Naturopathic vs Allopathic Medicine
Our body’s are an amazing network of complex systems that work in harmony with each other. But sometimes they stop working as well as they should and need some help to get back to normal. It's not always easy to know where to go for help to keep yourself in the best health, heal yourself or treat a disease and the first decision for many is whether to call the GP or seek out some sort of naturopath, or alternative therapist. In this blog we want to lay out the difference between the two types of medicinal treatment and some of their benefits and discuss why we think it shouldn't be a matter of Naturopathic vs Allopathic but how the two disciplines should work together and complement each other for better outcomes and a healthier society.
What is Allopathy?
Allopathic medicine is also known as western medicine, conventional/mainstream medicine, it focuses on the disease and then generally treats the symptoms following a consultation with a doctor or medical professional. Treatment is usually based on pharmaceutical drugs, chemotherapy or surgery and often treats specific symptoms rather than the root cause of the disease, for example taking paracetamol for a headache will usually stop the pain but doesn't necessarily fix what caused it in the first place.
What is Naturopathy?
Naturopathic medicine is an overarching term that covers all natural treatment of the body, mind and spirit. The aim of Naturopathy is to help the body prevent disease and treat the underlying causes of disease, as well as the disease itself, in a holistic manner. It covers many disciplines and is also known under the umbrella of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), everything from Herbalism to Yoga, Psychotherapy to Homoeopathy. It often harnesses the power of nature to stimulate and support the body's own systems to prevent disease or heal itself.
Is medicine just for illness?
No. Medicine is anything that helps keep you healthy. As allopathic medicine is now so mainstream in the western world, the term ‘medicine’ makes most people think of a pill or something in a bottle that is prescribed by a doctor or bought from a pharmacist. That’s not the case. Many other things are medicine - food is medicine, exercise is medicine, sleep is medicine, lifestyle is medicine, attitude is medicine and even having a purpose in life is medicine. A thing that makes you jump out of bed enthusiastically in the morning is a powerful force. All these things can positively impact your body and greatly improve its ability to resist disease, potentially negating the need for allopathic medicine.
Naturopathy past and future
The knowledge of naturopathic remedies has been passed on by generations of people, so, if you are lucky, some may have been passed down to you. It can be accessed via a practitioner or a plethora of books or the internet. But this information is now becoming marginalised. Many people scoff at the idea of treating an ailment with herbs, We wonder how this will play out in the future and we encourage you to arm yourself with knowledge and make a point of passing it on. Keep it on your bookshelves where it is safe from any future digital censorship.
Trust your instincts
Naturopathy encourages us to take responsibility for our own health, to listen to our bodies and be tuned to what they need. A naturopath treating a bowel disorder may tell you to cut out inflammatory foods and eat foods that improve bowel health and support good gut health with probiotics. An allopathic doctor may tell you to eat what you like and treat the disease with steroids. We have been conditioned to think we are incapable of looking after ourselves, that doctors know best and if they don't have a pill for something it can't be cured. This is not always the case and we do not think it’s necessarily an attitude that promotes well being in society.
Allopathic or Naturopathic - Which is better for me?
Allopathic and Naturopathic treatments are both important for us to maintain good health. If you are in a car accident and need surgery then you don't want to be offered a massage. For the longer view of your overall health and wellbeing, Naturopathic treatments will enable your body to maintain good health and help it to be less susceptible to disease. It will attempt to find and address the underlying cause of an illness rather than just treat the symptoms. A naturopathic approach also encourages people to look after themselves and not get ill in the first place, whereas an allopathic approach is essential once a disease is acute and it's too late for preventative measures.
At Lyonsleaf we believe the two are complementary, we believe that if we keep ourselves in tip-top health, on the whole, our bodies are able to heal themselves but we realise, sometimes they need a bit of help. We believe allopathic drugs like antibiotics and steroids are lifesaving miracles that we wouldn't want to be without, but that they should be treated with respect, used with caution and reserved for use only when absolutely necessary. Their misuse, over-use and the demonisation of their complementary natural partners serve only to keep a few company bank accounts healthy and not the rest of humanity.