In this episode we compare and contrast traditional western-style healthcare with the naturopathic model. We'll also reveal the surprising third leading cause of death in the United States.
What You'll Learn...
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Welcome to the Holistic Health Matters podcast. I'm your host, David Sandstrom. And this is episode number one.
This is my second episode. So if you're just checking this podcast out, you might consider backing up and listening to episode number zero. In that episode, I gave you a little background about who this podcast is for who I am. My qualifications and why I started the podcast. In this episode, we're going to bring some clarity to the different approaches to healthcare. First, let me say that I believe that traditional or western style allopathic medicine and natural and holistic healthcare can coexist. I believe in both of them, but I believe we need to understand their strengths and weaknesses and when and how to use them appropriately. So we're gonna lay some foundation here about what it means to embrace a natural and holistic lifestyle. I want to start off by saying that I have a tremendous amount of respect for the people that work in the medical field. I believe that our healthcare system here in the US is second to none. And our emergency rooms are staffed with the most competent, professional, caring doctors, nurses and allied staff that there is anywhere the best there is. We have the best technology on the planet. We have imaging technology that helps with diagnosis, early detection of disease, and it helps doctors to formulate treatment plans. We have pharmaceuticals available that not only brings symptom relief, but they can control inflammation, manage pain, fight infections. Pharmaceuticals can help to control infectious diseases. Drugs can stop a heart attack and they save many lives, no doubt. So there are times when the use of drugs is absolutely appropriate. And surgery can be very useful as well. It not only saves lives but helps improve the quality of life for many.
I want to share a quick story. About four years ago. It was a nice day. It was February here in Atlanta and it was a warm day and I just wanted to get outdoors and get some exercise and fresh air. So I just decided to do some trimming of the trees in my front yard. Well, I foolishly put an extension ladder up against a tree and climbed up there and when the branch came off, it hit my ladder and knocked it off the tree and I came down with it. I fell 26 feet, landed on my feet, but I crushed my heel my calcaneus and I was in a great deal of pain. My neighbor was with me and he called 911 and the paramedics came and they took me to the Hospital in an ambulance. And in the in the ambulance ride. The guy said you're in a lot of pain, right? I said, Sure. And he said, Would you like some morphine? I said, Absolutely. So he gave me some morphine and man that I gotta tell you that helped my pain a great deal very quickly too. When I got to the hospital, they x rayed by foot and showed me the X ray. And it was pretty devastating. My bone wasn't just cracked, it was shattered into a bunch of pieces and crushed. I drove my tibia, which is the bone between the ankle and the knee, right through the heel bone, the calcaneus and just absolutely crushed it. So I went to see an orthopedic surgeon and the first surgeon I saw said, you know, this is a very serious injury and I recommend that we fuse your ankle bone together, and I didn't like sout of that. And we live in Roswell, Georgia. It's quite hilly up here. We live at the base of the Appalachian Mountains and I would have lost mobility of my foot to bend left and right. And that would have been very difficult walking on an uneven surface. I saw a second surgeon and I heard him talking outside the room before he came in and I met him. And they were discussing my x rays. And he came in and put his hand out and he introduced himself. And the first thing he said to me was, I've looked at your x rays, and I've got enough bone fragment to repair your heal. We're not even going to talk about a fusion. And I said, You're hired. So it was Emory University here in Atlanta, and I gotta tell you, the surgery came out incredibly well. I woke up from that surgery and they showed me the X rays, and I saw my heel bone put back together, they literally put Humpty Dumpty back together again. I all I could do was cry. I had tears in my eyes when I saw that my heel bone had been put back together, because without that surgery, I would be crippled.
