Getting sick is costly. It forces you to spend money in a sudden instance. Expenditures such as buying a car or house and paying for your child’s education are often planned and budgeted. Illness, on the other hand, comes like a masked thief who steals away, not just your wellness, but your hard earned savings too. Because of this reality, the wise quote from Benjamin Franklin rings so true…

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

This is when preventive healthcare comes in handy. Preventive medicine or proactive healthcare is defined as the healthcare in which the medical practitioner, with the cooperation of the patient, initiates the effort to prevent illness through treatments, dietary advices, and recommendations about lifestyle changes the patient has to practice. Naturopathic doctors belong to this modality of medicine and healthcare. They are the physicians whose primary care of concern is to prevent disease, manage health and wellness to optimal levels, and for cases of chronic diseases to provide them with therapy and strategy that will help them live life to the fullest.


This certainly does not mean that preventive healthcare undermines the role of reactive medicine. When a patient seeks a consultation with a general practitioner because he or she is sick or feels the symptoms of an illness, then whatever diagnosis, treatment, and prescription the physician will provide belongs to the realm of reactive medicine, as the patient and the doctor only reacted to the onslaught of the sickness and its symptoms.

Another yet very important aspect of reactive medicine is when a person experiences an injury or an emergency that can have extreme outcomes to the patient’s life and mobility. Cases of poisonings, vehicle mishaps, strokes, heart attacks, accidents and incidents that directly harm and damage the patient’s body can be life threatening and can leave debilitating consequences – these are situations when reactive medicine finds itself irreplaceable.

When Proactive Healthcare and Reactive Medicine Coincide

There are many cases in which both proactive healthcare and reactive medicine work in cahoots with each other. Conditions such as diabetes, chronic asthma, hypertension, and cancer are when naturopathic doctors and mainstream medical practitioners can provide care and treatment to, without kicking each other out.

Reactive medicine attempts to reduce the symptoms of the conditions such as pain and immobility. On the other hand, proactive healthcare aims to prevent or slow down physical deterioration, hinder the onslaught of other symptoms, provide psycho-emotional encouragement, and assist the patient in practising a lifestyle that will allow him or her to live life to the optimum.



Griffiths, J. (March/April 2014) “Health care cost savings – Proactive prevention or reactive treatment.” Council for Responsible Nutrition. Retrieved from

Gillies, J. CM, Baird A.G., and Gillies, E.M. “Balancing proactive and reactive care.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved from

Chen, A. ND “What You Ought to Know About Naturopathic Doctors.” Naturopathic Doctor Development Center. Retrieved from

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