Let’s step back from individual therapies that a functional medicine provider might recommend for our patients and consider the bigger picture of natural therapies versus pharmaceuticals. For many, this separation is truly a one “versus” the other, an “either – or” choice. The purists of either camp can demonize the opposing camp, painting the picture as their own superheroes versus the other “super-villains”. In fact, 99% of the therapies available are neither supervillains nor superheroes, and viewing either side in those terms interferes with health restoration efforts.
Most of you are familiar with the concept of superheroes and their opposing supervillains but permit me a moment to summarize and apply to our current discussion. We all long for superheroes in various aspects of our fallen world. We love the stories of the larger-than-life hero with the craftily wielded superpower which rescues the mere human like us from some disaster too great for our own powers. We also shudder at the perceived threat of the supervillain, the once again larger than life amalgamation of evil coming against us without any hope in our power to resist. In either of these cases, we are technically helpless, dependent on the will and works of a greater outside force.
As adults, we have seen enough of life to realize that neither Superman nor Magneto will ever materialize, but we can project scaled down expectations onto the medical therapies offered to us. As we walk through lives affected by the fall with pain, weakness, limitations, and dysfunction, we can put our hopes in fabricated superheroes both in the natural and in the pharmaceutical world. We read an ad that promises “total relief” and expect the remedy to be our superhero. We can also look upon the other side of therapy and view it as a supervillain. For the natural minded, we may see all pharmaceuticals as greedy, power-hungry villains through and through. For the mainstream trapped mindsets, they may see only shady snake oil sales from top to bottom of the industry.
I would urge both sides to both stop looking for superheroes to save them and to throw out the supervillain imaginations for the majority of their opposing therapies. Very, very rarely do either the natural or the pharmaceutical options act like superheroes. When it comes to the end of the day’s storyline, they both need our bodies natural, God-given processes to work and finish the job. At most the therapies act more like very helpful side kicks to our bodies’ own superhero systems. The sidekicks do often save the day by giving our natural superhero systems the extra help in what they are missing. However, the final work is still done by our own systems.
Take antibiotics from the pharmaceutical industry as an example of the mainstream approach to fighting infections. Yes, when a bacteria is overpowering our lungs causing pneumonia, the antibiotic sidekick can buy time for our own immune system superheroes to knock down the inflammation. We do have to realize that when the antibiotic is finished, it is our immune system which works the final magic and returns our lungs to their prior healthy state.
Take an example from the natural route. Another more natural minded infected individual might choose a promising herbal and nutrient immune combo off the local health food store shelf. They may mistakenly view this therapy as a superhero just as much as the pharma chooser above did. However, they are still dependent on their own immune system to do the ultimate work. Zinc, vitamin C, and Vitamin D do not magically cure any infections. They only act like sidekicks to our own superhero immune system.
We should all take the mature approach and live in the more mundane world of real-life health journeys. Look the mirror and acknowledge the superpowers given to our bodies by our Creator. They won’t crush any boulders, laser burn through iron door, nor fly through space harmlessly, but they daily work small miracles in keeping us healthy in a fallen world. From there, look at all the superhero sidekicks that God has made available to help our innate superhero systems. Keep an open mind to the best of both worlds of medicine, natural and conventional that you can be ready for whatever fallen world villain which may attack your health. Be familiar with both worlds or connect with a functional medicine provider who can guide you on which sidekick to pull off the bench for your health challenge of the moment.
Dr. Potter’s Childhood reading comic books
Dr. Potter’s Years of Clinical experience
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.