Time for the “Retro Medicine” Revolution

Time for the “Retro Medicine” Revolution

OK so this is a term that I’ve made up! You won’t have heard of it before, because this is the first time it’s ever been mentioned. So I know that even though you are a smart, intelligent, thinking man or woman it’s OK for me to teach you what I mean by “Retro Medicine”.

For 13 years I’ve practised what most people might say is “traditional” medicine, having initially qualified as a traditional Chinese acupuncturist. That’s really an umbrella term for several modalities of treatment – needling (of course), acupressure massage, cupping, moxibustion, traditional Chinese dietary advice, lifestyle advice, relaxation techniques, exercise and body movement techniques. Over the years I’ve added to my training and qualifications to include Colon Hydrotherapy and Nutritional Therapy in my therapeutic portfolio, or tool bag. These both have ancient traditional roots too, and to appreciate their provenance think Hippocates as the “Father of Modern Medicine” who is quoted as famously saying “Let Food be Thy Medicine”; and think the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Egyptian hieroglyphics that depict and include instructions for inner cleansing of the bowel.

Recently I’ve been questioning whether or not what I do is truly “traditional”. Sure my therapies have traditional roots, but I certainly don’t practice any of them exactly as in ancient times. For example, long-necked gourds have been replaced by modern plastic disposable tubing and specula for colonics; I use modern turned stainless steel acupuncture needles; and my nutritional therapy practice, especially, is influenced hugely by modern clinical research. The recognition that what I do is essentially very modern, involving up to date practices but without losing their ancient essences and maintaining their traditional benefits, has led to my current reflections. Reflections that make me ask what is it that I really do? What is the thread that connects the various parts of my therapeutic practice? Simply, what is my “thing”?

I realise that I don’t want to turn back the hands of time. I don’t want to go back to ancient ways, and I don’t encourage others to do so either. But also, I can’t in good conscience agree with much of our modern western medical practices.

I’m not an enemy of modern medicine. There have been some amazing medical advances that deserve and have my respect. But… and there’s always a “BUT”… there is so much about modern medicine, particularly the use of pharmaceuticals, that is terribly damaging. I challenge you to name a drug that doesn’t come with a host of side effects – some mild, some terribly severe, with long lasting consequences far worse than the condition they aim to treat. Am I being over dramatic here? I don’t think so. There are so many examples littering the brief history of pharmaceutical intervention it’s shocking. Aspirin, once considered to be a benign, even safe, pain killer is now known to cause serious gastro-intestinal problems; hormone replacement therapy (HRT) originally considered to be the wonder drug that women could take forever was discredited just a decade later when it’s role in the development of breast and other hormonal cancers became apparent; antibiotics that have been prescribed with impunity over a few decades are now known to injure the immune system and are tolerated so well by the pathogens they aim to kill that we are faced with a modern epidemic of deadly antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. What’s more, pharmaceuticals have no role in disease prevention – whatever their profit-hungry parent companies would suggest or have you believe!

So here’s my “thing” – I want the best of both worlds – the ancient and modern, the traditional and contemporary – for myself and my patients and for you too! In taking a retrospective look at what traditional and modern medicines and medicinal approaches have done for us we can cherry-pick what helps and what harms. “Retrospective”? Take a look in the dictionary and you’ll find it means something akin to looking backwards, contemplating what’s past. And “retro”? More about style – specifically of past times. And that’s it! My “thing” can be captured in two words – “retro medicine”.

“Retro Medicine” is my creation of a portfolio of clinical approaches for health and wellbeing resulting from understanding what works, what doesn’t, what in retrospect has been proven to help, to be effective, to be truly beneficial. Retro Medicine has no place for bias towards traditional or modern techniques. It has no place for prejudice against traditional or modern techniques. Rather, it will appeal to open-mindedness, critical thinking and reflection – the qualities associated with a genuinely intelligent mind. Retro Medicine is the pragmatic fusion of traditional and modern techniques that stand up to scrutiny and are shown clinically to benefit your health, promote well being, and help you to get the very best from your life.

I’m here to start the Retro Medicine Revolution!

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