Whole Healthcare Treatment Pyramid

 
Surgery
This level includes not only surgery, but all medical treatments that are “invasive” and/or have a relatively high risk of very serious complications or side effects - like chemotherapy or radiation. These are not inherently evil things. Sometimes it is necessary to do things that are dangerous or very unpleasant to save life. We need to be thankful for these options while doing all that we can to minimize the problems.
 
Prescription
This is fairly self-explanatory. These are often substances that are foreign to normal human physiology or natural processes. The frequency and magnitude of negative side effects are often significant. Prescription medications can be a wonderful thing. It is life-saving to have modern antibiotics with serious infections, etc. Our problem is that our priorities are scrambled and our emphasis is all wrong. A healthcare system driven by corporate profit does not create optimal healthcare for patients (or providers). Let’s use prescription medications when we truly need them, but not instead of identifying and correcting the causes of disease.
 
Physiology
Physiology is essentially any and all treatments that are relatively “natural”, work with the body’s physiology, and have scientific evidence to support their use. These are things beyond what we would do in our daily lifestyle habits. They do not usually require a prescription. Physical modalities like physical therapy or massage would be included. Nutritional supplements could fall into this category. Anything that meets the above criteria would be included here. Side effects are typically minimal or mild, or may actually be positive.
 
Lifestyle
Lifestyle is the use of elements of basic, daily living as treatment for medical problems - nutrition, physical activity, sleep, stress management/relaxation, sunlight/vitamin D, etc. As an example, science shows that exercise is as effective as prescription medication or psychological therapy for depression. Or the fact that sleep problems can cause fatigue, depression, high blood pressure, overweight, etc would logically lead us to evaluate and treat sleep problems as appropriate in dealing with any of these problems - instead of just writing another prescription. Lifestyle is the foundation of all effective long term treatment and should receive the greatest emphasis in general.
 
Balance and Common Sense
There is nothing crazy or radical about this approach. Any and all therapy categories can and should be used in a manner that is in the best interest of the patient. And the patient is in the driver's seat - it is their life, their decisions, etc. I am the professional advisor. My job is to present a clear picture of the options - with pros and cons - provide my recommendation with explanation, and then work with them to fulfill their objectives. It is simply how I would want to be treated if I were the patient.
Author
Dr. Braman

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