Allopathic and Naturopathic Medicine; the bottom line.
Interview with Dana Churchill, N.M.D. As seen in the 2008 edition of the Healer’s Guide

Dr. Churchill, as a doctor of naturopathic medicine who has practicing for more than three years, what is your opinion of Western medical care, and how, if at all, has it changed over the years?
I do not think allopathic medicine has changed much over the years, because of the underlying philosophy of the medicine itself: treat the symptoms and not the cause. In the past, before modern diagnostic tools like ultrasound, CT scan, MRI and so on, physicians were forced to use all their senses (not machine senses) to diagnose a patient and to listen carefully to their stories to find out what was wrong. Images are great to see what is happening in the human body, but doctors have gotten away from treating the patient; now they treat the images. Because of the lack of technology in the past, there was an intimate relationship between doctor and patient. The physician spent much more time with his patients… observed their behavior, smelled the odors in the room where the patient was, and used observation much more in diagnosis. They relied on many more physical exam techniques as well. They formed a relationship with their patients. Medicine is an art and a science, and now the art form has been lost.

The US spends more than 1.7 trillion dollars a year on medical care, which is more than many countries’ GNP (gross national product). Our healthcare system is broken. We allow pharmaceutical companies to advertise their drugs on TV, and we allow insurance companies to dictate what we can and cannot do to treat a patient. It has become so complicated to get reimbursed that it is now difficult to make a living as an MD primary care provider. If statistics proved that we were in the forefront of curing disease and elevating quality of life, then I would have no point here, but they don’t. We rank far below many nations in morbidity and mortality rates. Iatrogenic (physician-induced) disease is on the rise, and unfortunately is why many patients die each year. The cocktails of pharmaceuticals that many patients are prescribed are becoming more and more deadly. The system is going broke and many people cannot even afford basic health insurance. We are in a very dark period for healthcare in this country, but out of this have sprung innovative ideas and soul searching.

What percent of patients who seek out your help are disillusioned with the Western medical system, and of those, what are the main reasons for their disappointment?
All my patients are disillusioned by Western medical care, which is why they have chosen to see me. The main reason for their disappointment is number one: allopathic doctors do not listen to them. Number two: doctors do not have enough time to spend with the patient. Number three: doctors only know how to prescribe drugs and do surgery (this is changing in areas where patients are demanding better care and are affluent; they are willing to pay out of pocket). Number four: they treat only the symptoms, and this leads to many side effects and sometimes death, if there is a serious reaction while using many different drugs, or complications of surgery in the hospital. Surgery and pharmaceuticals are very necessary in a specific arena, and that is acute emergency medicine. But for chronic illness, they do not work, and even compound the illness with added toxicity over time. Number five: the system has gotten too big and cold; there is not much compassion and dignity left for the patient in the allopathic setting, especially in hospitals. Number six: patients don’t have much of say in their treatment. They are just told what to do, and many times even told when they will die.

What is your perception of recent trends towards integrative health care in hospitals and private clinics?
Integrative care is mostly coming out of private clinics. I am lucky to be able to observe the changes here in West LA and Santa Monica, where it is not uncommon to find different types of doctors, allopathic and alternative, working together on a case. There are other places where it has been illegal to practice any form of medicine except allopathic medicine. There are a few alternative doctors in hospitals, but this is severely lacking. We need to form teams of different types of doctors to really facilitate a true healing for each and every patient. I have worked with many MDs treating a specific patient, and for the most part, the relationships have been very good. We can work together, but we need to bridge the gap. MDs need to be educated as to what we are doing, so that they trust us more, and alternative doctors need to be more open-minded when it comes to working with MDs. We vitally need to merge the two medicines and stop forcing the consumer to be in the middle of all the politics.

In which instances, or for which health conditions, have you found alternative care to be more powerful than an allopathic approach, or vice versa? In which instances have you found integrative care to be the better choice?
Alternative care, and by this I mean naturopathic care, because I can only speak about what I do, can very effectively treat most chronic conditions and many acute conditions. It cannot, however, treat emergency cases. I have treated everything from depression and anxiety to earaches very effectively with naturopathic medicine. Allopathic care is sorely lacking when it comes to treating mental/emotional pathologies and many neurological diseases and syndromes. I do not think Western medical care should be used alone to treat any disease or condition. The two should always be used in conjunction with each other. Sometimes alternative care alone is effective, but not when treating accident trauma, heart attack, A stroke, acute abdominal distress, aortic aneurysm and so on. Naturopathic medicine can aid allopathic medicine very effectively in the emergency room, especially in decreasing inflammation, pain management, killing microbes and relieving anxiety.

What is the general consensus of medical doctors as to either the care, or our medical system in its entirety? To what degree do they believe that they are able to effectively help their patients?
I have spoken to many disgruntled MDs who went into medical school with the aspiration to heal and serve people. They have told me that after a few years in school, or even a few years in practice, they became pessimistic, disgruntled and hopeless when confronted with the runaway train of politics and bureaucracy they were forced to endure while trying to practice medicine. If you are an HMO doctor, the insurance companies are forcing you to see far too many patients each day. This has resulted in very poor care.

