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These insidious little arachnids make my skin crawl so it was with a certain amount of horror that I realised, after a week of feeling horrible, that one of the sneaky little bastards had bitten me and I didn’t even realise it.
After an entire week of the worst headaches of my life along with fever, crippling lethargy and a red bite-mark that looked like a bullseye, I was pretty sure I needed to see the Doctor and that this wasn’t just some virus I needed to fight off.
My wife and I headed to the hospital who in turn sent us to the infectious diseases specialist. Long story short, I had Lyme disease. Now the prognosis for Lyme disease can be pretty grim, but the good news was that I’d caught it extremely early and that with a course of (very strong) antibiotics I’d most likely be right as rain.
Being the CEO of AMN Academy, one of the world’s leading education providers in preventative and complementary therapies, I have both feet very firmly in the Holistic Health and Complimentary Therapy worlds and have a huge amount of friends and peers of the same mindset.
Here’s where it get’s interesting…
I had quite a lot of people question my decision to take the antibiotics because ‘drugs are bad mmmkay’ and ‘mainstream medicine isn’t interested in healing you, it’s just interested in making money’ and ‘big Pharma is just going to keep you sick so you have to keep buying their drugs’ etc etc.
Sure, antibiotics are best avoided unless you absolutely have to have them because they destroy your microbiome. But there are times when they can save your life or save you from having a significant drop in quality of life, and with the right nutrition and lifestyle practices you can rebuild your microbiome.
That’s when I came to the realisation that I’m now going to unpack and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject…
Humans are tribal animals
It’s fairly established science that Humans are tribal animals. Even those of us living in the most modern cities in the world still feel a subconscious need to define the world into categories of ‘Us’ and ’Them’.
We see it in all areas of life from Religion, Race, Nations and Immigration, Sports Teams, Politics…the list is pretty much endless. Find a characteristic that a person feels is part of their identity and you can pretty much guarantee that it makes them feel an innate, tribal sense of belonging to other members of that ’Tribe’ and a sense of distrust, dislike or disinterest in those outside of their tribe.
Now, we’re lucky enough to live in a time where a lot of us have stopped using things such as Race to identify and then isolate ourselves or others and we think of ourselves as simply Human Beings. But it’s obviously not always the case with everyone.
extremist ideology is never a good thing
You may be thinking, “What the hell does this have to do with the Healthcare Industry?” Some of you may see where this is going but if it’s not apparent I’ll get to it in a second.
First though, take anything from the list above, or from some other criteria that people feel strongly about that they feel identifies them as a member of a particular group. Whether it be certain religions, or maybe people who lean either Left or Right politically.
Now take those ideologies and think about examples of when that tribalism went to the extreme.
Can you think of time in history when there was somewhere in the world that the extreme right or left were politically in power. Or when a religious extremist did something in the name of their God because they believed it was their duty.
Or when the followers of a sports team reacted in an extreme way to their team losing and rioting through the streets.
Sadly, I’m sure it wasn’t hard to think of an example. I’m sure most of you will agree that kind of extremist ideology is never a good thing.
Too often we see people take an automatic opposing opinion to something because the idea or the research comes from an opposing ‘tribe’. They’re a ‘them’ and not an ‘us’ therefore we should instantly oppose the idea.
But we’re smarter than that now. Humans are better than that, or at least we have the potential to be.
Just because you identify a certain way politically, doesn’t mean you have to automatically accept everything that political party does or says if you genuinely feel it’s wrong. If you’re in the US, you can be a Republican or a Democrat (or if you’re in the UK or Australia the Liberal and Labor parties) and still disagree with things your party does. That doesn’t make you less of a Republican or Democrat. It makes you free, to make up your own mind and think critically for yourself.
Same goes for Religion. You can be a Catholic and deplore the horrific things some priests have done, or you can be a Muslim and be horrified by the crimes a very small percentage of extremists have perpetrated. Disagreeing with the actions of individuals is a good thing when those actions are wrong.
Our ideas around Healthcare and even science in general have always caused controversy. From the days of Leonardo DaVinci illegally stealing corpses to study anatomy to the modern times of antivax, climate change and flat earthers, science and the pursuit of knowledge has always been something to cause rifts amongst the human ‘tribes’.
Mainstream Medicine can be incredibly dismissive of complimentary and alternative practices, and Alternative Medicine can be extremely defensive and adversarial towards the mainstream as a result.
But as with all things idealogical the most amazing things happen when we transcend our tribal tendencies and work together.
Mainstream medicine is one of the wonders of the modern age. I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for doctors saving people’s lives every day and I know exactly where I’m going if something horrible ever happens to me like being shot or having a car accident or contracting something horrible like Meningitis or Lyme disease.
Is it perfect? No. But then what is?
And when it comes to preventative healthcare, I’m going to continue to work towards and champion a natural preventative approach that treats the body Holistically and to push the boundaries of Healthcare science.
To really move the healthcare industry forward, we need a more integrative approach where mainstream and complimentary therapies work together. I’m thrilled to see that more and more MD’s are studying integrative medicine and functional medicine. I’m also thrilled to see our AMN Practitioners working side by side with Neurologists and other medical professionals for the betterment of the patient.
While there are a lot of very effective therapies and practitioners out there helping people to live a better quality of life we believe that it’s an important part of our role here at AMN Academy, to try to bridge the gap between mainstream Healthcare and Alternative and Preventative therapies by pushing the boundaries whilst still making sure we can back everything up with research and science.