What is integrative medicine for you?
It is the result of a whole life process. After finishing my medical degree and, later on, during the years of my specialty, an opening of consciousness came into my life that made me wake up, completing all this medical training with complementary medicine techniques. All this on a spiritual basis. Integrative medicine means for me to unify both paradigms, to take the best of each one, without discriminating, in order to offer the patient what he/she needs at each moment.
What is the difference with respect to what we know as official medicine?
The medicine that we understand as official is going to treat the symptom. If you have pain, official medicine prescribes you an analgesic, an anti-inflammatory, gives you the same X-ray for similar pathologies, the protocol is the same for the same disease.
On the other hand, complementary or holistic medicine sees the symptom as a signal that the body gives you to become aware of something that needs to be modified. It is a warning and an opportunity given to the person to work on something.
Complementary medicine is personalized for each patient, depending on their pain, their injury, and what it hides on a personal level, often something emotional. In such a way that the approach to the same symptom in two people can be different, there is no established protocol. Consider the person as a whole, as a being with a body, soul, emotions, mind and spirit. When you work with a spiritual and emotional basis you look at the patient in a different way, you accept him/her and put yourself as an equal. The approach is different, the doctor is not above, you go to the patient with love and you approach in a one-on-one relationship, a word, a look, and listening is more effective than many pills.
For me it is very important to connect with the patient, to such an extent that I consider that in the medical act there is a mutual help in our vital process. So I always reflect inwardly: Who helps whom?
How do the two types of medicine complement each other? What do you use from each?
Integrative medicine gives you the opportunity to combine and use, in each particular case, the best of both paradigms. For example, in the hospital I see people with high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia, cardiovascular pathologies, myocardial infarction, diabetics, vascular problems, chronic kidney disease, patients on hemodialysis, and all of them take a large number of pills. In many cases, depending on the severity of the pathology and of each patient, the use of these drugs may be necessary and that is fine, but on other occasions, an approach with complementary medicine is more advisable. I recognize that in the hospital I cannot use these techniques, due to the medical environment and also, often, the patient who comes to the hospital consultation is not yet prepared for the other medicine.
The person has to be aware and in that way, they are looking for the natural, the holistic and so they are able to live the pain and ask themselves where it comes from and what they have to change in themselves so that it disappears and heal the disease.
Do you think that society in general, and patients in particular, take responsibility for our own health?
The truth is that in my work as a physician I see many people who do not want to be completely healed, but rather live behind the disease, and leave the responsibility in the hands of the physician. In many cases it is an unconscious process and they do not know what is behind it all. If they took more responsibility for their diseases, they would open up to reflect, to see what they can change about themselves, what the disease is telling them about their life.
What changes do you see in patients when you treat them in this way?
First of all, they are surprised that a specialist talks to them about emotions, about the signs of the disease, about reflecting on their life. Also, during the consultation, we often talk about everything except their blood pressure. If they understand it, they accept the disease more, they trust it more, they face the disease in a different way and their life changes. As they open up to other levels of consciousness they begin to think about what the disease brought them and what it wants to tell them.
The disease brings changes, and accepting the pain it brings is difficult. For example, kidney disease is linked to fear, the fear of death; these are people who can either take a step towards life or take a step towards death. My responsibility and mission is to help awaken their consciousness, to enable their transformation, to look towards life. I feel I must be there to make them see the need for a change in their lives. A change that the disease is asking them to make through their doctor. Accompaniment, listening and love are key in this process. I offer them a broader vision of their process. Always with respect and accepting their decision on my part.
In the future, do you think that official medicine will be open to incorporate complementary medicine?
There is a certain fear among professionals to open up because it is a subject that is not recognized; what is permitted and recognized is official medicine. Although in some places some techniques are being introduced, it is still something punctual.
It causes a certain rejection in the more officialized professionals. In any case, there is more and more openness among professionals, administrations and also patients are demanding it more frequently. I must say that I feel more and more secure and confident to open up in this sector and show myself as I am, offering my way of thinking and my positioning. I believe that being able to offer patients both visions and to use what is most convenient for each one and at each moment is a great opportunity. I think we are in a process of transformation of medicine, of transition.
What is well seen is the antibiotic, the anti-inflammatory… whatever stops the symptom. However, with a more holistic vision of Medicine, we favor the cleansing reactions of the organism and this implies that there may be symptoms such as diarrhea, inflammation, a few tenths of temperature ….. And these are cleansing symptoms that instead of stopping them with drugs, it would be a matter of accompanying them to expel them, without drugs. And this is something that the patient and the professional have to understand. In this case, the symptom would be part of a healing process.
In any case, integrative medicine does not reject the use of drugs or surgery or more invasive techniques, since they are necessary in many cases. What is intended is to give priority to natural methods, less aggressive, less expensive when possible, involving the body, emotions, mind and spirit of our patients throughout this process, prioritizing the prevention of disease. Choose in each particular case the most appropriate of each medicine for our patient. In the end, healing involves attention to the body, soul, emotions, mind and spirit.