More and more the masses are turning to a less invasive and more preventative form of healthcare. Chronic illness is the leading cause of death in the United States. The third leading cause of death is medical error. Therefore, it may be a good time to ask: Is today’s healthcare system truly healing us? The definition of health (the state of being free of illness or injury) may beg to differ. In fact,many people coming out of the healthcare systemaresicker than ever before. Let’s take a closer look at the many differences between Holistic (Naturopathic or Alternative)and Western Medicine.
Holism & Reductionism
WesternMedicine tends to follow a reductionist approach. This entails targeting patient symptoms directly with the organs affected. When a patient complains of a particular symptom such as itchy skin, their doctor may refer them to a dermatologist. This is very limiting because the Integumentary System is directly related to ten other bodily systems. Consequently, if the skin is expressing symptoms such as a rash or itching, the root cause may be related to something entirely different. When the patient walks into the dermatologist office and goes through an evaluation they may get lucky and have some allergy testing, but most likely they will be given a pharmaceutical cream to put on their skin. This treats symptoms, but does not cure the root problem.
Holistic medicine follows an approach called holism. This method involves each bodily system being intimately connected and so if one system is malfunctioning, the doctor will take into account every other aspect of the person to form a treatment plan. If the same person with skin itching walks into a naturopathic doctor’s(NP) office looking to find relief they will experience something much different. In order to cure the root cause of the patient’s problem, the NP doctor may run blood work to look at liver function, hormone levels, as well as assessing the clients diet and sleep habits. The goal in alternative medicine is always to find the root cause of disease instead of just treating symptoms with medication.
We have all shown up on time or even early to a doctor’s appointment only to sit in a waiting room for what seems like eternity. The nursecalls our name and thenhas us step on the scale and takes our blood pressure. The nurse then asks why we are there, what symptoms we may have and then she leavesus to wait again. When the doctor comes in, they may spend twenty minutes diagnosing us, write a prescription and send uson our way…sometimes up to two hours later.
Naturopathicmedicine is a much different experience because prevention is their primary focus. Be prepared to spend less time in the waiting room and more time with the doctor. A naturopathic doctor will spend time reviewingtheclient’s genetic, metabolic and hormonal abnormalities in order to treat the root cause of disease and promote good health in the future. Although holistic practitioners can prescribe antibiotics and medicine when necessary, they prefer to start with natural cures tailored to the individual before turning to pharmaceutical drugs. In Naturopathic medicine they really strive to keep you and your family as healthy as possible by following an ultra-preventative care model.
If you are among the elderly or have young children, be prepared for the vaccine talk. For the elderly,they may try to push a flu and pneumonia vaccine on you and if you are a parent you can be fired from your pediatrician if you refuse to vaccinate your baby according to the CDC schedule. Not onlywill you be fired, you will be shamed and treated as if you are uneducated or crazy for having any concerns on the currentvaccine schedule. There are no discussions of contraindication when it comes to getting vaccinated. Every medication has risks, especially vaccines, yet there is never any conversation on theserisksor their side effects. A baby born in 2020will receive 64 vaccines (20 in their first year of life) by the time they are 18 if they follow the recommended schedule. Prior to 1986, a child would receive 6-10 vaccines by the time they turned 18. Parents have a right to ask questions and be concerned, especially since chronic illness prior to 1986 was a mere 11% as opposed to 54% in today’s children. For this reason, some parents are questioning if a week’s worth of chicken pox is a better option than the possibility of a lifelong chronic illness.
If you ask your doctor about the ingredients in vaccines, they probably won’t be able to tell you. Vaccines do contain neurotoxinssuch as aluminumandmercury. Your doctor may say that vaccines are perfectly safe, although there has never beenany long-term safety study on vaccines. Merck was sued for falsifying data on the effectiveness of the mumps vaccine and the CDC recently concededin court because they had no studies proving that vaccines do not cause autism.
Furthermore, vaccines can cause cytokine storms to happen in the brain of young children and babies, which can cause SIDS. Again, there has never been a study saying this doesn’t happen. It is indisputable that vaccination can help prevent certain illnesses; however, serious side effects have been linked to the process of vaccination. The decision to vaccinate is extremely difficult and complicated because adequate research has never been completed on the safety or long-term side effects of vaccines.
Choosing a naturopathic pediatrician for vaccine services and counseling can eliminate fears and put you back into control of your health. If you do choose to vaccinate, naturopathic physicians will help to create a plan that will help to minimize adverse effects of vaccination. Lastly, holistic providers usually include supplements before and after vaccination to help the body rid itself of neurotoxins.
Homeoprophylaxis (HP), the use of highly diluted substances for the purpose of educating the immune system, may be a safer way to acquire immunity and is also offered at certain offices. HP orally introduces homeopathic versions of disease to the body in order to naturally stimulate the immune system and has been shown to be over 90% effective.
Saying No to PharmaceuticalDrugs
More often than not, doctors prescribe pills for all that ills us. But, has there ever been a pill that has “cured” anyone? Antibiotics have cured infections, but not without insult to the gut which can make us even more susceptible to other infections. The questions we need to ask is: Are human beings facing more chronic illness than ever before because they have a pharmaceutical deficiency in their body? Of course not because the cure is in prevention and it’s mostly within our control. It’s misleading to believe that NP physicians are against all medications. This is simply not true. They will prescribe antibiotics if necessary, but it’s definitely not the first line of defense. If a patient does not see improvement or symptoms worsen, a NP will likelyadminister antibiotics.
The truth is,food and exercise can reverse and cure many illnesses including cancer. A NP physician is more likely to prescribe acupuncture, massage, cupping and natural anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric for pain. Light therapy for depression and meditation for anxiety is now becoming more popular than psychotropic drugs. Many individuals are diagnosed with IBS, which may be an overgrowth of yeast or a parasitic infection, something many doctors won’t discuss. Additionally, we all know someone on cholesterol medication, which may be a congested liver or caused by poor quality calcium supplements and can be healed naturally without the use of medication.
More and more individuals are beginning to the question the medical community and their ties to the pharmaceutical companies. We would think insurance companies would want us to have optimal health and cover services that aim to support this. This makes healthy living less affordable to many families, which is the one downfall of integrative care. Luckily, many NP physicians do offer lower rates to those who qualify. It is becoming more evident that investinga littlemore money on quality food, supplements and exercise programs isa lot more cost effective than the treatment aftera cancer diagnosis or heart disease. Living a life of wellbeing shouldn’t be a luxury. Everyone deserves to thrive and as more of us turn to alternative caregivers for chronic health issues, the more we can come together to change this trend.
Carrie is a full-time working mother who spent five years struggling with infertility and miscarriages. Through research and lifestyle changes, she was able to put an end to frustrating doctor’s visits and expensive pharmaceutical drugs that worsened her condition. At forty, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Although she was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression and OCD she continues to treat her symptoms through nutrition, exercise, CBT, Yoga and meditation. She is currently studying at Nutrition Therapy Institute and devotes her time to helping women take back their health and heal their bodies on their own terms.