Future of Medicine Is in a Blend of Approaches

Article excerpt

Byline: Patrick B. Massey, M.D.

When I spoke to a group of young doctors recently, I told them that the way we have practiced medicine for the past 50 years is coming to an end. The future is the integration of traditional and nontraditional approaches.

This trend was very evident last week, when I participated in a panel discussion for a local PBS station in Urbana on the use and safety of nontraditional therapies.

With me on the panel were a physician who practices traditional medicine, a yoga instructor, a nurse who practices healing touch, a chiropractor, an acupuncturist, a massage therapist, a tai chi instructor and a law professor.

Years ago, this would have been the perfect recipe for disagreement and loud discussion. Not so today. In fact, the moderator found it difficult to find any topic of disagreement among the panelists. The physician, chiropractor and massage therapist have been referring patients to each other for years. They have respect for each other and the roles of their therapies in the medical system.

The tai chi instructor is working on his Ph.D. in kinesiology, developing tai chi as a form of physical therapy. The yoga instructor already has a Ph.D. and works with patients with chronic medical problems.

I had a preview of the national PBS program "Alternative Fix" before it aired recently. A number of internationally recognized physicians argued the merits and failings of nontraditional medicine. …