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Don’t mention the ‘A’ word.A� If you use the word alternative in the context of medical therapies you likely will be met in some conventional medical circles with responses that include scepticism, scorn, derision, or even abuse.A� Anecdotally, I am led to understand that some medical specialists, particularly oncologists, are unusually skilled with these types of reponses.A� Fortunately, my doctors, including specialists, have been accepting, and in some cases, supportive of the approach I have taken to my healing, although I have felt the pressure of being told I will die sooner than later unless I availed myself of conventional therapies.

How has this situatiion come about?A� After all, alternative simply means one of two or more available possibilities.A� I guess that those who scorn, deride or abuse a particular alternative therapy do so because it may not not supported by ‘science’.A� Without the support of science it is said to lack credibility.A� Science is held up by many as the only yardstick by which a therapy should be judged.A� Another part of the explanation might lie in alternative’s other definition: of or relating to activities that depart from or challenge traditional norms.A� If you are trained in a particular medical paradigm it is lilely to become the only paradigm.A� My own experience has taught me that it was challenging to the norms of medical orthodoxy when I chose a range of therapies, including stress reduction, diet, regular exercise, yoga and meditation in lieu of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy to deal with my cancers.

My own use of urine therapy (see Post 09.01.2011 Urine therapy a�� a taste of things to come) fits both definitions. It proved to be a viable treatment for follicular lymphoma in lieu of chemotherapy, and it certainly challenged traditional thinking as to how lymphoma should be treated. I’m happy to call it an alternative therapy.

The use of alternative as a word generically descriptive of a therapy is mostly no longer used by those involved in the integrative approach to medicine. Why? Perhaps its use is assiduously avoided because it is thought it might bring the integrative approach into disprepute, or it is thought that this approach will not be taken seriously if it uses it.

I’m for bringing back the use of the word alternative as an adjective to describe a therapy that the user believes is a viable possibility for the treatment of a condition, particularly if such therapy departs from or challenges traditional thinking about how that condition ought to be treated.

John Bettens

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