I think we can all agree that our medical system is in crisis. And, while there may be countless ways proposed for how we might address this issue, if we dig down to the core and really examine what is happening, we can only come to the conclusion that the theoretical foundation on which modern medicine is built is deeply flawed.
In her book, The Philosophical Foundations of Modern Medicine, Keekok Lee contends that: “No intellectual activity, whether it pertains to politics, economics, law or science is innocent of Philosophy, whatever its rhetorical proclamations may say. Hence to understand modern science as well as modern medicine… one must understand their philosophical foundations”.
One philosophical theory that is foundational to modern medicine, and one that is rarely questioned, is Cartesian dualism. This is the view championed by the 17th-century philosopher, Rene Descartes, in which mind and body are entirely separate entities.
Disease, therefore, was seen to be caused by some identifiable physical or chemical event. Mind was an unconnected concern and only served to cloud the unbiased and unsympathetic observations and measurements upon which medicine was based.
And, while the crisis in our medical system persists, as does mind/body dualism, we are also witnessing a groundswell of changing thought – a paradigm shift. More and more, we are recognising the integrated, multidimensional nature of human beings and health. In this new paradigm, the mind and body aren’t connected, they are one and the same. Everything that aﬀects the mind aﬀects the body and everything that aﬀects the body aﬀects the mind.
This mind-body experience opens us up to a new world of possibilities, not just in the fields of medicine and science, but in the choices we make as human beings regarding every aspect of our lives and our relationship with planet Earth.
To illustrate the profound implications of this philosophical shift, we invited Sally Stower to the podcast. Sally is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner who provides a psychobiological integrative approach to working with trauma, primarily through the body.
Initially from a corporate background in HR and Business Management, Sally’s passion now is to help people live a more embodied, richer, fuller life and live their true nature. By holding a genuine space for her clients, Sally oﬀers a grounded, safe and supportive environment to navigate unresolved trauma, remove barriers, relieve discomfort and disease to make better choices in their life.
You might recognise Sally’s voice, as she was also one of our featured guest experts on our last Patient Journeys podcast. Sally has so much practical insight in this area and has witnessed countless examples of what can happen when we become more deeply connected within ourselves, others and the environment.