roots back to the 5th Century, B.C. when a Greek physician, Hippocrates, put forth the idea that nature healed all wounds and the physician was a modifier of that natural healing. He believed that medications could produce a counter effect to the symptoms of a disease - "opposite through opposite."1 This practice of medicine, generally associated with the label, M.D. (Medical Doctor), aspires to "treat disease and injury with active interventions, such as medical and surgical treatments, intended to bring about effects opposite of those produced by the disease or injury."2
The idea of helping people to maintain good health and recover from disease was not restricted to the Western world. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) dates back over 2500 years and can be traced to the text of Nei Ching, The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine." TCM is based on maintaining or restoring balance to the body so it can function properly. A primary form of TCM therapy is Acupuncture. Legend has it that physicians developed Acupuncture when observing unpredicted effects of puncture wounds in Chinese soldiers.3
Additional alternatives to Western medicine began to emerge in the 1800's. Osteopathic medicine was founded Dr. Andrew Still, a surgeon in the Civil War. After losing three children to Spinal Meningitis, he lost faith in traditional medicine and altered his philosophy and treatment to include the "whole person" rather than just a specific complaint. Attention is given to prevention, wellness and helping the body to heal on its own. Osteopathic practice (D.O.) bears many similarities to MD's - both can prescribe drugs and perform surgery and may practice in a specialty area.
Homeopathic medicine originated in the late 18th century. This practice was founded by a German physician, Samuel Hahnemann, who was disturbed by the harmful effects of strong medications. He considered the effect of Quinine on Malaria and reasoned that a minute dose of a substance that produces ill effects will be curative by stimulating the body to heal itself.
Chiropractic (my chosen health field) was founded in 1895 by Daniel David Palmer. A student of physiology and anatomy, he applied his knowledge of the nervous system and manual therapies. Chiropractors believe in whole body wellness and are concerned with the relationship of the spinal column and musculoskeletal system to the nervous system. We believe the nervous system is the key to the body's potential to heal itself. This is the body's "communication" system and relays information throughout the body and its organs. The spinal column protects this information system. Any misalignment or distortion (called "subluxation") causing abnormal pressure on the nerves distorts information from the brain to a particular part of the body causing stress, disharmony, degeneration and potential disease. These misalignments prevent the nervous system from functioning properly at its optimum level.4
Many branches of healthcare have evolved over time and have come to realize the complexities and multiple factors of health and illness. Each healthcare discipline addresses wellness in a different way and I will address these in more depth over time. My column is designed for educational purposes only. The information in this and subsequent articles is not intended to replace the attention or advice of a physician and/or health care professional.
Any person who wishes to pursue a course and/or action to prevent, treat and/or manage their or any other person's health concerns should always first consult a qualified health professional. None of the information or statements contained in this article is to be used in place of medical advice from a health professional. Nothing in this article is meant to imply a person should take actions toward any medical or chiropractic treatment without the consent and/or supervision of his/her doctor and/or specialist.
Staci Talan, D.C. has an office located in Fremont. She is a graduate of Sacramento State University where she earned a B.A. in Psychology. She continued her education at Life Chiropractic College-West in Hayward where she earned a doctorate in Chiropractic. She is a Certified Industrial Disability Evaluator and an active member of the California Chiropractic Association.
- E.J. Mayeaux Jr., M.D., A History of Western Medicine and Surgery. Available at http://libsh.isumc.edu/fammed/...
- Douglas M. Anderson, M.A., Mosbys Medical, Nursing, and allied Health Dictionary, 6th ed. Mosby Inc. 2002
- Kristine Krapp & Jaqueline L. Longe, The Gale Encyclopedia of alternative Medicine. Gale Group 2001
- Deepak Chopak, M.D., Alternative Medicine, The Definitive Guide. Future Medicine Pub., Inc. Tiburon, CA 1997.