Mark Breiner is a doctor of western style dentistry who also has a whole body health practice. In this he is part of an important trend in western medicine that seems to have evolved to a point where it acknowledges ancient wisdom that was practiced in the East when westerners were more inclined to rely on witches and weirdos. It is quite wonderful to witness how online communication and globalization are playing themselves out even in arcane fields such as medicine.

Extractions were not bad when one was young and teeth had a habit of loosening themselves until they wobbled about so much that they could be gently plucked out and put beneath the bed for the Tooth Fairy. Cavities were better business for dentists. Before the advent of the Internet public knowledge about health was scant. Children were fed sweets and few people knew about flossing, let alone taking little pills that made teeth stronger.

Perhaps because of wider access to public information baby boomers have had to reassess their attitudes to dentistry. The traditional family dentist may now go beyond a mouthwash for gingivitis to suggest that there is a connection between stress and periodontal disease. Some dentists offer expertise in curing problems such as snoring and sleep apnea. In general there seems to be a movement towards more holistic treatments.

In the past forty years China has been gradually opening up to the West. Kipling's old saying that 'East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet' is fading fast in the light of globalization. Only one of many effects is the discovery by some westerners of ancient practices that have been around in the East for centuries.

One skill that eastern medical experts seem to have is in the ability to diagnose problems with internal organs after a brief glance at the tongue. Apparently, those who know how can tell from looking at the tongue where to stick needles so that the body's own healing power can release healing energy. Although no-one is able to explain exactly how such things work the proof is often in the pudding. A sprained ankle, a glance at the tongue, a few well aimed needles and the ankle does undoubtedly heal very rapidly.

During the twentieth century people many people were convinced that 'science' was the solution to all problems. Medical practitioners who had spent eight years training in medical science were scornful of 'quacks' who purveyed alternative remedies not validated by scientific method. Even in fields like theology the word 'science' was fitted in somehow and politics became 'political science'.

Perhaps this was due in part to the great advances made by western medicine. Humility may be a consequence of realizing that illness will never be entirely defeated by piecemeal treatments that cure one complaint only for another to spring up like a wildfire somewhere else in the body.

Perhaps a more balanced approach leaves intellectual space for considerations of holistic medicine and approaches that explore new bounds of expertise. Dr Mark Breiner is a trained medical doctor who has published both a book and a website. In these sources of information patients may explore with him interesting issues of balance such as the chicken or the egg. The question of whether medical problems start in the mouth and move towards the vital organs, or whether the organs send vital signals to the mouth concerning their problems may be elucidated online.

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