A Marriage of Eastern & Western Medicine & my thoughts on the documentary “Heal” #heal #healing #medicine


If you haven’t seen the film “Heal” yet, the trailer can be viewed here. My husband, a family care physician trained in western medicine, and I, a practitioner of energy medicine (to borrow Donna Eden’s term which I prefer over healer), watched the documentary last night. A few days ago my mother-in-law had inquired as to whether I had watched it, so my interest was piqued.

We have been asked the question several times, in several different ways over the years, what it is like to be married to someone who practices “Eastern” v. “Western” medicine. As though they exist on the extreme ends of the a spectrum with no overlap. It is a question that involves polarity, which is always fraught with at least a small dose of misconception and judgment. We live in a world of polarities that can easily overtake our better sense of truth, serving to divine instead of unite.

Our marriage of seeming polarities works. for us. It is not always easy, we have our differences, but we balance each other out. My husband is one of the smartest and caring people I know, and I am not saying this because I am married to him. I have known him since  we were both 17. He is a genuine healer who came to medicine, not for the prestige or the money (hence why he chose family practice), but because he has a genuine interest in helping people.

In his office at work there is a salt lamp and a diffuser to balance the energies and help purify the air around him. If you searched his pockets, you would most likely find the polished gray of hematite and a blue andara crystal. He goes to acupuncture on a semi regular basis, and has had energy healing/medicine.

He has also referred patients to me, and to other “healers.” When we share our stories, we don’t doubt each other’s truths.

Many years ago, we studied science together. I graduated Bowdoin College with degrees in English and biology, thinking I would one day be a geneticist (and a writer on the side), while graduated at the same school to pursue his dream of going to medical school. From Bowdoin, I went to Brown University to continue by study of the biology and chemistry, but after one year there I realized I was not on the path of my heart. I still loved and valued science, but I knew there were other places for me to explore.

I am not finished exploring them, and I would venture to say neither is my husband. Many years ago, when I started venturing into the realm of energy medicine, my mentor at the time told me that my marriage would never work if we were both going in different directions. And, I believed her. I took her words as truth. She was my mentor, and I had falsely placed her upon a pedestal. Something we can all do, but should not. Our best teacher is always ourselves, and we should always check another’s wisdom with our own truth.

I have had to learn, through many difficulties, that a marriage is not about always walking the same path, but about allowing each other to walk their own path, while othering a hand in love to help each other along when it is needed.

We are each here, I believe, to see past false perceptions and to find that unifying force that unities all of us. That thing we call love. Limiting beliefs lead to polarity and false judgements arise from the fear of our own sense of inadequacy.

And now to speak directly about the film we watched together last night. “Heal.”  I am not writing this post to analyze the film, but to spark a different way of viewing medicine. There were aspects of the film that I felt were on-point, so to speak, and places where I wanted more, or different. No doubt my own beliefs and ego-centered judgements factored into my thinking, but one area I was hoping the film might venture into more is how “Western” medicine and “Eastern” medicine need not always be seen as polarities. You know, that “us” v. “them” concept so pervasive in our world right now, at least on the surface.

The downfalls of the practice if medicine driven by money and greed are not to be over-looked, as the film noted, but the focus was on the side of western medicine.  There is also, ego-driven greed in the practice of “eastern” medicine. It’s a fallacy to believe the ego plays a part in one and not the other.  Not always of course, but it is false to imply that this does not occur. There are also limitations to each system when the belief exists that “I know what is right for you.”

I had hoped that the film would attempt to bridge the divide, and to remind us that each extreme did not evolve separately, but that we have, in many ways, chosen to take the paths of division. The healing properties of nature are used in some of our pharmaceuticals (albeit not always ethically), a practice that arose from our earliest history. Hands are used as vehicles to heal in both, whether they are threading a stitch to seal a wound, or directing energy to release a pocket of density.

We have much to learn from each other to keep bridging the divide. The enemy does not exist on the other side, but in the false system of belief of the “other.” I see great promise in where we are heading, despite what we might see or perceive as the truth. I have encountered extreme beliefs based on ego on both sides, and have fallen prey to them myself. We must always check in with fear and weigh it in the heart of truth. But, science and ancient wisdom, or so called “new age” healing need not be viewed as separate and unequal. There’s a common thread that unites us all, and I believe we can weave it together.