|"Alternative to What?"
from the pages of the
Energy Healing: A Pathway to Inner Growth Newsletter
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When healing modalities based on natural processes are termed "alternative," we perpetuate the idea that convention should dictate what we view as primary. Rather than present convention in healing (which is presently centered on our modern technological medicine), nature herself should be our starting point when determining what is "alternative."
Something very bizarre is going on in our thinking when we can talk about "alternative energy forms" and include solar energy among them. Remembering that the sun is the original source of energy for our planet, it is a wonderful bit of human arrogance to call solar energy an "alternative" to secondary, man-made energy sources. Just who do we think we are?
The same thing happens when we feel obliged to label certain healing modalities as "alternative." Of course, the alternative label has come to refer to a wide spectrum of practice which includes herbal and homeopathic medicine, acupuncture, subtle energy therapies, and contact healing methods such as massage and chiropractic approaches to the therapeutic use of touch. There is an idea in the atmosphere that "alternatives" must be distinguished from conventional methods and are therefore a bit suspect because they apparently have not yet received their seal of approval. This is presumably so that the unwary may be protected.
Are we doing a disservice to the idea of natural or holistic healing when we call it "alternative?" Maybe we need to shake off a certain kind of thinking, or at least stand it on its head. It is good to remind ourselves that these are among the original healing modalities. Not only do they have their own historical developments, which in many cases pre-date our modern technological medicine by millennia, but they also make use of the natural elements of our planet: fire, air, earth and water, the animal, mineral and plant kingdoms, and the self-correcting power of nature within us, represented in the way the energy of life flows within and around living beings. Our body heals itself every time we scratch or scrape our skin.
There is nothing very newfangled about any of these conventions of the natural world. We would be right in regarding them as original tools for healing, but then we might have to look at synthetic chemical drugs and technological medicine as secondary, "alternative" forms instead.
"Alternative to What?" first appeared in Alternative Health Practitioner: The Journal of Complementary and Natural Care, Spring 1995. Copyright © Jim Gilkeson, 1995-2009.