Having just opened the doors to The Preventive Medicine Center of Gainesville on March 1, 2000, it never ceases to amaze me how many of my patients are in the same struggle as I am – the continuous fight against the negative bias of conventional medicine against proven natural therapies as effective alternative treatments for serious chronic diseases. I hear story after story of how some of your physicians seek to discourage you from seeking an alternative therapy for your illnesses. One of the reasons I use a nutritional approach to healing is because the body has the innate ability to heal itself if given the proper materials. I have never heard of a drug “curing” heart disease or diabetes. You hear the word “treat” instead. This is not to say there isn’t a place for antibiotics or certain prescription drugs. It needs to be recognized that no one has a monopoly on “truth” and that there is more than one path in the treatment of medical problems. Health is not the absence of disease.
The real issue is not whether natural therapies work or not – they do . . . the real issue is your freedom of choice of how you want your health care to be given to you. The Constitution of the United States gives you the right to decide for yourself what is right for you with regards to your religion or politics. Why shouldn’t you have the freedom to take herbs or supplements or see a massage therapist or chiropractor without interference from an insurance company, or a physician who has chosen to enter into a contract with an insurance company? This is why I have chosen not to participate with insurance companies or Medicare – I do not want to be restricted by them as to what lab tests I can order, what physicians or health care providers I must refer to (only the ones on their approved list), or have them tell me what therapies are considered medically necessary in their opinion.
I have found in life, not just in medicine, that the truth is what the truth is. It is not what someone says the truth is. You will know if you are getting better with a particular course of therapy. Do not let someone else change your reality of what is right for you by using fear tactics or invalidating your feelings. This is your life.
I have encouraged my patients to become proactive and let their insurance companies know what services they would like covered. It’s your money after all. I have also suggested that if a doctor is not open-minded enough to check out the facts about what you want as a course of treatment or therapy, you need to think seriously about finding someone who will investigate the facts.
Robert A. Erickson, M.D.
Addendum: Since this article was published, the Florida Legislature has ammended the Patient Bill of Rights to guarantee all Florida residents access to Alternative therapies of their choice as long as they receive informed consent.