Healing vs. Curing: Contrasting Fundamental Aims in Medicine

Conventional modern medicine has long separated itself from traditional healing systems such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, and the Eclectic tradition. However, the inadequacies of conventional medicine and the growing interest of people in the wisdom of these ancient healing traditions has created a unique opportunity to rewrite medicine as we currently know it. I believe the time is now ripe for a truly wholistic medical approach to emerge—one that integrates the wisdom of ancient healing systems with the best of modern medicine, including both botanical and pharmaceutical toolboxes.

Healing vs. Curing: Contrasting Fundamental Aims in Medicine


Because modern conventional medicine is based solely on rational thought, it is intellectual, scholastic, standardized, predictable, and even emotional (fear driven) in character. The result is often less than therapeutic for the body, mind, and soul. In contrast, the Eclectic Triphasic Medical System (ETMS) merges ancient wisdom, modern research, and introspective prayer; I think of this process as cross-pollination, blending all that we know with what is still unknown in the realm of healing.

Modern medicine tries and wants desperately to understand and quantify the concept of “curing disease,” which is in stark contrast to the healing philosophy of the ETMS and traditional medicine. For example, we are brainwashed into believing that the quick eradication of a tumor is curing; when what actually cures is providing someone with a significantly longer and higher quality-of-life beyond what they otherwise would have.  Tumor eradication does not equal a significantly longer and higher quality-of-life, but the promise of eradication impresses people. A new drug can make the headlines of every newspaper because it offers new hope for curing cancer. But the truth is that even the best of drugs coming out are only extending the lives of people with cancer two to three months; these drugs often cause significant side effects and diminish quality of life, while costing as much as $100,000 a month.

The Provenge Story

The Provenge story is a good example of this type of brainwashing. If you have seen the television ads for Provenge, you might think it is the greatest breakthrough in cancer treatment ever. Well it’s not, and it might not even be as good as the results demonstrated in the clinical trial that got it approved.

The fact is that the FDA initially declined approval for Provenge (sipuleucel-T) in 2007, when a clinical trial failed to show that it slowed tumor growth. The result: Protests, lawsuits and even threats against the physicians on the FDA advisory panel who did not support approval of the drug. In the pivotal IMPACT trial, Provenge was shown to extend median survival by a mere 4.1 months; that was sufficient for FDA approval. In April 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Provenge for advanced prostate cancer, satisfying investors in Dendreon (the manufacturer) and patients who demanded access to the drug.

Medicare agreed to cover Provenge last year, as have private insurers. The cost: $93,000 per treatment.

Marie Huber, a trained scientist and former hedge-fund analyst, believes there are serious flaws in the studies that led to the FDA’s approval of Provenge. She maintains that the main reason Provenge appears to extend survival is that the older men in the study who received the placebo died months sooner than those who were given Provenge. Huber and her co-authors believe this is because the placebo treatment was actually harmful, and by comparison, made Provenge look better. According to Huber, the placebo was particularly detrimental to men over 65 (Huber, M., et al. 2012).

Huber’s work is receiving significant interest and attention—she recently published a paper in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Because of her stance against Provenge, she’s receiving threats from those who don’t like what she has to say. The situation is complicated: Desperate patients who want access to any therapy they believe might help them; a very expensive drug that extends life by only a few months; and data open to interpretation.

ETMS as a Viable Alternative

A cure can be divided into two types, “natural” and “supernatural.” Natural cures can be proven; while a supernatural cure cannot be proven, it cannot be disproven. To accept only conventional drug therapies (such as chemotherapy) as proven medicine is narrow-minded, short sighted, and all too often, driven by ego and financial gain. The ETMS is unique in that it is composed both of natural proven cures together with supernatural unproven cures.

In the paradigm of the ETMS, we employ a multifaceted approach that considers all aspects of an individual and their environment; a person is not viewed simply in terms of their “disease.” From this expansive perspective, a multitude of botanical and nutritional medicines that target the host, microenvironment and tumor type are prescribed. This may be in tandem with personalized pharmaceutical medicines based on an ETMS investigation, some of which are “approved,” while other drugs and therapies may not be. I believe that the ETMS can dramatically improve the lives of people with cancer and significantly extend life, while at the same time contributing to a reduction in healthcare costs. But because the ETMS is an advanced approach with no specific roadmap or targeted therapy, there are no interested groups that can financially benefit from it.

The ETMS requires the unique skillset of a trained, experienced ETMS practitioner who can interweave the medicines and toolboxes, much like a great jazz musician can interpret and improvise a piece of music. All of this requires deep knowledge of the many co-contributing medicines, as well as the dedication to love unconditionally, with compassion, humility, and of course, faith. This is the work of a true healer, and it is this approach that encourages true healing.

Although faith is not considered by modern conventional medicine to be necessary for “curing” someone of a disease, I believe that faith is the foundation for all healing. Despite the reluctance of modern medicine to recognize faith, the reality is that when we place ourselves in the hands of conventional modern medicine, we are essentially placing our faith in drugs and medical interventions. I encourage an expansive experience of faith through the practice of “theoria,” a Greek theological term for contemplation. Theoria is about listening, allowing your heart to be filled with spirit, and responding. It is in this way that we can begin to truly heal, instead of simply looking for a cure.


Begley, Sharon, Provenge: New Doubts About Prostate Cancer Vaccine, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/30/provenge-prostate-cancer-vaccine-doubts_n_1390679.html.

Marie L. Huber, Laura Haynes, Chris Parker, Peter Iversen, Interdisciplinary Critique of Sipuleucel-T as Immunotherapy in Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer, Advance Access publication on January 9, 2012, DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djr514.

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3 Replies to “Healing vs. Curing: Contrasting Fundamental Aims in Medicine”

  1. Thanks again Donnie, This is why I’m so against some oral chemo drugs I’ve been urged to take. The bad effects out way the good. Either way I might loose my life but at least I did the choosing.

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