Civilized Medicine – Not Alternative, Nor Complementary

Majid Ali, M.D.

In the spring of 2012, one of my wife’s friends asked me,

“Do you practice alternative medicine?”

“No.” I replied. “I do not know what that is.”

“Do you practice complementary medicine?” she asked with a smile.

“What would I complement and with what?” I asked in good humor.

“So what do you do now? I know you were a pathologist.”She flashed.

“I struggle to be civilized in my clinical work.” I returned her smile.

“You struggle How?”

“This is what I will do. I will send you an article about civilized medicine I published in


Alternative medicine is term derogatory term. I consider complementary medicine equally nonsensical. Below is my article which I wrote as my “President’s Message,”which was published in the inaugural issues of The Journal of Capital University of Integrative Medicine in 2001.

A Tribe of Civilized Medicine

At Capital University, we strive to be a tribe of civilized medicine. It is medicine about human dignity—of the sick as well as of those who care for the sick and prevent disease.

At Capital University, our tribe of civilized medicine believes that all our healing work must be conducted in the state of spiritual surrender to that higher presence that permeates each of us at all times. The mystery of healing will forever transcend the human faculty for comprehension.

A practitioner of civilized medicine grows in three stages: knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. Learning the facts of natural phenomena in biology is the first stage of knowledge. Searching for relatedness among those biological phenomena is the second stage of understanding. Bringing that knowledge and understanding to the care of the sick is the third stage of wisdom. In civilized medicine, the practitioners seek the wisdom of:

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* Keeping the sick at center stage—letting the patient guide the clinician as the clinicians guide the patient.

* Bringing a gardener’s sense of soil and roots to nurturing the sick for healing.

* Doing the healing work only within the “matrix of belief” about the observable as well as the unobservable in the healing phenomena—again keeping their belief subordinate to that of the patient. Holding nutritional, ecological, and stress-related aspects of modern life as the central focus of their work. Recognizing Nature’s preoccupation with molecular complementarity and contrariety in the health/ dis-ease/ disease continuum.

* Searching the energetic- molecular-spiritual basis of the health/ dis-ease/ disease continuum.

* Recognizing the bowel, blood, and liver ecosystem as the soil and the root of the human organism.

* Not hiding behind hollow diagnostic labels.

* Not subordinating their empirical observations regarding the sick and unwell humans to the experimental observations made with mutant mice.

* Not sacrificing painstaking studies of astute clinical at the altar of results obtained with double-blind, cross-over medical trials.

* Not mindlessly using synthetic chemicals to treat disease caused by chemicals.

* Not politicking for legislative and regulatory fiats to squelch competition from other healing arts.

At Capital, our tribe of civilized medicine is utterly committed to true advances in scientific advances in medical technology. Those advances allow us to observe human suffering with increasing sophistication. Our high- resolution microscopes show us the vibrant dance of cells bathing in the fluids of life. Our high-resolutions chemiluminescence technology gives us wisdom to the true- to- life electron dynamics of the health/ dis- ease/ disease continuum. There are other examples of such technical advances in focus at Capital.

At Capital, the essential spirit is not of leadership. It is of service. During the last six years, the primary difference between the faculty and students has been that the former were teachers without salaries and the latter taught while paying tuition. That has been singular manifestation of the tribal spirits at Capital.

Majid Ali, MD.

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