Integrating alternative medicine(s) into a conventional practice (Proceedings)
Practitioners have a variety of reasons for wanting to integrate alternative medicines into their practice. In this session we will discuss some of these reasons and try to help practitioners decide which, if any, of the alternative medicines they might want to learn about so they can include them in their practice. (The following is adapted from Dr. Kidd's coaching/consulting approach via http://www.CoyoteSuccess.com/)
Reasons to add alternative medicines
•Benefit to the animal
Include such methods as acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine, homeopathy, flower essences (Bach Flowers), aromatherapy, nutritional and supplemental medicines (orthomolecular medicine), massage, Reiki, shamanism ... and many others not mentioned here.
Practitioners use alternative medicines to varying degrees – some consider themselves totally alternative or holistic; others integrate one of more of the alternative medicines into a regular western medicine practice, and the amount of their practice that represents alternative methods varies considerably. This has led to the terms "complementary or integrative medicine", terms which perhaps best describe the current state of alternative medicine. Interestingly, as alternative medicines become more and more popular, they then lose the term alternative and they become the "normal" or "regular" medicine.
Each of the alternative medicines has its own methodology, and oftentimes the paradigms of practicing the method are much different from the paradigms we use in Western medicine. It's often said that in order to practice many of the alternative medicines, it requires of the western-trained practitioner at least a temporary "suspension of disbelief".
The benefits of alternative medicines are manyfold, including: relative and comparative safety; efficacy (at least in the hands of many practitioners); cost effectiveness; ease of use (in many cases); low impact on the environment; and income-producing. In addition, learning how to use a new methodology, oftentimes requiring a new way of thinking, can be stimulating to any creative-minded practitioner.
Adding to the more tangible benefits of using alternative medicines is the intangible benefit that comes from being involved in a wide-ranging community of interested (and oftentimes very well-informed) individuals, all interested in alternative and/or more natural medicines, .
In my personal case, the biggest (and most unexpected) benefit of the alternative medicines came from their ability to enhance the human-animal bond, both between caretaker and animal and the practitioner (me) and the animal.
•As with any medical method, there are some disadvantages with the alternative medicines:
Questions to ask yourself as you become involved in alternative medicines
•What do I really want for my clients (patients and caretakers)?