We need to treat the causes and not the symptoms. The symptoms are not bad; they guide us to the underlying disharmonies (a combination of physical, mental and emotional characteristics) that are causing the symptoms. With this knowledge we can effectively eliminate the disharmony, and not only treat the condition, but increase the patients’ quality of life in every avenue.
Right now MDs feel like their hands are tied. They are at a loss many times to truly help their patients heal. I see this often with cortisone prescribed to treat symptoms… what happens after the cortisone doesn’t work anymore? And are the side effects more unbearable than the illness (inflammation) they are treating? Another perfect example is antibiotics. If these drugs are used over and over, the immune system becomes weak and the patient is set up to contract any bug that he or she comes in contact with. The patient is forced into a perpetual cycle of illness/antibiotic, illness/antibiotic, over and over until their immune systems starts attacking their bodies because of the compromised gut flora, with ensuing leaky gut syndrome and complications like irritable bowel disease or C. difficile (antibiotic-associated colitis). Our immune systems are 75 percent in the gut; if we kill all the friendly bacteria, what happens to our immune systems?
Have you worked with bio-energy healing in your practice and if so, in what way? Has this included working with a practitioner of energy healing?
I work with energy every day. The human body is energy. This is the way we can truly help our patients to heal. We must be able to treat their energy systems (mapped out and used by Chinese medicine for 5000 years), as well as the physical body that we can see. We need to open up the energy system of the body to heal, to unblock meridians and help each cell to resonate at its optimal frequency. There are many ways to facilitate detox at the cellular level, thus helping the body’s energy systems to open and drain toxins at a deep level. For the nutritional aspect of healing, we need to use foods that are alive and have the most potent healing potential. If you want the body to heal, you need to use substances it can assimilate efficiently and completely, detox the body, rejuvenate each and every organ and organ system, and unblock all energy systems. This is what I mean by treating the cause. I have never worked with energy healers. I can see is this manner because my first career was a chef, and I also have a degree in clinical nutrition.
Do you work side by side with Western medical doctors? If so, how often and how effective is this working relationship?
I do not work side by side with Western medical doctors. I speak to them on the phone sometimes about mutual patients. The relationships have been good for the most part, and I think this is because I do not have the attitude of “us against them.” I really like the MDs; they are great diagnosticians and have access to many technologies I do not readily have.
Please give us a recent example of a truly rewarding experience with one of your patients.
I treated a woman who came into my office last year for lymphoma. She had been battling this type of cancer for three years, and came to me through a friend after checking herself out of the hospital. She told me she had been on a very strong course of chemotherapy that made her so sick she had to recover in a nursing home (she is 84-years young) for several months after each dose. We worked together almost every day for four or five weeks, after which she said she felt as if “all the natural medications were coming together” in her body. The next week, her MD did a CT scan and blood work, and said that she had gone into complete remission; he was unable to detect any cancer in her body. This case is presented on my website as an audio file from a radio show where we both were guests.
What do you feel is important to share with Healer's Guide readers?
One of the most important aspects of medical care is knowing who your physician is, and feeling comfortable with that person. They should be asking you questions pertaining to your physical, mental, emotional and sometimes spiritual wellbeing. If not, they are not treating the whole person.
In my experience, disease is not just physical. I believe that illness or disease starts long before the destructive physical symptoms appear. As true healers, we need to be able to “see” a patient in his or her entirety. We need to be able to treat the underlying causes of each person’s disharmony and the terrain of the body. And we need to be able to asses a patient in all parameters, physical, mental and emotional, to see where they are stuck.
Do not be afraid to question your doctor before you go to the initial consult. Interview them just as you would interview a prospective employee, see what kind of integrity they have and if their energy it good and true. Do you feel comfortable being in their presence? Review their credentials carefully. Ask them what they do for fun… The doctor-patient relationship is so vitally important to facilitate healing. There can be no fear in this relationship, as fear is the opposite of healing.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Dana Churchill attended Rutgers University in New Jersey where he obtained a BA in Nutritional Biochemistry. Before that Dr. Churchill went to culinary school in New York City and worked in the international gourmet hospitality industry. Dr. Churchill uses these past experiences to create innovative tasty health conscious menus for his patients, as well as having the biochemical food knowledge to make up pathology specific diets.

While at Rutgers University Dr. Churchill worked as a research assistant to a neonatologist and a respiratory physiologist at the UMDNJ, looking at specific SIDS mechanisms. After Rutgers Dr. Churchill decided to go an organic route and enrolled in the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, the oldest college of Naturopathy in North America.

There he worked closely with world renowned homeopath, Will Taylor MD for five years in addition to the rest of his naturopathic education. While at NCNM he did an internship with Roberta Morgan DO, studying anti aging and longevity medicine. Research has always been a primary aspect of Dr. Churchill’s work and study within the healthcare industry. While at NCNM he wrote a research grant proposal. The research proposed studying the stress response (changes over time of both cortisol and DHEA) of Falun Dafa (a Chinese meditation practice) practitioners vs. non-practitioners. To this date the grant proposal has not been funded. Dr. Churchill is also very active at all levels of government in trying to stop the persecution, organ harvesting for profit from live unwilling people, and subsequent genocide of Falun Dafa practitioners by the Chinese Communist Party.

Dr. Churchill is a member of both the California Doctor’s Association and the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. He likes to educate people by speaking publicly about natural healing and especially homeopathy and works with the CNDA to help the general public gain more awareness about the health choices that are available to them.