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Zwickey on Medical Paradigms

Part of my method for keeping my boat afloat in this world is keeping a calendar, and I am currently going through September to make sure nothing fell through the cracks. Sometimes, when lacking other paper, I take notes in my calendar. On September 6 I took some notes during Orientation at NCNM on Zwickey's talk. Here's what I thought worth noting.

Heather Zwickey is a humorous speaker and voracious reader. Somehow she even finds time to watch TV. She read The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn. Apparently it is a dense book, and she didn't really recommend it as a good read. First she defined paradigm for the mostly young audience as "a set of beliefs needed for a community to operate". She summarized for us the progress of medicine in recent centuries this way. The shift from traditional medicine to modern medicine happened with the advent of antibiotics. To take a pill and be suddenly cured was miraculous!! Traditional medicine healed most woes, but it couldn't deal with plagues of infectious disease. Antibiotics knocked infections right out, and so was hailed as our salvation. Our reigning "pills & surgery" medical paradigm is held in its position of power by institutions such as the AMA, FDA, NIH and more. Unfortunately, antibiotics don't help much with chronic non-infectious disease. So the narrowness of our medical offerings has become our demise, and traditional ways of healing have fallen through the cracks.

Our task now is to facilitate a cultural paradigm shift back away from complete reliance on pills and surgery to natural medicine, which includes the responsibility of the patient to care for themselves. Zwickey said that there are four steps to facilitating this change. First, we develop the language to talk about it. When I got my degree in Wholistic Medicine from UTK in 1988, I was tired of explaining what it is to everybody. Wholism as a perspective was just beginning to be accepted. The second step is to study the subject, such that you can say something definitive about it. All of Zwickey's talks are intent upon inspiring us to do research. The third step is to educate the public about the outcomes of your studies, and the fourth step is to gain acceptance and validation from the scientific community. According to Kuhn about 60% of the public has shifted to the new paradigm before the scientific community is likely to.

Zwickey recommended visiting http://www.foundationsproject.com/. This project is devoted to "codifying our knowledge". We have paradigm shifting to do.

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