The Marriage of Modern & Traditional Medicine with Dr. Ivan Figueroa-Otero

Happy Friday, eco-beauties! Today, I am sharing an article contributed by Dr. Ivan Figueroa-Otero, a holistic doctor who incorporates both traditional Chinese and modern medicine in his practice. Dr. Figueroa-Otero believes that a combination of both highly-regarded ways of life is essential to living. As both a former pediatric surgeon who spent 40 years practicing medicine and a certified medical acupuncturist who specializes in disease prevention and modification of lifestyles through holistic Chinese medicine techniques such as meditation, his goal is to inform and educate others about blending these forms of medicine to live a balanced, healthy and rewarding life.

As someone who believes very strongly in the benefits of traditional, holistic medicine, but who also recognizes the importance of modern medicine, I was very interested in what Dr. Figueroa-Otero had to say. 🙂

Peace & love,

Brie xo



Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed:

The Marriage of Modern and Traditional Medicine

Ivan Figueroa-Otero MD FACS FAAMA


In this article, I will be discussing the benefits of blending the old and the new of all the knowledge obtained from the historical manners of visualizing the disease process. I will also be sharing how these views can provide us with complementary approaches that can be blended into a successful marriage of traditional and modern medicinal approaches to allow us to borrow the best of each.

The modern perspective that science-based medicine is always the best choice fails to recognize that many of these traditional techniques were once old and unscientific until newer evidence moved them into mainstream medicine. One example is traditional Chinese acupuncture, which has become part of the mainstream of most modern medical centers. So, before we decide to discard some of these older and more traditional practices, we must remove the blinding bias of lack of evidence and reconsider the vast successful clinical experience accumulated for many years.


Something New

There is no question that the economic power of the medical industry has developed newer, more efficient approaches to eliminating or decreasing the symptomatic period of recovery of many diseases. However, it has not been able to significantly decrease the barrage of degenerative diseases as diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. The new emphasis on biological medicine in increasing the body’s immunity power to fight cancer instead of focusing on killing cancer cells with toxic drugs is a welcome approach of modern medicine. The progressive success in transplant surgery in prolonging life is a true miracle of modern medicine.

The dark side of all this progress is the exorbitant cost associated with it and the many side effects that bring on new conditions in patients. The lack of choice that many patients face in considering complementary therapies is the other shadowy aspect of this modern approach.


Something Old Becomes Something New

We must be aware that many modern pharmacologic agents have been developed from former traditional herbal remedies that have become part of mainstream practices. The very antique practice of acupuncture, as science has learned to understand its biologic mechanisms of actions, has been incorporated in pain management without the toxic or addictive effects of drugs. It is now often used in treating infertility, together with modern in vitro and hormonal approaches, helping in the recovery of PTSD in war veterans, and complementing the effects of drugs in depression and anxiety disorders.

The theory that gastritis and stomach ulcers were caused by bacteria was part of the philosophy of traditional medicine well before it became mainstream. Other traditional fields, which are becoming more familiar to patients each day, are the benefits of essential oils in aromatherapy, homeopathic remedies for nontoxic symptom control, and body energy therapies such as reiki and chiropractic manipulation.

The preventive and therapeutic effects of plant-based nutrition were clearly evidenced in 2005, by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and his son Thomas M. Campbell, MD in his extensive epidemiological study, “The China Study.”


Something Borrowed- Transforming Alternative Therapies into Complementary Medicine

Since the process of accepting many of these alternative therapies into mainstream medicine is very slow due to the scientific evidence filter of modern medicine, patients have to study and consider the present evidence of many of these therapies by evaluating the risks, costs, and benefits of each with the support of their primary caregiver. We must gather the clinical published evidence of its effectiveness, study the risks reported by federal organizations such as the FDA, and search for certified national or state licensing for the considered procedure. We must also be careful not to substitute successful mainstream therapies for those that could put your life at risk.

Don’t fall trap to the magic pill that thrives in the fears of the naïve and hopeful. Always have the support of a primary caregiver to assist you during these search for complementary therapies that could help you recover health and wellness without unnecessary risks.


About the Author

After almost four decades of practice as a pediatric surgeon and nearly a decade of practicing holistic medicine, Dr. Ivan Figueroa-Otero now heals people through the guiding principles and empowering words of his Amazon best-selling series of self-improvement books. Bilingual in English and Spanish, he was a member of the Puerto Rico Medical Association, American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, American Pediatric Surgical Association, and Fellow American Academy of Medical Acupuncture. He is currently engaged in his private practice and continues in his role as an educator, trying to achieve full integration of traditional Chinese acupuncture courses in the curriculum of medical schools.

He resides in Puerto Rico. For more information, visit his website here.



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