Naturopathic Medicine vs Conventional Medicine
Naturopathic medicine and conventional medicine are both valuable systems that excel at different aspects of patient care. Conventional medicine is crucial in most emergency situations. Naturopathic medicine is the best approach to prevention, because it involves a wellness-oriented diet, lifestyle change and supplements that support the body. Naturopathic medicine is often also the best first step in dealing with chronic illnesses, such as arthritis or eczema, because these conditions improve when diet, lifestyle and nutrient deficiencies are addressed. Additionally, naturopathic medicine is a great choice for non-emergency acute illnesses, such as colds and flus, because naturopathic medicine modalities effectively support the body’s immune system.
For most diseases, conventional medicine treats symptoms alone, usually with drugs or surgery. While sometimes necessary, this can lead to long-term management with an improvement in symptoms at the cost of side effects, which often require more drugs. Naturopathic medicine, on the other hand, attempts to treat the root cause of the health issue so that the body can ultimately heal itself. The results can be measured as a reduction or elimination of drugs, improved vitality and/or a complete reversal of disease.
Naturopathic medicine does not abandon the conventional medical model. Many aspects of the conventional approach to medicine are not only beneficial but also essential for the practice of naturopathic medicine. For example, naturopathic doctors are trained in conventional medical sciences and routinely order conventional labs and scans alongside alternative medicine tests (like nutrient blood tests and food sensitivity panels) to help establish appropriate diagnosis of disease conditions and monitor treatment progress. Naturopathic doctors are also trained in pharmacology, and if necessary, can write a prescription for pharmaceutical medications. NDs also refer out to medical specialists for further work-up or when there is a need for acute care stabilization in a health crisis.
Naturopathic medicine is unique in certain respects:
- The relationship between a naturopathic doctor and his or her patient is a partnership. What this means is that naturopathic doctors spend a significant amount of time with their patients. They listen closely to gain a full understanding of all aspects of the patient’s health problem. They then explain both the disease process and the treatment approach so the patient understands why each treatment recommendation is important and can be an empowered and active participant in incorporating the changes that will lead to improved health.
- NDs strive to find and treat the root cause of the disease, treat the whole person, and choose treatments that are not harmful and will engage the body’s own self-healing abilities.
- NDs work with a large toolkit of evidence-based, effective and safe natural therapies: herbs, vitamins and minerals, homeopathic remedies, bioidentical hormones, nutritional IVs and other natural therapies – to restore health.
Naturopathic doctors can serve as your primary care doctor, or in conjunction with your medical doctor, osteopathic doctor, acupuncturist or chiropractor. A naturopathic doctor can be of help and offer expertise, whether you are seeking insight about your general wellness or you are already chronically ill. Talk to a naturopathic doctor to find out how naturopathic medicine treatments can help you.