So I share that story because I want you to know that I very much appreciate medical doctors and surgeons and hospitals and what they can do they improve the quality of life for many. They did me and they save the lives of many others. So as good as our healthcare system is here in the US, it's not without its shortcomings. So I apologize in advance for having to point out some of the shortcomings and it's not my intention to belittle anyone's career, or system. But if we're going to discuss natural and holistic healthcare adequately, we need to address some of the shortcomings of the allopathic style or western style medicine. If you're in the medical field, or you know someone who is, I would encourage you to just hang in there with me. I'm going to be sharing some facts and I'm going to be putting some links to the articles that I referenced so that if you care to you can go there and look this information up for yourself. I'll put it in the show notes at DavidSandstrom.com So, the healthcare system we embrace here in the US is more like disease control than it is healthcare. We're not given a whole lot about a lot of information about prevention, or strengthening our systems. We simply wait till we get sick. And then we go see a doctor and we see the doctor for a quick five or 10 minute visit, walk out with a prescription in our hands, that's likely to bring side effects and sometimes very uncomfortable ones. So I just want to help everyone recognize the strengths and the weaknesses of the different healthcare systems and choose appropriately when we need it. When I had my foot accident, I certainly needed a medical doctor, I needed a surgeon and are very grateful that I found a good one. And that was a perfectly good and appropriate use of allopathic style medicine. allopathic style medicine is great in emergencies. That's where it shines. But when it comes to long term health challenges, It loses some of its excellence. That's where we're sometimes better served with natural and holistic methods.
So one of the first things we have to talk about is who's responsible for our health care? When I was growing up, there was a term that was quite popular. It's not not so much today, but it was doctor's orders. So when you went to the doctor and he told you to do something, man, you did it. You didn't question his advice, and you took it as orders and you follow them. When we go see an attorney, we listen to the attorneys advice. We're paying him for his expertise, and he advises us on legal matters. We also have Investment Advisors. So why don't we apply that same thinking to our healthcare, I suggest that we should. These medical professionals are trained in their field, and they should be offering us advice, but ultimately, we are the ones in charge of our own healthcare. We've got to remember that an MD is a Doctor of Medicine. And what they do is they diagnose disease, and they treat that disease with pharmaceuticals. And if that doesn't work, they use surgery. Again, absolutely appropriate at times.
I want to draw your attention to a survey that included 2000 adults, conducted by Consumer Reports that finds that 55% of Americans regularly take prescription medicine. In addition, according to the Institute for Human data science, the number of prescriptions filled annually in America, Rose 85% between 1997 and 2016. prescriptions filled went from 2.4 billion in 97 to 4.5 billion a year in 2016. That's just short of a 100% increase in prescription drug use. During the same timeframe, the US population rose by 21% you might say say, Well why is this a problem? I thought drugs do a lot of good. Well, they do. But here's part of the problem. That headache you've got. It's not caused by an aspirin deficiency. The high blood pressure is not caused by low levels of ACE inhibitor drugs. There are problems associated with all that druggies. According to data from the US government in 2014, nearly 1.3 million people sought emergency room treatment for adverse drug effects, and about 124,000 of those people died.
Drugs are powerful substances and even at properly prescribed dosages can prove deadly. You see, drugs are highly potentized substances. It's kind of like for instance, think about rat poison. When you put out rat poison because you want to you found a rat in your attic or something like that. Most of what's in that pellet is in there just to cause the make it attractive to the rat to eat. The amount of poison in there is is very very small most of it as a filler so that the rat will eat it. The same is true with pharmaceuticals most of what's in that capsule is a filler so that the pills look nicer and are easier to handle. The exact amount of pharmaceutical drug in there is quite small in terms of the size. Because drugs are so potent and powerful, it's easy to overdo it with them. It's kind of like the old repairing a wristwatch with a sledgehammer metaphor.
