How does Herbal Medicine fit into 21st Century living and wellbeing?"
Public and professional opinion on the issue of traditional therapies is now extremely divided in the UK. The realistic benefits of traditional therapies including herbal medicine are being marginalised by seemingly rational arguments that are based on scientific reductionist viewpoints. So what are the main issues between orthodox and traditional medicines and why is there such a divide between the two here in the UK?
Traditional practitioners including herbalists are most concerned with the individual patient outcome. That is - did the patient perceive himself or herself to feel better during/after treatment? The focus is on the individual person and their subjective experience along with the practitioners objective observation. It is the patient’s personal belief that the treatment was effective. The most useful way of researching this is to monitor the patient using one to one consultations. The herbal medicine in London that I provide is based on the principal of ‘personal equipoise’.
Modern medicine is most concerned with population outcomes. That is, did a large group of people feel better during/after treatment. The focus is on sections of the population and the objective observation of the researchers. The most common way of examining this is through Random Controlled Trials. It is based on the principal of ‘clinical’ or ‘collective’ equipoise’.
Conflict has arisen between the traditional and modern systems of health and medicine because each believes that their way of measuring patient outcomes is superior. However, arguments have existed for sometime that the principle of randominsed controlled trials and collective equipoise can conflict with the development of personal equipoise (Edwards et al, 1998; Torgenson and Roland, 1998). The individual healing process can suffer at the expense of the collective healing process – and vice versa. For example, the NHS does not have the resources to dedicate the time needed to achieve truly satisfactory personal equipoise. Its organization necessarily revolves around the collective equipoise. This makes it difficult to introduce traditional therapies into the NHS. This difficulty leads to a negative reaction from both sides and corresonding accusations and justifications of each other’s methods.
Both traditional and orthodox paradigms hold importance to the healing process of the patient. As a provider of herbal medicine in London, I seek to continue using a traditional approach, using a mixture of empirical and scientific evidence based practice in order to help the patient achieve personal equipoise with their health. If you are interested in learning more about the herbal medicine in London that I provide, please feel free to use the contact form on my Contact page.
References: Edwards SJL, Lilford RJ, Hewison J (1998). "The ethics of randomised controlled trials from the perspectives of patients, the public, and healthcare professionals". Br Med J 317 (7167): 1209–12. Torgerson DJ, Roland M (1998). "What is Zelen's design?". Br Med J 316 (7131): 606.