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Holistic Jeopardy: Is Holistic Medicine Legitimate?


Holistic healthcare is as provocative and debated as politics and religion. Over the years my husband and I have had many heated discussions with our families and friends, with both sides bringing up challenging concerns. But just how much do you know or is it opinion? And based on what? Show me the science and the evidence… and who financed the study. Thankfully, we live in a country that allows us the freedom to express dissenting views. And despite the backlash from current laws and conventional medicine, holistic and alternative health services are thriving.

Answer: “If it’s Holistic or Alternative…Reject It”

Mercury spillWhat is the Danger of Storing Mercury in Your Teeth? When I was nurse practicing in hospitals in the early 70s, thermometers were glass filled with mercury. If one broke, the room was quarantined until Hazmats cleaned up the spill. A few years later as a dental student, I was puzzled that we handled considerably more mercury in dental amalgam. No gloves or masks and no ventilation. When I questioned my dental instructors about the mercury exposure, I was politely and emphatically told “not to go there.”

In that first year of dental school, I began having symptoms of heart arrhythmias, panic attacks, migraines, digestive problems, tremors, and a chronic cough. Until that time, I was a healthy young woman in her early twenties. Physicians treated my symptoms but never looked at the cause. Although I wasn’t yet aware of its existence, this was the beginning of my exploration into holistic healthcare.

Answer: “Pregnancy Health Should be Holistic”

Female DentistIs this safe for my baby? Upon graduation, my husband (who I met in Dental School) and I opened a traditional family dental practice. Back then, composite white fillings for back teeth were not a recognized service from insurance carriers. This meant that for those who had dental insurance, mercury-containing amalgam was the only restorative material that would be paid for.

I was pregnant and now concerned that the mercury exposure could be a problem for me, for my female staff and for my patients. I contacted my Dental Association and my dental school to send me the scientific studies that demonstrated for women of child-bearing age, the safety of exposure to mercury-containing amalgam. Disappointingly, I never received any information from my organization or from my alma mater. My inner voice of exploring holistic philosophy was getting louder.

Answer: “Holistic Perspective is Absent”

Where can I find out about unsafe medical or dental practices? In the days before the Internet, information of this sort was almost impossible to find. Even Medical and Dental School libraries were devoid of studies. Somehow, I found out that the US Department of Commerce through the Freedom of Information Act could send me the Toxicological Profile of Mercury. Comprehensive five-year studies of industrial workers exposed to mercury demonstrated symptoms that I was experiencing. Yet, this was not taught to dentists or physicians. It was not in professional journals. It was not part of healthcare. That was hard for me to understand. I always had trust in my educators, my professional organizations and my government but when brought up, ridicule and scorn resulted. Wow! This was a hot political topic! And I hadn’t yet discovered that holistic or alternative practices existed.

Answer: “Holistic Healthcare is in Demand”

If holistic practices are so good, then why isn’t my doctor doing it? For starters, ask your doctor about the training they had in medical school of natural alternatives and holistic modalities. One three-hour class in nutrition isn’t enough to make them experts. The subject of environmental medicine is given little attention in textbooks, journals and continuing education. Consequently, allopathic physicians, though knowledgeable about diseases, are unfamiliar with diagnosing and treating health problems stemming from toxins. If there is no recognition of the cause, then it follows that there are no reliable tests to determine levels of metal or chemical toxicity and no standard of care outlined to safely eliminate these poisons from the body. That’s just one example.

Healthy LivingSecond, people want to be healthy. and are crossing over to holistic practices. The incidences of chronic diseases continue to escalate and many patients’ health is managed with prescription medications often accompanied with side-effects. And if that doesn’t work, there is a procedure with risks. Corrections can bring relief but woefully, the cause of the problem is often ignored.

Answer: “The Dilemma of Paying for Holistic Healthcare”

Even though most health insurances won’t cover holistic and alternative health services, and the costs of conventional healthcare is out of control, available holistic options are increasing in response to consumer demand. We are taking more responsibility for our health choices and for now have decided that in the long run, preventing illness and maintaining health naturally are preferred… and so we shoulder the expense. See “Paying for Holistic Health”

For some, conventional medicine is the way to go and for some the natural and holistic approach resonates. So, despite the ridicule and attempted silencing, people are finding that many holistic practices and products are worthwhile for getting and remaining healthy. Anecdotal evidence doesn’t make holistic healthcare legitimate, but it is my belief that the studies that are ignored and not included in curriculum should be given weight for healthcare choices and insurance coverage.


Andy & Vinny DiLorenzo

About Us

As holistic dentists, we've recommended products and services that supported our patients’ health for decades. In experiencing our own health challenges from mercury toxicity, we worked closely with many natural, alternative, and integrative health practitioners who aided our recovery as well as our patients’. We built this site to provide you with a simple-to-use, comprehensive, informational, and functional resource for your physical, emotional, and spiritual health & well-being.

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