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Cure, Suppression, Palliation and Healing

Palliation:
Palliation occurs when:
(a)    a treatment is given for the disease;
(b)   the signs and symptoms of the disease go away; but
(c)   
when the treatment is removed the signs and symptoms return.
The symptoms of the the disease are simply being controlled (not cured) as long as the treatment is continued.

It is important to note that palliation never leads directly to cure. If a cure occurs it is because of other factors - such as a change in the factors that are impacting the person's health (i.e., stress, attitude, lifestyle, diet, etc.) or some obstacle to recovery is addressed (i.e., an invading organism is killed or suppressed, a toxic substance removed, etc.). The control of the symptoms does not, in and of itself, lead to healing. Worse yet, palliation is moving towards suppression rather then cure. When palliation is used over a long enough time, suppression is the natural consequence.

Palliation is the most common result of health care. This is especially true of conventional medicine but also true for much of alternative medicine as well. Unfortunately, both the practitioner and the patient's expectations are frequently satisfied with palliation. This is the most frustrating aspect of modern health care, whether conventional or alternative. Too few people are striving for a cure. However, whenever possible, cure is the goal of classical homeopathy and our practice.

Suppression:
Suppression is when:
(a)    a treatment is given for a disease;
(b)   the signs and symptoms of the disease go away;
(c)    the treatment is removed and the signs and symptoms stay away; but
(d)   the whole person is less healthy.
While the symptoms of concern are better, the whole person is worse which leads to more and worse disease in the future. In conventional medicine suppression is often a goal. Alternative medicine is trying for a higher standard but since palliation is often what happens, suppression can occur here too.

Frequently suppression occurs because a treatment is given for a symptom or disease than the whole person being treated. Suppression leads later to another more invasive illness. An example is when steroids are given to suppress eczema and later asthma develops. If at this later point the person is given a treatment that is curative, there will be a return of the eczema as the asthma gets better.  

Cure:
A cure occurs when:
(a)    a treatment is given for the person;
(b)   the signs and symptoms of the disease go away;
(c)    the treatment is removed and the signs and symptoms stay away; and
(d)   the whole person is healthier and less likely to get sick than before the illness.
This is almost always going to occur only when the whole person was treated and not just the disease or its symptoms. Palliation and suppression never lead to cure in and of themselves.

Healing:
Healing is what a living organism (body/mind) does, or attempts to do, for itself. A treatment can only:
(a)    control signs and symptoms (palliate or suppress);
(b)   support life in a crisis (palliate or suppress);
(c)    attack an invading organism, such as bacteria, or a toxin (palliate);
(d)   mechanically repair tissues that have been damaged or are malformed (palliate); or
(e)    support and/or stimulate the organism's innate healing processes while the body/mind does the work of healing itself (cure).
Curative treatment involves stimulating the whole organism to heal itself. The palliation and suppression of symptoms does not help to stimulate self-healing. Palliation tends to create the opposite effect and suppression actually gets in the way of the whole body/mind's efforts to self-heal.

You may ask why an antibiotic doesn't count as a cure? The antibiotic, in and of itself, does not decrease the organism's susceptibility to the bacteria, leaving it just as likely to get sick after as before the treatment. If the antibiotic was truly curative it would not be necessary for the organism's immune system to "clean up" the pus and tissue debris after the antibiotic had killed off the bacteria.       

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Copyright 2017 R. S. Bradley, N.D. All rights reserved. 

Heartland Naturopathic Clinic
5003 Burt Street
Omaha, NE 68132
(402) 391-6714