Here we are with two schools of thought:
- Allopathic Medicine: often referred to as modern medicine. This type of medicine is highly specialized (you can go to a GP or to an ophthalmologist, gastroenterologist, oncologist, etc…) and works with the use of medications to tackle symptoms. Research is essential.
- Natural Medicine: is the occidental pendant of Chinese Medicine, using natural ways to improve one’s person daily life. Natural medicine also has its specialized practitioners: naturopaths are the equivalent of GPs, and then you have herbologists, acupuncturists, sofrologists, etc.
Both are amazing as they proved themselves to be highly efficient. However the public opinion often opposes them to each other. There are supporters of allopathic medicine which can’t stand the thought of natural medicine methods and vice versa. My aim in this post is to share my point of view, being that both can be harmful if used without precaution, and that both can work together as complementary therapies.
Allopathic medicine is amazing: it is backed up with a lot of serious scientific research and a lot of tools to diagnose diseases. As a matter of fact, life expectancy hasn’t stopped growing since modern medicine is practiced. However, here are my concerns about this kind of medicine: first, it seems like allopathic practitioners focus their efforts on the management and deletion of symptoms instead of finding the core cause of the illness or discomfort. Moreover, they tend to consider one system at a time, not considering that the body works as a whole and that a cause can affect any part of the body, or that a symptom in a muscle can find its cause in an opposite part of the body. My final concern is that allopathic medicine gets away with giving people prescription for drugs that can not only produce side/adverse effets, but also affect way more than just the cell presenting a problem and create even more problems. For example, NSAIDs reduce pain but they also inhibit prostaglandins’ secretions, which decrease levels of mucous in our body linings (mucous is essential for removing unwanted particles in the air we inhale and to protect the gastro-intestinal tract from digestive juice erosion). Another example is chemotherapy which kills not only the bad, but also the good cells. You got it: medicines can create secondary diseases. The result being more than 300,000 hospital admissions in the US each year for adverse effets.
Natural medicine is amazing as well. It considers the body as a whole (holistic approach) and takes into account not only the symptoms, but also one’s environment and behaviour to make a diagnosis. Yet, naturopathic practitioners are not imposters as they’re allowed to get their patients to have blood tests and other examinations. So they base their diagnosis and prescriptions on actual medical facts. Giving one person’s condition, they will prescribe all sorts of natural remedies (herbal medicine, diet, lifestyle, acupuncture, hygiene, relaxation, etc.), the aim being to cure not only the symptoms, but the real cause of a condition. Therefore naturopathy is amazing to prevent aging and diseases and improve people’s daily life. That’s why we call them “health educators” and not doctors. However, when facing an emergency situation, naturopathy can’t do much. For example, if someone falls into coma, it is absolutely necessary to call for an ambulance so that the patient can go to a hospital. Another caution I should mention is that everyone is different and one condition in someone can be caused by something very different to another person experiencing the same kind of condition. Therefore everyone needs to assess its own needs when it comes to natural medicine and not decide out of the blue to take those supplements because they just think it might help.
This is only a rapid definition but I could go on for ages about the two – however you would already have stopped reading this post so there’s no point doing this on here. What comes out of these broad definitions is that naturopathy is essential for preventing serious diseases to appear and living a healthy day-to-day life, and allopathic medicine is paramount for coping with life-threatening emergency situation. That’s why I think we should be aware of both and not underestimate naturopathy. That’s a pity that nowadays, allopathic medicine is the reflex in most people when they’re facing a discomfort or an illness. I think raising awareness and encourage an open mind to natural medicine could give people a wider range of options, and that if they’re told they’re going to be stuck with some kind of condition for the rest of their lives and that they have to take pills everyday until they die, there may be a hope to heal with naturopathy.