Experience Based Medicine

Doña Ramona, a Seri shaman from Punta Chueca, Sonora, Mexico. photo by Tomás Castelazo

Doña Ramona, a Seri shaman from Punta Chueca, Sonora, Mexico.
photo by Tomás Castelazo

Our experience counts.
Countless practitioners have passed on their experiential wisdom to the next generation, one person at a time; what herb to use for which situation, how to identify that plant, how to prepare, store and correctly use it; which meridian, which point, what technique applied to the point will resolve a given syndrome.
Many of these practices will never be validated by western science’s measurements. Without this type of validation, they will never show up in the tool box of “Evidence Based Medicine.” Regardless, those of us who peruse the ancient ways with sincerity, perseverance, and integrity know that these methods work.
Our evidence is our experience.
Every day, we place our hands on our clients and combine our intellectual knowledge of the body – mind – spirit with our intuition.  Over time, the “miracles” of our intuitive interventions become common to us, and we no longer characterize them as miracles but simply as “what works.”
Alternative (Traditional) medical modalities have become popular these days.  Our success has certainly caught the attention of western medicine. In the excitement of our possible entrance into the “mainstream,” into a more respectful relationship with allopathic medicine and insurance companies, we submit our practices to the scientific method. Some of us have become lost in a wilderness of trying to intellectually prove what our hearts and hands already know.
Within the narrow confines of the western science, our work will hardly ever make sense. The western scientific model will never be able to measure and validate much of our work. Even so, our modalities are submitted to the test. When the results come in, that there is no scientific basis, no hard evidence for the credibility of our work, we may falter and doubt ourselves. Our practices are ridiculed, or politely and academically deemed superstitious, simple minded, placebo, fake, quackery, unsubstantiated and useless.
We have evidence.
It is the thousands of years of carefully recorded experiences of those who came before us. Experienced based medicine relies wholly on the integrity of the practitioner. This is a tall order. Integrity will never be externally measured or enforced by outside agencies. Integrity is completely an inside job.
The ongoing success of medical practices that are outside the bounds of western allopathic medicine, relies almost exclusively on our integrity to be truthful about the methods, scope, and results of our work. This type of personal integrity insured that the correct medicinals were identified and given at the correct dose to those in need in ancient times.
It is no different in current times. People who come to us for help are often very vulnerable, having been given up on by western medicine. Often they turn to us at a very desperate time in their life. In the treatment room, it is only you and the client. Your integrity and sincerity are known only to you and the Source from which you draw your healing intuition. Be honest, be true, do your best, cause no harm.
I believe that it is our allegiance to our integrity that is the common foundation of all traditional, “alternative” medical practices. The long line of integrity upon which we stand today can be trusted. This is my experience. I know this in my heart, and I trust it in my hands.

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Cindy Black

Cindy Black is the Founder of Big Tree School of Natural Healing and the author of Meridian Massage, Pathways to Vitality. She is appreciated for her ability to make the complex accessible, fun, and practical.


  1. Louise Myers on February 8, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    Great info Cindy! I’m very interested in experience based medicine. U.S. doctors are a bit haughty about “scientific proof,” which unfortunately, is too often manipulated.

    • Cindy Black on February 9, 2013 at 7:55 am

      Thank you.
      There is so much competing information regarding health practices that it can be challenging to find our way, both as patients and practitioners. Our intuition, feelings, and experiences are important guides, let’s keep them in the position of respect they deserve.

  2. Heather on February 7, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Excellent post – thank you!

    • Cindy Black on February 9, 2013 at 7:49 am

      You are welcome Heather. Thanks for checking in!

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