If you are one of those who believe that naturopathy is plain quackery, then prepare to be surprised and enlightened by this article. It is unfortunate that some people see naturopathy as an unruly kind of science, and yet it is no fiction that many medical doctors and general practitioners are synergising with naturopathic doctors in their mission to help patients recover from disorders and return to their normal health.
The thing here is this, naturopathic science is not a standalone modality. It is medical modality that combines the knowledge of modern Western medicine and the wisdom of traditional Eastern medicine, which uses the principles of nature and holistic healing. Naturopathy is anchored on the fact the our bodies have the natural capability to heal itself, and so it aims not to suppress the symptoms of disorders but to assist and boost the healing process of the body holistically.
Just like general practitioners, naturopathic doctors will have to take a look at the patient’s medical history, lifestyle, and symptoms before performing the necessary treatments. They may even resort to the utilisation of modern medical technology and equipment to further assess the patient’s condition; this may include (but will not be limited to) blood tests, imaging tests, and other applicable physical examinations. This just goes to prove that naturopathic medicine is not bereft of scientific tools nor is close-minded to logical medical technology.
The Realms of Reactive and Preventive Medicine
Another sad reality patients have to deal with are the prevalence of hearsay belief that mainstream general medicine goes against what naturopathic medicine preaches. Thus, a wrestling match between reactive medicine versus preventive medicine exists in the imaginative minds of some people. This should not be the case.
General medical practitioners, since they are mostly consulted when patients are in need of treatment and relief from an already existing condition, are branded as specialists of reactive medicine. Also, the giving of medications and providing advice with the aim of relieving the patient of pain and helping him/her recover from an illness is assumed and perceived to be the focus of the modality.
Meanwhile, naturopathic medicine with its tenets on natural therapy and holistic treatment aims, not only to alleviate the patient from pain and other symptoms, but to prevent disease and maintain good health, is seen to be the preventive kind of medicine. The thing is, general practitioners have been trained to provide advice on how to maintain wellness through good diet and a healthy lifestyle, which is actually what naturopathic doctors are advising their patients.
Another concept about reactive medicine is that treatments which are urgently needed for “emergency” or life-threatening cases (such as poisonings, heart attacks, or injuries from mishaps) are indeed viewed as reactionary yet life-saving. We cannot deny mainstream medicine has these cases as its speciality.
Cooperation Between General Practitioners and Naturopathic Doctors
When it comes to the prevention of illness, management of chronic disorders, and guidance for a life of optimum health and wellness, then you have naturopathy as the medical modality you can depend on. Such speciality goes unequivocally in cahoots with what mainstream general practitioners desire for their patients.
The skills and knowledge of naturopathic doctors supplement what mainstream medical specialists lack. Say for example, the latter prescribed a medication that has inevitable side-effects to the patient. Albeit the medication is effective, its side-effects may not be tolerable for the patient, especially if it is taken in succession – this is where the expertise of naturopathic doctors can come in handy.
The perceived enmity between general mainstream medicine and naturopathy have long been lingering. Reactive healthcare should not any more stamp down on the empowering discipline of naturopathy. We live in an era when both immediate relief from painful conditions and long-term prevention of disorders are demanded upon. There should be no argument, therefore, that naturopathy and mainstream medicine can both exist in support of each other.
Dr. Chen, A. “If your Naturopath is not licensed from an accredited school, you are not seeing a Naturopathic Doctor.” Naturopathic Doctor Development Center. Retrieved from www.thenddc.com
Image of Villager Consulting a General Practitioner c/o The U.S. Army (MEDRETE in the Bac Ninh Province of Vietnam.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons