East vs West?

Chinese Herb Shop

Chinese Herb Shop

Years of psychiatric abuse and torture in a non-voluntary capacity has left me deeply sceptical of Western Medicine (as it is practised in the UK at least). In a way I can thank the years of chemical torture the psychiatrists have committed upon me for opening the doors to Alternative Health. When your body is being pumped full of female hormones a la Risperidone or your white blood cell count is being ripped out by Clozaril, leaving your immune system exposed to any minor virus., you sure start shopping about.

Normally the first point of call for health matters would be the GP’s surgery, in my case, Gray Hill Surgery, Caldicot. Now, years ago, this surgery seemed to me to be well run and dealt with most of my innocuous childhood ailments. However, especially over the past fifteen years, during my ‘mental illness’ treatment, my lack of faith in the charlatans that practise there has eroded beyond all hope. They will never stand up to a psychiatrist and question their medical opinion. This has happened to me on numerous occasions, when all the medical tests prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the psychiatric treatment is causing me severe medical distress and shoudl be stopped purely on health grounds. It’s as though teh Hippocratic Oath has been dissolved in favour of powers under the Mental Health Act and to me, GPs are interested less in prevention and cures of illness and are simply tablet dispensers. They are the pushers of the Drugs Companies’ product. The final cog in the wheel, necessary for the grand machine to keep churning. The only reason these days that I go to the GPs is for the antibiotics they so blatantly overprescribe to the public. I need them every once in a while to clear up nasty chest infections that my damaged immune system just cannot easily clear. In, Past the Desk Nazis, grab a script and straight out. It’s like a military operation to just arrange an appointment these days so I endeavour to make the whole procedure as painless as possible.

This leaves a gulf, however, as I do not have a regular healthcare provider, or one that I recognise. The internet is a great help in terms of medical education, but as for most things it is best to see a pro. My exploration of Alternative Remedies and Natural Products has been vast. Some works, some doesn’t. It’s an experimental journey which is often fun and overall my health has been vastly better managed in this journey. I find that most of the knowledge and literature for alternative health dates back many years. It is easily dismissed by the profiteering Drugs Companies as all a load of nonsense and some of it might. But as you full well know yourselves, the healthiest things in your lives are almost always those things which are as close as possible to their natural form. As soon as industrial processing of a product emerges, we start to see the trigger finger of commercial exploitation and big business. For the sake of profits, the product suffers, even if the original intention is good, the final outcome is bad for your health.

I noticed the Chinese herbal shops springing up everywhere in South Wales and began to get intrigued. For ages I have sought out loose Chinese Jasmine Green Tea and I religiously swear by its cleansing properties. It is available in Chinese supermarkets at dirt cheap prices. On day leave from the local nuthouse for that area (Talygarn) – I wandered into Pontypool town centre and came across a little herbal shop just by the newsagent’s in the High Street. The Chinese Owner ‘Louis’ peered over his counter at me and politely inquired as to the nature of my malaise. I explained how I was seeking something that could counteract the harmful properties of the psychiatric meds that I was at that time having to endure. Louis, had a puzzled look, and then sprung into action, digging out some entwined leaves.  I was to put one in a cup of boiling water once a day where it would unravel and diffuse. once ingested, it would act upon my digestive system and assist in processing the toxic chemicals in my body and reduce the harmful side effects and general imbalance that was harming my body. He popped a selection of these weird dark green leaves into a brown paper bag, wrote a few characters on it for me and having paid the two or three quid cost, I muttered a quick ‘Xie Xie Ni’ and went on my merry way.Yes – once I got back to the hospital they gave their usual sneer and confiscated the product with glee as it ‘hadn’t been prescribed by a doctor’ but I managed to smuggle a few leaves out with me for use at home and did exactly as instructed. The mild bitter taste was great and it is an old adage that bitterness is best for the body. After a few weeks I genuinely did feel a lift. The taking of this ‘tea’ became part of my daily ritual and was civilised and pleasant. That is what healthcare should be more about. Voluntary, helpful, pleasant and non-intrusive. Eastern Medicine has been around for thousands of years and techniques are highly sophisticated. I realise that Western Doctors study for a fair amount of time at university, but Eastern practionners are not just in jobs they live as medicine men. Their knowledge comes from a  whole lifetime’s experience. Secrets are preserved and handed down from generation to generation. There is a spiritual reverence for their products and their systems when properly analysed, even with Western scientific methods, do actually perform very well indeed. I know that in places like China, western Medicine is also available and popular, but they haven’t totally abandonned traditional medicine and its deep cultural roots. I think that there is hope and much to be learnt by Western Doctors and scholars, from studying this style of medicine. Ignorance is not acceptable for a genuine doctor.

I did read a disturbing recent article about a Chinese political prisoner within their mental health system. I think all the human rights orgs were up in arms about his situation. I read in detail about the guy’s experience and although it wasn’t exactly Cinderella, and the guy had a lot of bad things done to him, it was obvious to me that he hadn’t had the full Western style chemical cosh applied to him. The meds were low dose, low quantities, and weren’t hardcore psychotropic drugs like Clozaril or whatever the en vogue drug company affiliate program happens to be promoting that month. The point is – I think that in not totally devoting a healthcare system to modernist ideas and over-teched experimental drug solutions, perhaps it is a healthier way to conduct a health program? East vs West may be a theme I touch  upon a lot, and Modern & Industrial vs Organic Natural & Traditional is certainly a debate well worth considering.

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