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Health or heresy - Creating new paradigms in health care

Creating new paradigms in healthcare. Credit:shutterstock_1072059917

It has been my experience that once you mention the word Homoeopathy in casual conversation, it is almost impossible to be thought of as credible after that. If you don’t believe me, try it!

Homoeopathy is almost like a curse word or taboo subject. Except in some small circles of the already converted where as a Homeopath I am oddly revered and welcomed with open arms. Broken down to its simplest elements, I think that the negative reaction comes from confusion and fear. I am not sure why it is that even or especially the most educated seem to carry a reflexive prejudice. Does one become blinded by science as a belief rather than motivated by empirical evidence?

Needless to say, this reaction hasn’t stopped me from practising Homeopathy because I am a health rebel and I have been witness to many positive outcomes with patients under my care. Let me be the first to say that Homeopathy is just one tool in a health toolbox and doesn’t work for everyone or every case of illness. (As for how it works, I will not go where angels fear to tread in this blog.)

Another tool is Functional Medicine, which offers clinical and lifestyle solutions that Homoeopathy does not. Because of its relative newness to the field of health care, Functional medicine has also been pronounced to be ‘pseudoscience’ by conventional fact-checkers and prominent functional medicine doctors labelled as quacks. Homoeopathy on the other hand has had 200 years to shore up the resistance borne of cognitive dissonance - the rejecting of new ideas that conflict with (old) beliefs.

Sometimes it seems like there is a war between conventional medicine and everything else... which includes Homeopathy and many other alternative modalities. Explained another way, I see it as simply a philosophical conflict between two world views… Mechanism and Vitalism.

We are made up of cells, tissues and organs but we are also more than our physical bodies. We have a life force that animates us, call it what you will. This is the vitality that we can enhance with healthy living and eating fresh colourful plant foods or which diminishes with stress, illness, unhealthy lifestyle and age.

We are both made of matter and energy. Given the right elements, we have self-healing ability. Haven’t you ever marvelled at how a finger cut can heal itself? This is an example of the intelligence of vitalism in action. Therefore I don’t believe that the either-or exclusivity of conventional medicine always provides a helpful mindset. Rather a model that offers both mechanistic and vitalistic modalities appropriately timed and prescribed can help more health seekers.

I would like to discuss a (new) inclusive paradigm in healthcare and what I think everyone should know about Homeopathy, Functional medicine and other so-called Alternative therapies. To be able to have an informed and current opinion on this often controversial topic. You never know, one of these alternative therapies may indeed change your health and life...

There is often resistance and prejudice against not only Homoeopathy but any alternative or new system including Functional Medicine that offers another approach. Especially one that is perceived to challenge accepted conventional medical paradigm even when currently proposed solutions are unsatisfactory. We are after all creatures of habit but even comfort zones can be uncomfortable. This would especially be true for you if your health complaint cannot be healed by even the best of the conventional approach.

Let me describe the context of the new paradigm in health/medicine which is fundamentally holistic and inclusive. Modalities like functional medicine and alternative complementary modalities are given more importance. Lifestyle interventions are considered to be the first-line interventions in chronic care. It is based on starting with the most natural, safe and least invasive tools first before proceeding to pharmaceutical medicine and invasive interventions like surgery. There are pockets of this type of approach driven by early adopters and the so-called quacks or health heretics.

Health heretics are the pioneers. They are the creative thinkers and paradigm forerunners who come up with new ideas for solving old problems. They can have a hard time explaining themselves to an often unreceptive audience who are change-resistant and comfortable with the status quo in medicine. They sit on the fringe of medicine and the leading edge. They don’t practice bad medicine, they practice more experimental medicine which with enough support and scientific rigour eventually can become acceptable and standard practice in the future. As the natural cycle of paradigm shifts repeats itself… the truth is always revealed.

From my personal experience as a South African growing up in the Apartheid years, I have become sensitised and alert to any form of polarisation and to the negative impacts polarisation can have on our individual and collective psyches. Separation is a myth and human construct, true healing comes from integration and inclusion.

So with that thought, let us keep an open mind but not so open that our brains fall out (thank you - Walter Kotschnig). Curiosity for the truth helps to keep one's mind open ... with one eye on the proven science and the other on the anecdotes.

My hope is that we can create a new paradigm in healthcare from the best of both the mechanistic AND vitalistic world views and roll it out without prejudice so that more health seekers can benefit.


The following modalities are considered Vitalistic:





Traditional Chinese Medicine etc

The following modalities are Mechanistic:

Conventional medicine


Surgery etc

This blog was based on a presentation made to members of the Functional forum The Netherlands on 1 April 2021.

If you would like to know more, here is the recording of the full presentation.

For more info about my approach, book a free discovery call with me.…/free-meet-greet-chat

If you want more nutrition and self-care know-how in your inbox, go to my website and subscribe to my newsletter. I would love to see you there!

Nicole Dawson Cullinan



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