Quick story, when I was, I was an airline Captain back in 2001 when 911 occurred. And of course everyone knows that the aviation system was shut down for a few days. And when we got back to flying, everyone was on edge and the government started putting a lot more air marshals on board. Well back that at that point in time, air marshals came up and did a briefing with the flight crew before the flight, and the discussion is generally pretty routine. Yeah, here's my identification. Here's my seat number. Well, at that point in time, there was some discussion about if we were to be under a terrorist attack, that we could do these drastic up and down motions with the aircraft and pin if they were walking through the aisle, we could pin them to the ceiling of the floor and hopefully incapacitate them. Well, it was determined that that was very bad advice, because an airliner is not designed or engineered to be flown that way, and we could overstressed the aircraft. So that that was bad advice. But there was discussion about that at this at that time. And one of the air marshals came up talk to me one time and he said, You know, I'm armed, I have a gun. And if we have a terrorist, none of this up and down stuff, just give me a stable platform and I'll take em out. I said right on brother, you've got it. And then he goes on to say, if you have a drunk back there, give me a stable platform. I'll take them out. I said, Well, whait a minute, timeout? We don't shoot people for being drunk. And his partner said, Yeah, yeah, he's just a little overzealous, you know that he's okay. You know, we're right. Because I was actually considering asking him to get off the airplane because that was that was overkill, and that was absolutely inappropriate. Well, the same is true with the use of drugs. Sometimes we can get a little overzealous with it. And because they're so strong and potent, they can be more than our bodies need at that point in time. The point is this. Drugs should be used as a last resort and not a frontline defense.
You see, drugs block our natural function. Dr. Sherry Rogers in her book, detoxifier die has this to say, quote: Drugs destroy natural function. Rather than fixing what is broken. The pathway is merely turned off, analogous to turning off your car's flashing red oil light. That is why drug classifications include inhibitors or blockers, which poison normal bodily processes. Just look at the classifications, antibiotics, antihistamines, anti inflammatory drugs, ACE inhibitors, blood pressure medicines, and acids, acidic cola restaurants inhibitors for Alzheimer's HMG coenzyme, A inhibitors, cholesterol lowering medicines and ma o inhibitors or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for depression. H-2 blockers for heartburn and calcium channel blockers for heart and blood pressure problems. But a new chemical to detoxify in the form of medicine is the last thing and already ailing detoxification system needs to be overloaded with clearly with drugs. The sick gets sicker quicker." Unquote. This destroying of natural function Dr. Rogers is referring to is commonly referred to as side effects.
You see, here's the problem. The complexity of the human body is absolutely mind boggling. And it's very difficult to improve upon God's design. The fourth century philosopher St. Augustine had this to say, quote: "Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of the mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, and the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering." Again, the human body is incredibly complex. And once you start to study it, it really truly is amazing. Our brains have about 100 billion neurons. That's nerve cells. about another hundred billion support cells total in our bodies, most experts agree that we have something like 75 trillion cells. Now, I know throwing out a number like that doesn't mean a whole lot because our government spends trillions of dollars all the time. But 75 trillion is an incredibly large number. To put it in perspective, and I did the math on this. If you started counting seconds, how long do you think it would take to count 75 trillion seconds? When I asked that question, most people come up with a response something like 100 years. Well, the actual answer is 75 trillion seconds is 3.2 million years. That's a lot of cells. And, each cell has a complex interaction with the cells around it. And those interactions create reactions and sequences of bodily processes. So here's what happens with drugs. If we take a drug like to pharmaceutical, and we alter process A, then process B, C, D, and E all get affected. That's what's known as side effects. God gave our bodies have built in intelligence. And it's very difficult to improve upon God's design. Now, again, I'm not trashing all drugs, they can be very, very useful at times, and they do save lives. don't hear me Don't hear me incorrectly on that.
Here's the concept I want to explain a little bit further. God has given our bodies a built in intelligence. Natural healthcare practitioners, such as myself like to call it vitalism. And it goes like this. Our bodies know what to do. We don't have to teach any of our 75 trillion cells how to do their jobs, they already know what to do. For instance, if you were to cut your finger with a kitchen knife, your body would immediately dispatch fibrin and other clotting factors to stop the bleeding, then it would start mounting an immune response and start looking for microscopic invaders that may have entered the bloodstream through the laceration. And then it would dispatch cellular repair proteins such as cholesterol and other factors to start repairing the skin. a scab may form and when the scab was no longer needed, the body would dispatch enzymes that would dissolve it and get rid of it. All of these things happen at a subconscious level. We don't even have to pay any attention to it. It happens automatically happens by default. That's vitalism. Our bodies know what to do, and they're wired for health. In order to address our health, naturally and holistically, we need to lean in on this God-given, built in wisdom.
