Global Medicine - the Courage to Live with an Open HeartMonique Martin, D.O. - (303)  762-7206 -  Englewood, Colorado


In the Beginning

Philosophy

I first became interested in alternative medicine growing up in Europe where much emphasis was placed on patient empowerment. Because medicine there is socialized, there is general expectation that people treat themselves for minor illnesses and save visits to the doctor for serious or difficult illnesses. Preventative medicine is encouraged and rewarded. I grew up with botanical and homeopathic treatments for various ailments.


During my residency, I had an opportunity to spend a month observing and working with an Internal Medicine physician in Germany. His office was the first floor of an old Victorian home. Patients were received in the living room which had been converted to a spacious office overlooking a beautiful garden. This setting was tranquil and soothing. I was impressed with the length of time he spent with his patients, the topics he covered in the visit and the different treatment modalities he used. I knew then that this was the direction I wanted to pursue.

An Awakening

Near the end of my chief residency, I diagnosed a 45 year-old woman with high blood pressure. After handing her a prescription for a blood pressure medicine she asked me point blank, “Would you take this medicine if you were me?” I had to think about this since I was in good health and never thought about taking medicine before. At the time, I told her that I would start exercising, radically change my diet, try biofeedback and consider nutritional and botanical support. I would resort to the pharmaceuticals if those approaches were unsuccessful or the condition was serious. She thanked me kindly for the information and handed me back the prescription.

That encounter had a profound influence on me.

On my way home that evening, I realized that the medicine I had been trained to practice was not my first choice for me (or for my family). Not that this medicine was bad. My training had been outstanding. I had been educated and trained at a county hospital, a Level I Trauma Center treating sick people from all around Arizona in addition to people who came from south of the border. Our training program was affiliated with the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale which provided us with excellent education, state-of-the-art technology and the latest in pharmaceutical treatment of disease. So what was wrong with taking medication? Nothing. That is just one option amongst many. However, our pharmaceutical approaches usually don’t treat the underlying cause. Although hypertension can be life-threatening when it is extreme, it usually is not. So before subjecting myself to a lifelong dependency on medication I would be interested in knowing what kind of change I could affect with different treatments. Would this condition be curable, reversible, or treatable? Would I require lifelong medication?

My philosophy is to go from least invasive, least toxic, least dependent and most empowering on up. A teacher once told me to treat every patient like my mother. “You do like your mother, don’t you?” he asked. “You can never go wrong treating people like family.” I then realized that I would have to change how I practiced medicine. It had to be in alignment with my own philosophy for treating myself.

Hypocrite

Many years ago, while asking a patient how much she exercised she turned the question around and asked me. I hemmed and hawed that I had the same difficulties as everybody else and avoided the question. “No”, she said, “How much do you exercise a week?” I was embarrassed to admit that it was only once or twice a week. My doctor pedestal came crashing down. While espousing the virtues of exercise I had become a hypocrite and didn’t prioritize my own advice. Bad doctor! Again, while driving home that evening, I decided that I would give daily exercise a try for six weeks. I wanted to create a habit. If I didn’t like the way I felt and the positive changes it created then I would quit nitpicking my patients. It turned out to be just what I needed.

The Body Naturally Tries to Heal

I believe the body naturally heals itself. Just look at a cut. It heals, unless there is an obstacle in the way of that healing. It could be an infection, something foreign like dirt, inflammation, or you’ve cut yourself so bad that you’ll bleed to death before time will heal. It is my goal to help figure out what is standing in the way of that healing. Most of the time it involves Body, Mind and Spirit. My patients have shown me time and time again that there is usually a psycho-spiritual or emotional-mental component to illness that also needs to be addressed in order for healing to take place.


I am really skilled at helping patients figure out what that might be.


Our Nation’s Plight

We are the richest nation in the world, the most industrialized, and have the best technology and yet we do not boast the best health. We are stressed, fat, overworked, overwhelmed, unhealthy, fatigued and in some kind of pain whether physical or emotional. Our society emphasizes model figures and youth. Our youth is aspiring for obesity. Every day a new diet book is released and we are more confused than ever. This desperately needs to change. It’s up to us to do just that.