Alternative medicine—including energy medicine—goes back to about the year 2,000 BC, and in many cases with very little change between then and now. There have been almost no great revelations in energy medicine in the last four millennia, and I think the reason for that is very simple: because our current understanding is the truth. But when we look at Western medicine we see a very different trend. Now more than ever, we swing wildly from one extreme of treatment to the other. But where is the balance in all this?
A number of years ago, I saw a segment on Larry King Live that featured several doctors, some mainstream and some complimentary. At one point, Larry King turned to one of the medical doctors and asked, “So doc, do you use vitamins and minerals in your practice?” With a proud expression, he immediately responded, “Absolutely! You can’t treat the whole person without them.”
Larry King then asked, “That’s great! Is that what you did 20 years ago?”
You might have thought the doctor had swallowed a canary. 20 years ago, he was forced to admit, he had a pat answer to questions about vitamins and minerals. “They’re wonderful,” he would say, taking out his wallet and removing a 20 dollar bill, “but I know a great shortcut. Instead of taking the vitamins and minerals, just put the money directly into the toilet.”
“What changed?” Larry King asked.
“Well,” he said, “now we know they work.”
Another story from the past: there was a time awhile back when the biggest story in health was the danger of sunlight. Everyone was terrified of skin cancer, and the studies and testimonials to prove it were everywhere. If you’re younger, you probably don’t remember that at all. That’s because a few years later, everybody flipped 180 degrees; turns out sunlight is healthy now! That would be because everybody started getting sicker. We found out there were even worse things than skin cancer when the whole world is vitamin D deficient. Even today there are still people touting vitamin D as a miracle drug.
I could tell another twenty variations on that story easy, and that’s just from my lifetime. So what’s the alternative to this endless pendulum, always too far to one side? For that, I would turn to my friend, Jimmy Neterville.
Jimmy is a wonderful, kind man in addition to being brilliant. I grew up with him, watched him become an eminent neurosurgeon at Vanderbilt University, and today he travels all over the world, giving lectures and teaching other neurosurgeons. I was sitting beside him at a fundraiser one night and finally got around to sharing what I do. You have to understand, this was an apprehensive moment for me. I love Jimmy and have a huge amount of respect for him, but I’d had that conversation often enough that I knew what to expect from a medical doctor. “You probably think it’s ridiculous,” I said.
His whole demeanor suddenly shifted. “Absolutely not," he said. He took a pen out of his jacket pocket and drew a line on a napkin, about six inches long. “Say that this represents all knowledge about health and medicine.” He marked off the first inch, “My guess is, this is about what we’ve got right now. How stupid and arrogant would I have to be to say that what you’re doing isn’t in the other five inches? How do I know that we won’t discover tomorrow that this is the next big thing? In fact, that’s usually what happens in Western medicine. The new breakthrough is ridiculed until it’s proven right.”
To me, this is such a rare and enlightened attitude. It’s rare for people to accept a viewpoint that can’t be proven, but I think it is in this direction that we can find balance. Remember that vitamins and minerals have always been good for us, they didn’t only become beneficial once our theory of nutrition caught up to them. Sunlight, as long as we’re not overexposed, has always been invaluable as a source of vitamin D. The world does not turn on our understanding of it. By remembering that, doing what works for us and always remaining open to new things, we can all find our own balance.