Future Healing: Environmental Medicine

Future Healing: Environmental Medicine

Often, it is the culmination of higher thinkers that bring antiquated science into the next phase. When something is working, why fix it? This is one of the many attitudes of conventional medicine today, primarily when it involves pharmaceutical applications. However, we are currently seeing one of the strongest resistance strains against antibiotics and other synthetic remedies, ever, in the history of science.

Environmental medicine looks at the other side of treatment, often pinpointing the root cause that may be an atmospheric source you never even considered. However, whether it is real science or another money making scheme is still to be determined. Through the use of various questionable therapies and other alternative remedies that often work with “energy” it is no wonder the medical community and quack watch sites oppose environmental medicine.

Whether a really good placebo or actual healing treatment that, in time, will be revered, like many other ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, environmental medicine may have some merit waiting to be discovered just yet.

An Environmental Approach

Humans rapidly advanced into the 20th Century with industrial, agricultural and medical leaps and bounds. Much of this speed has enabled convenience and longer living but over time seems to have come with a price. This is when medical doctors, especially allergists, and doctor’s of osteopathic medicine, began looking into how the environment may be causing illness.

These doctor’s banned together and in 1965 formed the American Academy of Environmental Medicine with a mission statement that reads,

“…to promote optimal health through prevention, and safe and effective treatment of the causes of illness by supporting physicians and other professionals in serving the public through education about the interaction between humans and their environment.”

Toxin Exposure

It is inevitable that you are, or will be, exposed to toxins on a daily level. This can range from household cleaners, and car exhaust to noise pollution, microscopic radioactive particles and so much more both synthetic and natural. Overall, the human immune system has been adapting to nature’s toxins and industrialization pollutants, usually capable of a strong defense.

However, when a toxin is too strong, an environmental medicine assessment may find that toxin and use it as an opportunity to educate the patient as well as strengthen their immune system. Powerful toxins include anything from nature like radon which leaches from large rocks or newer, smaller nano-waste particles embedding in systemic fatty tissue, particularly the lungs, liver or even the brain. It isn’t the immediate effect either, it is years of accumulation of environmental toxins that a doctor, trained in environmental medicine, may be able to detect and remedy.

Some Toxic Results

With the long list of toxins you may be exposed to, accumulation can cause a variety of conditions and diseases that, without considering environmental medicine, may have you chasing your tail for years. This is because conventional medicine will look at symptoms and determine remedies without considering an environmental cause.

Some toxins and what they may cause include:

Benzene – Drugs, plastics, gasoline vapor, and cigarette smoke all contain some form of the chemical benzene which can easily be absorbed and stored in the body. This toxin has been linked to haematotoxicity (red blood cell destruction), genotoxicity (gene damage), carcinogenicity (cancer causing) and leukemia.

Dioxin – This is the by-product of industrial processes and combustion activities. It directly affects the immune system, the nervous system, the endocrine system and reproductive functions.

Formaldehyde – Found to off-gas from household items, building materials, cigarette smoke and combustion, formaldehyde can cause chronic eye, ear, nose and throat irritation as well as asthma.

Lead – Much has been done to avoid lead exposure, especially in children, yet it is still a concern and linked to kidney damage, miscarriages, effects on the nervous system, declined fertility, loss of IQ and behavioral disruptions.

Environmental Noise – You may not realize the effect of environmental noise on your health. From high volume television to nearby highway road noise these auditory interruptions can cause high blood pressure, myocardial infarction (heart problem) and cognitive challenges.

The Breakdown

The applications for environmental medicine can be vast, including treatment for those who have experienced traumatic events such as earthquakes or volcano eruptions. The University of Utah detailed some of the steps and protocols of environmental medicine which shows how a practitioner might approach each patient.

Three environments

  • Home
  • Workplace
  • Community

Environmental media

  • Food
  • Water
  • Air
  • Soil

Types and examples of environmental hazards

  • Chemical agents (heavy metals, pesticides)
  • Physical agents (ionizing radiation)
  • Biologic agents (bacteria, viruses)
  • Psychosocial (personal, family)
  • Trauma (acute, repetitive)

Means and examples by which hazards may enter the environment

  • Consumer products (pesticides, cigarette smoke)
  • Direct discharges into environment (smokestack emissions, waste discharge into water)
  • Environmental catastrophe (such as Bhopal, India release of methyl isocyanate)
  • Ecological catastrophic events (flooding, famine)

Route of exposure

  • Inhalation
  • Ingestion
  • Dermal (skin)

Dose: a function of the amount of toxin absorbed over a period of time

  • Exposure magnitude
  • Duration (in minutes, hours, days, or lifetime)
  • Exposure frequency (daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally)

Dose characterizations

  • Acute: single large exposure over a period of minutes or hours
  • Intermittent: brief regular or sporadic repeated exposures over months or years
  • Chronic: continuous exposure
  • Combinations of the above

Detoxification: Rebuild and Repair

Once a particular environmental toxin is determined, before any treatment the first step is detoxification. By attempting to shed the body of built up toxins, a practitioner can then ‘rebuild’ and ‘repair’. Heavy metals and pesticides are a main focus of environmental medicine as they are easily absorbed and respond well to being removed. Some natural removal options include: chlorophyll, cilantro, chlorella, beetroot, activated charcoal, garlic and sarsaparilla.

Environmental medicine may not be completely embraced by conventional medicine but it is slowly gaining traction. Possibly, in the future, this medicine may be the first course of action before going through a long list of medicine and treatments that only mask the original problem.