Integrated Medicine

When our cat, Loui, had major hip surgery, we told the doctor we wanted to give him some homeopathy post-surgery to support his recovery. The doctor said “no way, that’s not allowed.” So, we waited for him to leave the room before popping the arnica into Loui’s mouth.

We were told Loui would have to stay at the hospital for at least 5 days, and probably more. The Veterinarian called two days later and informed us, to his amazement, that Loui was recovering at a speed far greater than expected. We took Loui home just 3 days post-surgery. Loui recovered fully and continues along his adventurous cat life.

I have repeated this same sequence of events many times for pets, friends, family and myself. As medical issue arises, we go to the western trained Doctor or Vet, get a diagnosis and begin a western medical treatment. We talk about using homeopathy, herbs, massage, essential oils, acupuncture to support the process of healing, and are told “no, not allowed and it doesn’t do anything anyway.” Next, we go about our business of adding in what we know when no one is looking. Every time, the patient feels great relief from these additional remedies. Their process of healing is usually quicker and easier than expected.

Here are a few things I’ve done while “they” weren’t looking:

  • Put homeopathy into the cup of ice chips (only thing allowed by mouth) for someone just out of major surgery.

  • Gave that same person cell salts to support a rise in their red blood cell and hemoglobin count. Their blood cell count did improve. They did not take the recommended drug as constipation is a common side effect – not something you want post-surgery.

  • Used foot reflexology and shiatsu to support a number of people recovering from various ailments in the hospital.

  • Treated abscesses our cats had with homeopathy.

  • Addressed sciatic pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and whiplash with massage therapy.

  • Used only herbs to resolve nasty flu’s and colds.

  • Turned to massage therapy and acupuncture to resolve my abdominal pain that was deemed “nothing and therefore not treatable” by a cadre of MDs.

  • Re-balanced disturbed digestion from mega doses of antibiotics that had resulted in oral thrush with probiotics.

  • Witnessed as joint pain, previously treated with pain killers that were so strong that the person could hardly function, was resolved with a simple topical application of essential oils blended into lotion.

  • Witnessed a person fend off shingles with essential oils and homeopathy.

I am not the only person who sneaks in “alternatives” to “real” medical situations. I would venture that most of you reading this post have done similar things. By doing this, we are integrating healing methods, and it works incredibly well. A combination of methods offers the patient healing on all levels at the same time, which usually results in a quicker and more complete recovery.

Can we actually integrate healing methods out in the open? How can we really collaborate across healing methods? The first consideration is that of the client or patient. Too often, whether alternative or western trained, a practitioner has an immediate first reaction to prove that their way is the right way, and that the other’s is fundamentally flawed. The rest is recent history as we witness lobby groups representing all types of healing methods plying Congress for insurance coverage at the expense of some other form of healing. Lost in this battle of who has the “right medicine” are the ones seeking healing.

The first step of collaborating is finding some authentic belief within oneself that the other practitioner has something worthwhile to offer. This is a great challenge, and one that I asked myself to take on a few years ago. It has been a humbling process. At the same time, I find myself becoming a better practitioner.

This challenge has forced me to bow to both eastern and western science and philosophy. As a result, I am better versed in western anatomy, physiology, and pathology, I meditate more often, I follow my heart more, and I have less judgment of myself and others.

If, as healers, we are to really collaborate with each other, we must first find peace within ourselves. From this confident, peaceful place we can gracefully make connections with practitioners of different forms of medicine. These connections and collaborations will ultimately benefit our patients/clients. I find one of the greatest gifts of being in the healing profession is that the work I must do in order to truly serve my patients/clients always supports my own growth and healing.

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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. Renee Cobb on December 17, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    Cindy You are so right on with all that you have said in this blog. I too have taken arnica after a small surgery and things went well. With all the changes purposed in Congress for our health care system we will have to look to other areas of health cares and the things you mentioned in your blog seem to be those areas.

  2. Cindy Black on December 15, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    You are so welcome! I love you and am always inspired by your amazing ability to bounce back!

  3. Momma on December 15, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Thanks for the ice cubes and salts

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