Letter: We need to break the stigma of the ‘right’ medicine
I am writing in response to the Steamboat Pilot & Today article titled, “The Longevity Project, Part 4 | Plants over pills: Non-traditional medicine growing in popularity, especially in Colorado’s mountain towns.”
I first started my career in the medical realm as an occupational therapist and changed careers after my master’s degree in social work. I have worked in the medical field in Steamboat Springs and currently own the integrated holistic clinic Minds in Motion.
I have been on both the conventional medicine side and the holistic side with two different careers and love and respect both approaches. Anyone who knows me or what I have tried to give to this community for 18 years knows that I advocate strongly for the partnership of western/conventional medicine and holistic medicine. We must work together to give best practice of care and break the stigma of a “right” medicine.
I am responding to the article printed last week, because I believe the article was well intended but lacking in objectivity and information. Strained relationships and “degrading” comments about each side of medicine may be a little outdated, as there have been strong relationships between the two sides for over two decades, with many university hospitals now having alternative branches of care under their same roofs.
In our community of Steamboat, Minds in Motion works closely with physicians from all specialties, including, but not limited to, pediatrics, orthopedics, family medicine, worker’s comp and internal medicine. Minds in Motion practitioners strongly recommend clients using their primary care physicians as part of their care plan.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Alternative medicine is a large category, and one must be careful when considering alternative medicine. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is a branch of the National Institute of Health and has compiled thousands of peer-reviewed, evidence-based studies on effective alternative practices such as meditation, acupuncture, yoga and functional medicine. This medicine is put through the same rigorous reviews as western and conventional medicine and is often times hundreds, if not thousands, of years older than western and traditional medicine. If a client is looking for care, they should review the efficacy of every treatment regardless of what category it falls under.
Another aspect to consider when looking at your medical provider is level of education and where and how that provider is licensed for accountability of care. Sometimes, accountability is late in the game even on the conventional medicine side. For example, my degree of occupational therapy, which is currently a master’s level of education, was only licensed in Colorado in 2008. Psychotherapists don’t even need a master’s degree to practice in the state of Colorado but can register through the state licensure anyway (ask your counselor for a disclosure of their education to cover this loophole).
At Minds in Motion, all alternative and holistic providers have a master’s degree or higher of education from an accredited university and are licensed by a governing body. Dr. Fegley is an MD with additional certifications in functional medicine, and Dr. Grace Charles is an ND with similar educational demands as conventional medical school. It is for this reason we don’t need to put quotation marks around “doctor.”
It only takes a couple minutes to do your homework to make sure your provider isn’t a “huckster.” You can search for any licensed provider in the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies website at dora.colorado.gov/. Some alternative medicine providers are still amazing even if they aren’t regulated by a governing body and can address the mind/body/spirit connection in a way that our culture doesn’t value. Please remember that, but know your provider and ask the questions about their education or skills.
Angela Melzer, LCSW, OTR/L
Minds in Motion owner
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