Again, drugs do have their place but by definition, all drugs have side effects. Sometimes the side effects are deadly. When I was doing research for my book, I found that when doctors go on strike, death rates drop, sometimes dramatically. research done at Emory University looked at five studies from Doctor strikes around the globe. And they found that when doctors walk off their jobs, death rates plummeted. The strikes lasted from nine days to five weeks. During the doctor strike in Israel, death rates dropped by 50%.
I know that sounds incredible, but it gets even worse. According to research done by Dr. Barbara starfield of the john Hopkins School of Hygiene and public health, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA, which is a very well respected medical journal, I transgenic deaths. Those caused by doctors and hospitals are the third leading cause of death after cancer and heart disease. According to Dr. starfield, Doctor induced deaths claim 225,000 lives annually. That's more than 600 people per day. And these numbers only include deaths in hospitals. They do not include individuals who die in their homes after they're released from the hospital. That's the equivalent of two wide body jet airliners crashing and killing everyone on board every day. If that was the case with our nation's aviation system, there would be a national outcry for Congress to pass some laws that would address the hazards of getting on an airplane. Why don't we hear a national outcry about the unnecessary deaths in hospitals due to medical errors and inappropriate care? Doctor induced means that they are preventable. A lot of the deaths that Dr. Starfield found, were due to infections that were connected happened in the hospital, bed sores from inappropriate nursing care, improperly prescribed medications and those types of things. That's all avoidable. To be fair, doctors and hospitals see a lot of seriously ill and injured people every day. And they do save many lives. But is there a massive room for improvement? there absolutely is.
In 2015, Americans spent $3.2 trillion on health care. That's about $10,000 per person. That's more than any other nation where the highest per capita on health care spending than anyone. Are we getting our money's worth? Well, maybe maybe not. Our infant mortality rate is double that of other industrialized nations. We have the ninth highest cancer rate among 50 countries. And America was ranked last overall among 11 industrialized nations on measures of health care system quality, and efficiency. And again, I'm going to put all the references to these articles in the show notes. If you want to look those facts up, it'll be available in this episode at DavidSandstrom.com.
Now, we can't blame all of these problems on the broken healthcare system. There is a very high consumer demand for what's being offered. The health care system in the US wouldn't be as big and financially successful as it is without high demand. This is what we're asking for. The problem is most people don't care an awful lot about their health and they treat it with a fast food mentality. They want to pull into the drive-thru and walk out with a prescription that's going to solve their issues. a pill for every ill as the saying goes, or a potion or lotion to fix your issues. With allopathic medicine, the focus is on treating the symptoms of the illness. They're not overly concerned with finding the root cause. In summary, MDs or medical doctors are focused on the diagnosis and treatment of disease with drugs and surgery. Western style allopathic medicine is based on the concept of allopathy. Webster's Dictionary defines alloptathy as "A system of medical practice that aims to combat disease, by use of remedies as drugs or surgery, producing effects different from or incompatible with those produced by the disease being treated." end quote. The key phrase here is different from or incompatible with the disease. In other words, the drug or surgery that's being administered works in opposition to the infection or disease, rather than in cooperation with our body's natural design. Not only that, often doctors tend to specialize and consider a single organ or system in isolation. Financial considerations are forcing doctors into specialty fields. And as a result, they consider a single organ or body system in isolation. For instance, oncologist prescribed chemotherapy for cancer. Sure, chemotherapy drugs shrink tumors, but they also break down the immune system at the same time. So oncologist consider a reduction in tumor size and effective treatment. Yet the person's life may be shortened because they come down with an infection as a result of a weakened immune system. Again, I'm not saying that there's never a time when drugs are appropriate there is and chemotherapy has saved many lives. The point I'm making is this. allopathic medicine treats the illness that has the person naturopathy, treats the person that has the illness. There's a huge difference in these two approaches. The Bible says in First Corinthians Chapter 12 verses 30 and 31. "Not all have the gift of healing, but earnestly desire the best gifts, and I will show you a more excellent way." There is a better or more excellent way, we should be taking greater personal responsibility for our own health by embracing a natural and holistic model. I believe we can maximize our health potential by aligning our lives more fully with God's designed for spirit, mind and body. This approach leads us to the naturopathic model. Naturopathy is more closely aligned with that ideal, with our design. In my credential naturopathic doctor, the term doctor is used to refer to a teacher. So a naturopathic doctor is a teacher of natural health.
