3/3/15

physical vs. metaphysical

Josephine will sometimes write her letters not only right-to-left, but in mirror image. Not all the time, but occasionally. She has a hard time paying attention in class, and her imagination is all over the place. As her mother, of course I'm thinking, "She has the heart and soul of an artist! YES." But in the public school system, that necessarily must rely on test scores and meeting certain goals at certain points of the school year, Josephine is one of only four children in her class "with red dots" next to their name - meaning they are at "high risk."
At parent teacher conferences, her teacher and I discussed solutions. She suggested "anything homeopathic is better. There's a South African woman, not African American but South African, at the apothecary next to Sprouts who could help." Then the conference was over, and we bustled out with squirmy Eloise and Hazel. Its important for your children's teachers to feel like they aren't alone in teaching your child, that the parents are supportive and involved. So I told her I would try it.

I visited the shop, the owners were extremely nice, and gave me recommendations for Jo. Then I went home and researched. Research for me does not include Google searches, Wikipedia or WebMD, but peer-reviewed, published sources. One of the positive sides of Eloise's extensive hospital time is I can navigate medical literature much better than I could before.

Homeopathy is entirely bogus. The idea of diluting chemical substances and coating them in sugar pills relies on completely false science. Herbs undeniably provide benefits for the human body - however, the production and sales of herbal supplements is unregulated in the United States, thanks to a homeopathic Senator in the 1930s who passed legislation. The amount of herbs in a given marketed product may have as little as half as much of the actual herb as promise (again, unregulated). There is also a whole conspiracy aspect too, people believe the pharmaceutical companies are not trying to better mankind through medicine but fleece our pockets in evil schemes.

By disbelieving modern medical science, people are essentially doubting the scientific method. Medicating or "curing" through homeopathy, self-medicating herbs, or the like, is harmful because an illnesses may go ignored or worsen.

I don't know what this whole trend is, if its worldwide trend or a Mormon trend or a Utah trend or a Mommy trend, but I feel like I am surrounded by people disbelieving medicine and embracing homeopathic or "natural" methods instead. I don't care what people do, but I do care if it affects my children. While Eloise was in the hospital I had a nanny who believed in non-traditional cures wholesale, I've had neighbors, ward members, Primary leaders, family members and friends discuss how they choose to follow herbal or homeopathic self-medicating rather than medical doctors. And now their school teacher recommends homeopathy as a solution to Jo's ADD.

I've been trying to discover the historical roots of this movement, and it turns out it is complicated. Since the Industrial Revolution people have been rejecting technology and medical progression. Psychologists believe it may be "too much too fast," and so people distrust it. Its very appealing for a lot of people to believe in an "alternative" to modern medication. Dr. Hohnemann in the 18th century was the founder of homeopathy, and he incorporated *literally* the philosophy of "magic of similars." From what I have discovered, it appears to root from insecurity, ignorance, and magical thinking.

Okay - people can do whatever they want. They can make health a matter of belief instead of science. But two things make me angry about it. Number 1: When those followers act as if turning away from modern medicine and science is a moral choice, as if they were being virtuous by following a more "natural" path. When they become preachy and self-righteous about it, that's not okay.
Number 2: When it affects my children.

Naturally I turned this thinking onto myself, and tried to see where I may be hypocritical. I have faith in God, and I am a Mormon. I believe in things that science cannot prove. However, is not Moroni's promise at the end of the Book of Mormon the scientific method? Try it for yourself, over and over and over again, and decide from the results. I believe in giving Fast Offerings to the poor and monthly Tithing to the Church because I believe in the cause, and because I know it indirectly benefits me. I believe in praying because I know the practice not only helps me live in a more conscientious way, but I know it benefits my family. The results are quantifiable to me.

Faith is a matter of metaphysical belief and experience, and in that realm I can experiment with it. Science and medicine are physical and can be experimented and tested, and the results should be seen as a blessing, and not a conspiracy.

2 comments:

  1. Maybe coincidentally, this was posted today as well: http://segullah.org/daily-special/parenting-works-cited-the-next-level/ Also, for your teacher to be making treatment recommendations falls well outside of what's appropriate in the world of IEPs. Do you have any district specialists keeping an eye on her? I would recommend requesting she at least be monitored by a district occupational therapist. The earlier she can learn her own effective way of navigating the things that will be required of her in school, the less frustrating and depressing an experience school is likely to be. (And not necessarily will they try to force her square peg into a round hole.. they just help her find healthy ways to deal with the round world and their round expectations) I know you can't be super flexible or as present as you'd like to be as her advocate (you being only one person and all), but don't be afraid to utilize any early-intervention resources she qualifies for through the school district! They make such a difference!

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  2. I agree with what Em said about the teacher making treatment recommendations. That seems inappropriate on many levels!

    I have noticed a craze for homeopathy and "natural" treatments among Utahns, especially revolving around Essential Oils. My guess is that homeopathic treatments - and other fads among some Mormons and Utahns, like the trend to homeschool children - may stem the desire to be a "peculiar people."

    As for myself, I'm wary of a treatment that claims to cure ADHD by simply applying a dab of oil to one's big toe each morning!

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