Lifestyler with Josie McKenlay: The Problem with Modern Medicine

Josie McKenlay 15:50 20/11/2014
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  • Experience: Amy Myers is a specialist in functional medicine who previously battled Graves Disease.

    I was watching an interview with Amy Myers, who specialises in functional medicine and she was talking about the way in which her illness was dealt with by western medicine.

    She was brought up in what might be thought of as an alternative home: vegetarian, natural remedies, etc.

    Lifestyler with Josie McKenlay: Yoga for the immune system

    Lifestyler with Josie McKenlay: Walk your way to Health

    When she left and went to university she wasn’t quite so strict with her choices, perhaps partly to do with living on a student budget.

    After a while she started feeling very unwell and was told by her doctor that it was probably stress. She was adamant that it wasn’t and asked for tests. It turned out to be Graves Disease, an autoimmune disorder affecting the thyroid and her three choices of treatment were medication, ablation (a type of radiotherapy) or removal of the thyroid.

    She chose medication but her liver didn’t cope with it so she opted for removal. She was given no other options. Years later having trained in functional medicine, she successfully treated a patient with the same condition.

    During the consultation, she suggested that they look at his diet and eliminate some food groups to try to find what was causing the autoimmunity. His comment was astonishing: “Isn’t that a little drastic?”

    I wanted to share this story to demonstrate how far western/modern medicine has strayed from treating the body as a whole.

    That a change in diet can be considered drastic, but lifelong medication, ablation or removal is acceptable is astonishing when you stop to think about it.

    Modern medicine treats the symptoms rather than the cause and we are probably all guilty of this.

    Changing your diet, resting, exercising, investigating the root cause and using alternative remedies all take time and most of us are busy and want instant relief: yoga and Pilates can be very effective in improving posture, correcting muscle imbalance and thereby curing back pain, but it takes time whereas a pill is an instant cure. The problem is, the pain will return because the root cause has not been addressed.

    Most of us are much more aware of treating the cause in the more acute illnesses and understand the need to make sensible lifestyle choices.

    Smoking, alcohol abuse, too much sugar, a high fat diet, osteoporosis and a lack of exercise all result in what are often serious diseases, often death.

    Many people would still rather take the statins, the pills for hypertension and diabetes, the gastric bypass, the vitamin D shots and the calcium pills than alter their lifestyle.

    Apart from the enlightened, pregnancy tends to be the exception as few drugs can be used at this time in case of possibly harming the baby.

    At this time, symptoms are seen as red flags to an underlying problem which is then further investigated and hopefully sorted. This is the way all symptoms should be treated.

    Continuing next time.

    Check out Josie Kenlay's great website; or

    You can also follow Josie on twitter @JosieMcKenlay