If we really want to maximize our health potential and improve our health outcomes are filled should be on making appropriate lifestyle modifications to strengthen our internal terrain. When it comes to microscopic organisms like viruses, bacteria or fungi that had the potential to make us sick, they are all opportunistic organisms, they will thrive in an environment that's conducive for the replication. What we want to do or what our goal should be is to make our bodies a hostile environment for these microscopic, these undesirable microscopic organisms. So our focus should be on prevention, rather than just hoping we don't get sick and you know, after that, see the doctor. If we do this and we build some health margin into our lives, then if we do get sick, the symptoms will be milder and we'll recover more quickly. So that brings us to a very important concept when it comes to understanding the naturopathic approach to healthcare and that is the concept of total body load. My good friend Bill Walcott, author of the book, the metabolic typing diet has come up with a great metaphor to explain this concept. It's very important. I want you to picture a two by four straddled across a couple of sawhorses. The empty 2X4 is strong and durable. Well, what if we started stacking bricks on top of our two by four? It can handle a few bricks, no problem. But if we keep stacking bricks, two by four is going to start to sag. And if we continue to stack bricks, there is going to come a point where one more brick and the two by four will snap. Now, was the problem the last brick or was the problem the total load of bricks underneath? I would suggest that the single brick is not a problem at all. It's the total load of bricks underneath that caused the problem. The last brick simply became the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. Well, in this metaphor, the two by four the empty board is health the way it should be, think 21 year old Olympic athletes strong and durable. The bricks are the lifestyle factors that serve to impede our health building efforts. Things like nutritional deficiencies, eating processed, genetically modified foods, lack of rest, stress, those kinds of things they serve to pull our vitality down. We call them health blocking factors. When the bricks start to stack up and the two by four begins to sag, that's when we start to experience some uncomfortable symptoms. And when the two by four snaps, that's when our health fails. The concept of total body load explains why some people get sick and others don't. For instance, if you're working in an office environment with a couple of dozen people, and someone shows up to work with a cold or a flu, well, everyone in the office is going to be exposed but not everyone is going to come down with that illness. The people that succumb to the illness are simply carrying a higher total body load than the ones who don't. The people with a lighter total body load, have enough margin to be able to absorb that challenge to their immune system and, and not be affected by it. As good as the sawhorse metaphor is it comes up short of explaining the the whole naturopathic approach to health. We not only need to avoid health blocking factors the brakes on our to before, we also need to bring in as many health enhancing factors as we can. We could also look at health as a seesaw where on one side of the seesaw is health blocking factors. And the other side is health enhancing factors like exercise, good sleep, positive relationships, positive emotions, all these things serve to build health. And we what we want to do is stack our seesaw in a lopsided fashion. We have far more health enhancing factors going on, then we do health blocking factors. All of this could come under the heading of stress reduction by reducing our stress levels. We build health barging into our lives in as shock absorbers help to smooth out the ride in our cars as we experienced bumps in the road, health margin, will put us in a better position to handle the curveballs that life throws at us in the form of an illness or an accident.
