It’s impossible to imagine a world without our modern healthcare system with its ever-expanding range of CAT scans, MRI’s, antibiotics, medications, radiation therapies, robotic surgery, and all its other tools. Though certainly not without problems of sometimes adverse side effects, conventional medicine has achieved gigantic leaps in rescuing humanity from potentially lethal diseases and preserving life.
The Horse is Already Out of the Barn…
We neither could ever nor should ever abandon the technological advances which have been developed and go back to relying exclusively on a more natural, holistic approach. A global vaccination program in the 1960’s has eradicated smallpox; the discovery of insulin in the 1920’s has allowed type 1 diabetics to live a normal lifespan. Should any of us suffer a sudden acute illness or trauma we would of course need the services of the nearest hospital equipped with all these modern medical interventions.
But despite the tremendous health advantages we all receive from the technological advances of conventional medicine, this paradigm still does not sufficiently address what afflicts many of us even more commonly than acute illnesses: chronic disease. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention – chronic illness accounts for 70% of all deaths (1,2) in the United States. While modern medicine does in fact have its established protocols for these conditions (e.g. ischemic heart disease, stroke, autoimmune disorders, cancer, neuro-muscular disease, allergies, gastrointestinal and digestive disorders, hormonal imbalances, diabetes, osteoporosis, mental health, Alzheimers, obesity, chronic pain, and many others), these protocols are largely only aimed at controlling or suppressing the symptoms—not curing the condition at its root. That is because the entire paradigm of conventional medicine is geared toward killing or cutting out the disease. There is nothing to “cut out” in chronic disease.
As more and more people realize that conventional medicine is inadequate for curing or even treating chronic illness, more patients and their families are evaluating and using holistic and alternative medicine on their own without the support of conventional medical communities and insurance companies. This often is a very scary and isolating process which is often unsuccessful. Dr. Gerson has been on the front-line of primary medical care for over thirty years and has witnessed the fear and desolation this situation causes. Insurance companies might very well change their policies if high-quality research studies were available to show the safely and efficacy of these alternative approaches. Some have already begun to cover acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, and other forms of treatment but the majority of non-conventional therapies remain uncovered. FHMR deeply desires to contribute to the burgeoning scientific evidence which clarifies the value of alternative medicine so it can someday be accepted by the prevailing medical system and covered by medical insurance.
Thus, to increase proven medical options, it makes sense to conduct high-quality basic and clinical alternative medical research, especially into where people continue to suffer and conventional medicine is ineffective.
Governmental and Pharmaceutical Companies Role in Funding this Research?
Only <0.5% of National Institutes of Health biomedical funds are allocated to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) for alternative medical research (3) and yet two-thirds of Americans use some form of it. With regard to herbal medicine, there is also almost no funding support from the pharmaceutical companies because researching natural supplements that cannot be patented does not allow these commercial entities to be profitable.
The conventional medical establishment and medical insurance companies depend on peer-reviewed, high-quality research studies when making recommendations and reimbursements, respectively. Only after an alternative medical treatment is proven safe, efficacious and cost effective, is it then integrated into conventional medicine.
Unfortunately, currently there is a (justifiable) perception of poor alternative medical research methodology in the eyes of the conventional medical and insurance industries; this view is further validated by the NIH’s own National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (formerly NCCAM) itself.
The Problem with the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health(NCCIH): Putting the Cart Before the Horse
The research which is needed today really has very little to do with “complementary and integrative” health. It’s still way too early to fund such clinical studies into acupuncture, Ayurveda, Reiki, etc. What is needed before that is rigorous pre-clinical, basic science data addressing the question not of how well these modalities work in treating any condition but rather if they even exist. How can clinical research investigations be funded which look at the efficacy of acupuncture, for example, when we haven’t yet established the reality of the meridian system? Nor do we know the true mechanism of action of even one herbal medicine, or if in addition to muscles therapeutic massage affects the biomagnetic field of the human body, or if a human biomagnetic field—the implicit assumption in Reiki and all forms of energy medicine—even exists? That level of basic science investigation is perhaps where our government’s research dollars should be spent.
Moreover, there’s no scientific rationale why studies into herbal medicine, Ayurveda, homeopathy, acupuncture, meditation, or energy medicine should be sequestered away as “alternative” in a specialized center like the NCCIH; they could be objectively evaluated just like any other scientific hypothesis by any investigator willing to do good science.
A true change of direction in which systematic, coordinated and rigorous development of appropriate evidence at the level of basic science and preclinical research becomes a prerequisite for launching clinical trials is necessary to truly utilize our healthcare research resources efficiently and effectively.
We are also of the opinion that good science should not be unnecessarily saddled with metaphysical baggage or other terminologies rooted in non-verifiable belief systems. There must be a willingness to translate Traditional non-scientific terminology and thinking into something that can be measured and tested. This has always been the challenge in applying modern science to traditional medicine, but it’s also what is most exciting and stimulating. Only then can we hope to learn something useful about whether a particular phenomenon exists and if so what is its underlying mechanisms of action.
How You Can Help Create a New Model of Wellness and Human Potential?
The Foundation for Holistic Medical Research has assembled an expert panel of world-renowned researchers on our international advisory board to ensure that any funding for research will be well conceived and designed and will meet the most stringent mainstream research standards.
We solicit your support to help us raise funding to validate and promote holistic medicine research to address chronic illness in all parts of the globe. In the ancient Indian tradition of Ayurveda we have a famous saying, Vasudhaiva Kutumbhakam, “The entire world is one family.”
It is our core belief at FHMR that any individual human being’s suffering anywhere in the world diminishes us as a whole. Our medical research is focused on using basic science to establish a solid scientific bedrock upon which future clinical studies can then rest. We believe that solid foundation is lacking. Our team is a world-wide collaboration of some of the brightest minds in their respective fields all dedicated to helping create that foundation.
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To attend a future fundraiser or to learn more please feel welcome to contact us.
Thank you for your support of scientific research which will help elucidate the realities and fallacies of holistic medicine so we can augment credible medical options to better treat and prevent human chronic illness.