East Meets West:Strengthening the Traditional Doctor-Patient Relationship with Alternative Medical Techniques


Ali Franzen

Document Type


Publication Date



As scientists, today?s doctors are trained to cultivate a sense of mental detachment from spirituality and so-called ?alternative medicine.? Yet despite their skepticism, few physicians deny the healing potential encompassed in the field of Eastern medicine. Throughout the course of my research project, I spoke with eight remarkable health care specialists. To my surprise, each of the specialists I interviewed personally supports the incorporation of alternative medical practices into the Western healthcare system. Our interviews focused on one central issue: How can doctors and patients learn to work as team to achieve the greatest possible level of mental, physical, and spiritual health for the patient? Despite their various medical and spiritual backgrounds, each doctor agreed upon three essential points. The first is that combining Eastern and Western medicine creates a method of healing that is closer to perfection than either form alone. The second point is that health is not ?one-size-fits-all,? and that doctors need to address their patients as unique individuals, not as a checklist of symptoms. The third is that true healing must be a collaborative process between an honest doctor, or ?teacher,? and an informed patient, or ?student.? By strengthening the doctor-patient relationship on an individual level, we plant the seeds of change that will eventually strengthen the entire healthcare system. Eastern medicine may supply the ancient wisdom of the body?s innate resistance to disease that has been absent from the current model of healthcare in the United States.


D. Wright and S. Rugg




Lilly Foundation Values and Vocations Fellowship

This document is currently not available here.