Karen Lawson, MD

When traditions of healing face persecution

When traditions of healing face persecution

Dr. Karen Lawson revisits the historical battles that healing traditions have faced such as homeopathy, chiropractic and osteopathy, and the compromises that were made to achieve recognition within the healthcare system. She has seen what works and doesn’t, and encourages the healthcare practitioners of today to draw the line in the sand and reclaim their original philosophies.

The Interview:

Many of the other traditions of healing have long fought the battle for being recognized and acknowledged, and just not being persecuted. Along the way each of those areas of specialties have made compromises, or made choices, in order to survive and be able to do what they do.

Homeopathy really went underground until the 60’s and 70’s in the U.S. Chiropractic picked the battles they thought they could fight, and in order to be insurance reimbursed, and said, “Okay, we will take the back of the neck, and we will take care of back and neck pain, insurance will pay for us, and doctors will allow us to coexist and practice with them.”

Osteopaths decided they wanted to be able to be medically licensed, like MDs. In order to do that, they had to go through conventional MD residency programs. They would come out of residencies and kind of look pretty interchangeable with MDs. They would have left their osteopathic manipulation practices behind and much of their core philosophy behind.

The happy news is a lot of those professions have reclaimed or are reclaiming their identity of who they were and what their original philosophies are. I think this is a really critical time to decide what’s really true for us and what’s our belief, and what compromises are we willing to make and what compromises are we not able to make. So I really challenge my colleagues; draw the line in the sand and say, “Where am I just not willing to go any further. ¬†And I think that’s hard for mid-life physicians, it’s very scary. But if they can be doing what they are meant to do in the world and do it in a way they believe in that ultimately they will be a much greater force of change.

I think the younger folks coming up are going to be clearer and clearer. “I want a different kind of life, I want to have a different relationship with my patients, I’m going to practice medicine in a different way”, and I think they are going to make it happen.

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