The Spirit of Eclectic Medicine

Both Eastern and Western healing traditions have long known that strengthening vitality is the basis for improving health and recovering from illness or injury. Early American herbal systems such as the Eclectic tradition understood this concept as central to healing. In my 25 years of clinical practice, I’ve found that enhancing vitality, although often ignored in modern medicine, is essential for health. As such, the Eclectic model has provided me with a wealth of information that informs my healing practice today.

As their name implies, the Eclectics encouraged exploration of every system of medicine, regardless of its origins, to discover and apply the most useful principles for the wellbeing of humanity. The basic principles of Eclectic medicine can be distilled to these simple precepts:

  • Nature is the great physician who, if permitted and not interfered with, provides for our physical requirements.
  • Disease (dis-ease) of whatever nature is caused by a lack of equilibrium (an imbalance), the result of an abnormal condition in the body, or the result of congestion due to poor elimination.
  • These conditions of dis-ease can be truly cured only by the use of plants or other agents that conform to the laws of life and assist the powers of nature.
  • A physician is spiritually inclined; he or she loves and lives for their profession. Their feelings are always for those who suffer and their intention is to bring as much relief to the ill as may be in their power.

Medical Calendula - Eclectic Medicine

At the same time that Eclectic Medicine was flourishing came the birth of modern medicine and the American Medical Association. While this system of “modern medicine” used toxic substances and even barbaric methods of treatment, the Eclectics chose a more conservative method. Botanical medicine was the backbone of their therapeutic approach, but the Eclectics also promoted simple therapies such as dietary modifications, exercise, fresh air, hydrotherapy, and pure water.

At the turn of the century, the practitioner John Lloyd wrote the succinct motto that was adopted by the Eclectic physicians: “Sustain the vital forces.” A core belief of Eclectic practitioners was that the most effective therapeutic change is one that accesses and supports the individual’s innate capacity to heal. Some of the clinical concepts from the Eclectic and Physiomedical traditions that I incorporate in my practice include the following:

  • Enhance vitality by strengthening the person in a rational and non-toxic fashion.
  • Balance the endocrine and nervous systems.
  • Support and improve metabolism, digestion, and assimilation.
  • Detoxify when and where needed with the indicated remedies as determined by observation of the blood, lymph, liver, kidneys, bowels, lungs, and skin health.

While the foundation of my healing approach is deeply rooted in traditional medical philosophies and practices, I spend hours every day studying modern scientific research. This continual stream of research contributes to the rationale for my clinical recommendations. Thus, my clinical approach is a comprehensive, evolving blend of traditional healing paradigms, modern science, and my experience with clients. This merging of traditional nature-based medical systems with scientifically based conventional medical knowledge enables me to successfully treat the difficult cases that I so often encounter.

Over 25 years of research, study, and clinical practice, I have developed the integrative model that I call the Eclectic Triphasic Medical System (ETMS). This system integrates traditional, wholistic medicine with modern, allopathic medicine–thus creating a custom-tailored approach for each individual that relies on scientific research, logic, common sense, and intuitive wisdom.

I have learned the importance of embracing the mystery in healing as much as applying scientific evidence-based medicine. Thus, there is no sharp distinction made between the mystical or philosophical contributions of the Eclectic tradition and the applicable discoveries of modern medicine, which are seamlessly united in the wholism of the ETMS. This synthesis provides a framework for developing novel therapeutic strategies that incorporate the best of traditional, wholistic, and conventional medicines as supported by modern science.

The fundamental objectives of the ETMS philosophy are to (1) strengthen the individual (host) in a relational and harmonious way and to lessen the vulnerability toward the development of disease, especially cancer; (2) to assess and then alter the micro-environment (terrain) to be the most favorable to optimal health and the least hospitable to disease (cancer); and (3) to assess and target the disease (cancer).  The investigation of these three factors and the implementation of the five toolboxes (1) Botanical, (2) Nutritional, (3) Dietary, (4) Lifestyle, and when indicated (5) Pharmaceutical medicine, is the basis for ETMS. As such, the ETMS model serves as a highly innovative practitioner’s guide for developing personalized, patient-centered treatment programs to significantly improve patient quality-of-life and lifespan for those with chronic illness and cancer.

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