East versus West Medicine;
Which should you choose and Why?

What do we know about sickness, diseases and how to treat them? Do you know that there are two differing views on how to treat your body if you are sick? You may think that just going to your family practitioner is the only way to deal with most colds, flu and other ailments, but this is a fairly new, in terms of human history, way of treating sicknesses. That model of treating the symptoms of diseases or sickness is known as allopathic medicine. Your family doctor practices allopathic medicine. It is more commonly known as “western” or “Conventional” medicine. A more formal definition of allopathic medicine, as taken directly from Medterms.com states that “Allopathic medicine: The system of medical practice which treats disease by the use of remedies which produce effects different from those produced by the disease under treatment. MDs practice allopathic medicine.” [1] And naturopathy is defined as “Naturopathic medicine blends centuries-old natural, non-toxic therapies with current advances in the study of health and human systems, covering all aspects of family health from prenatal to geriatric care. Naturopathic medicine concentrates on whole-patient wellness; the medicine is tailored to the patient and emphasizes prevention and self-care. Naturopathic medicine attempts to find the underlying cause of the patient’s condition rather than focusing solely on symptomatic treatment. Naturopathic physicians cooperate with all other branches of medical science referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate.”[2] With these two types of practices or modules properly defined, we will now look at why and when you should use a naturopathic doctor and when you should use an allopathic doctor.

Most people feel that if you go to a naturopathic medicine that you are crazy and that you live in the wild and hug trees. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Many people in today’s society now use naturopaths to help maintain a healthy lifestyle and, when needed will go to an allopath if the sickness does not respond to natural healing methods. There are many different fields within the naturopathic modality. You have acupuncture, holistic medicine, chiropractic, osteopathy, herbal medicines, homeopathy, ayuverdic medicine[Y1] , phytotherapy, flower essences, massage and other types of body work like Reiki and reflexology, and so forth. What many people do not know is that both naturopathic medicine and allopathic medicine can and do work well when paired together and used to compliment the other. “Naturopathic doctors treat their patients holistically, taking into consideration the individual’s biochemistry, biomechanics, and emotional predispositions. The body’s self-healing ability can be better understood if one takes into account the fact that homeostasis, or biological balance, is the main characteristic of any healthy system.”[3] A naturopathic doctor goes through a four year medical training much like a regular doctor. They have levels and apprenticeships and internships that they must also perform before they can be considered as an ND, doctor or naturopath. The difference with the naturopathic doctor in their level of training is that they must learn the natural healing modalities that use a non toxic, holistic method of treatment and by learning to treat the disease as opposed to just treating the symptoms of the disease. The naturopath, like the allopath, emphasizes disease prevention and optimization of a healthy lifestyle.

[1] http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=33612
[2] http://www.aanmc.org/naturopathic-medicine.php
[3] http://www.naturodoc.com/cardinal/naturopathy/whatisNM.htm#philosophy
[Y1]Practiced in India for the past five thousand years, Ayurvedic (meaning “science of life’) is a comprehensive system that combines natural therapies with a highly personalized approach to treatment of disease. Ayurvedic medicine places equal emphasis on body, mind and spirit, and strives to restore the innate harmony of the individual. (http://www.healingartistsofsac.com/Glossary.htm)