Dr. Jason Miller
Why Cancer and Chronic Disease?
My deep dive into the role of botanical and nutritional medicine in oncology began with my relationship with Donald Yance, CN, RH (AHG), founder of Natura Health Products and The Mederi Center in Ashland, OR. Soon after graduating from OCOM in 2005, I found myself working directly with hundreds of cancer patients who were in desperate need of support and guidance through the maze of challenging decisions that a cancer diagnosis brings. Through my work with the Mederi Center, and ongoing collaboration with long time cancer experts Dwight McKee, Jonathan Treasure, and a number of esteemed colleagues, I was brought into a community of medical practitioners and scholars that represent an unprecedented base of knowledge and wisdom in the collaborative management of cancer and chronic disease.
Where did it start?
My passionate exploration of science and medicine began in high school, and deepened during my 4 years at the University of Minnesota’s premedical program. Although I immersed myself in academia, took on two teaching assistant positions and had 2 offices on campus, over this period I slowly became disillusioned with the prospect that modern biomedical science was the answer to our health and longevity. I began to realize that much of what we think we know about the world is actually based on accepted beliefs, not “objective truth.”
Objective Truth and “Evidence”
Science is based on models and approximations, not on “objective truth.” As time has shown us, our world view is ever evolving, and as we deepen our understanding of the universe around and within us, our “facts” – our accepted beliefs about the physical universe, change.
Anthropology and permaculture.
How do we fit in?
We are intrinsically woven into the ecosystem that surrounds us. Our actions affect our ecosystem and our ecosystem affects our physiology. My deep dive into the physiology and metabolism of cancer has brought me to the realization that the cancering process that we are in is an example of what I call, “as without, so within.”
Dr Miller’s “Cancer Metaphor”
Hijacking natural systems for individual gain
Loss of apoptosis (normal cell death)
Use of inefficient fuels and production of toxic byproducts
Lack of concern for the host – over harvest of resources for personal gain
Sequestering huge amounts of resources for individuals at the expense of others
Why Traditional Chinese Medicine?
TCM is a holistic, self-reflective medical system that is based on principles that have been derived through observation of phenomena in the natural world. These principles are applied throughout the holistic system of TCM, including to physiology of the human body, as well as to the materials that are used to treat it. TCM’s methods and theoretical foundations have been refined over time as doctors have treated patients and recorded their findings. It is a rich source of empirical evidence for the use of an elaborate set of medicines, therapies, and approaches for normalizing human physiology that has been successfully employed in the prevention and management of disease and for the promotion of longevity for thousands of years.
I have found that “layering the lenses” of TCM and biomedical science improves the acuity of our perspective on disease, medicine and healing.
The Macro-Ecological Perspective
Patterns, cycles, relationships, cause and effect, nature’s perfection, elements, the human being’s place in the ecosystem, and the human body AS an ecosystem. The macro-ecological perspective encompasses the observable forces and how they impact the human body
Acute Medical Care
Modern biomedical science has provided an incredible resource for us – acute medical care. It is truly remarkable to witness what we have been able to achieve in the realm of acute care in the last century. Emergency medicine has infatuated the world, and for good reason! It is truly incredible that we are able to rescue the body from extreme states of dysfunction. Whether for the treatment of a broken bone, controlling a raging infection with antibiotics, calming a hyperreactive immune system with steroids, or preventing an impending heart attack in the catheter lab, the wonders of modern medicine are astounding.
When it comes to health and disease, most people who are suffering, are not in an acute, emergent situation. Most of us are dealing with chronic conditions that negatively affect our health and quality of life, and require a “slow medicine” approach for full resolution.
The ongoing quest for new pharmaceutical medicines based on the single molecule, single target approach, is limited in scope. Although botanical medicines are a rich source of “active” molecules, the isolation and synthetic production of these singular structures is not where the strength of botanical medicine lies. A single herbal medicine is a complex mixture of hundreds of molecular structures that together make up its molecular “matrix.” Standardizing botanical medicines to specific compounds that are considered “actives” is an effective strategy for ensuring the potency and the correct medicinal quality of a medicine, but the “active” molecules have been shown to be more effective when delivered in the matrix of the whole plant material. This has more recently been termed “the entourage effect.”
Collaboration is the essence of my work.
Since 2007, I have been part of a network of practitioners of many doctrines, all sharing case studies, evaluating research, and collaborating in round table and tumor board meetings. Our group consists of PhD scientists, oncologists, surgeons, family practice MD’s, ND’s, LAc’s, NP’s, DC’s, herbalists, and nutritionists. Together, we bring a diverse and extensive clinical and research knowledge base to draw from. Particularly challenging or unique cases are often discussed in monthly round table or tumor board settings, where different experts can weigh in on the treatment plan for a particular patient.
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For early Taoist doctors, elemental principles were derived by observing the natural world, from the cyclical movement of the celestial bodies and the seasons, to the properties of geological formations, to the interactions between plants and animals, and the interplay of observable forces.
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