Again, allopathic medicine treats the illness that has the person, nature, apathy treats the person that has the illness, quite a different approach to health. Treating the person that has the illness means treating the whole person, body, mind and spirit in unison. Human beings are created as three part creatures. We are spirit. We have a mind and we live in a body and the natural health model we seek to cooperate with our divine design and work alongside the body's natural processes by supporting and encouraging our innate healing mechanisms. Once again, we need to lean into that God-given built in intelligence and allow our bodies to heal themselves. We've just got to get the obstacles out of the way. The naturopathic philosophy naturally leads us to a holistic approach. However, here's part of the problem with the natural approach to health. Most natural health practitioners are focused primarily on the physical building offer us useful measures on improving our nutrition that will tell us to eat local and organic or raw or vegan or paleo or keto, whichever the case may be. They'll offer us targeted supplementation which can be very useful at times. They'll recommend exercise programs, whether it be cardio training, hit training at the gym. high intensity interval training, resistance training, they'll recommend that we get in touch with nature go for a walk outside on the beach or at a park. They'll recommend that we get better sleep and things like detoxification protocols from coffee enemas to colonic to saunas or massage therapy. They may recommend chiropractic care, maybe even something as fancy as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or extreme hot cold therapy, or cranial sacral therapy, these kinds of things. They're all very useful, and they will strengthen our internal terrain and help us build health margin. That's all well and good. But these things are all focused solely on the physical. The whole person includes the mind and spirit as well. A truly holistic practitioner understands the spirit Mind-Body connection and the relationship between them. And as a result, we'll look into things such as our self-talk our belief system, especially limiting beliefs that we hold. They'll talk about processing emotions and avoiding emotional constipation, especially when it comes to the toxic motion such as anger, rage and bitterness. We should all be looking for ways to bring more love, joy and peace into our lives. This is health building. They'll talk about avoiding loneliness in relational connectedness. Research tells us that loneliness increases our risk factor for dying from any disease from all causes. We'll talk about forgiveness, or pursuing righteousness or holiness or sanctification in our lives. We're going to be going over all this stuff in future episodes because all of this impacts our physical vitality. I want to leave you with one more metaphor that I came up with. The holistic approach to health could be thought of as an Olympic rowing team. You know the long boats that with several rowers in them, each member of the team has a different role. The role was in the back of the boat set the pace. The role was in the front of the boat are responsible for steering the rowers in the middle of the boat other stronger members of the team and they produce the most power per stroke. When the or hits the water, it's called the catch. And when it leaves the water, it's called the release. The leverage generated when the or is between the catcher release is what propels the boat forward. Obviously, all members of the team need to be working in unison to maximize the speed of the boat. What would happen if two thirds of the team members decided to stop rowing or worse yet started rowing in the wrong direction. This team would obviously not be standing on the podium at the end of the event. The same is true with our health building efforts. Each member of our team, body, mind and spirit should be working together in unison, we've got to have all of our proverbial oars in the water generating leverage at the same time. When we do this, effectively, we experience a synergy. When it comes to holistic health, one plus one plus one equals four. The definition of holism is that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This is how we maximize our health potential. This is how we build health as opposed to treating disease. Now, if we've already lost our health, the same principle applies. We lighten our total body load and give our bodies more margin more ability to heal and repair and recover.
If this is making sense to you, I encourage you to subscribe to the podcast, and go to my website DavidSandstrom.com There you can find show notes with every episode and links to everything we've talked about, as well as a transcript with timestamps and links to specific areas of the talk. So if you want to review a specific portion and you prefer reading, you can go straight to that part of the talk. As many of you know that this is a new podcast, and I could sure use your help in spreading the word. I would appreciate you telling your friends about it and leaving me a review with a star rating on Apple podcasts. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed the podcast, there's a real good chance you'll enjoy my book, the Christians guide to holistic health. It's available on Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audible. Well, that's it for now. Thanks for tuning in. And I'll talk with you next week.