Conventional Allopathic vs. “Alternative” Holistic Healthcare
It irks me to no end when conventional (allopathic) healthcare providers dismiss traditional therapies. By attaching the title “alternative” to describe where they fit into the healthcare spectrum. Alternative to what? The word implies that conventional medicine is the gold standard and traditional therapies run second, third or last. This is the attitude that says, “OK we’ll let it slide because so many people use them but we don’t really believe they work.” Traditional approaches to restoring and maintaining health predate conventional medicine by thousands of years.
Where did the traditional approach originate?
The vitalist healing doctrine “man assists, but nature heals” oozes the philosophies of Hippocrates, Aristotle and most physicians and healers up to the rise of confidence and the scientific method. It comes from the notion that life exists as the result of an heavenly force. Which animates the otherwise inanimate material world. “There is some feature,” reports S. Blackburn in the Oxford History of Philosophy, “of living bodies that prevents their nature being entirely explained in physical or chemical terms. This feature may be the presence of a further ‘thing’ (such as a soul), but it may also be simply the emergence of special relations or principles of organization arising from the complexity of the biological organism.”
What came of their philosophies?
Fortunately, Hippocrates’ original philosophy is alive and well, in a more mature form, in the practice of naturopathic, functional medicine.
This healing discipline embraces the best that science has amassed from its pokings and pressings into the microscopic world of human anatomy and physiology. But while maintaining a larger view of the human as a living system.
Hippocrates’ discomfort with the prevailing belief of his day, that supernatural possession causes disease, made him a firm part of the natural cause of disease states. He was most comfortable with the notion that within man resides an innate healing capacity. This he observed and explored to promote in his method and system of disease prevention and cure.
Hippocrates is considered the father of western medicine; his view has informed the practices of physicians for over two thousand years and still informs the philosophies of most healing systems of our day, with the exception of modern western medicine, the main driving force behind the conventional model.
Thoughts on conventional medicine:
Practiced in its current form, conventional medicine remains in its infancy. This is compared to more traditional approaches: It’s hundreds of years, rather than thousands of years, in the making. Its political power in the healthcare industry is therefore somewhat hard to understand. Yet its philosophy of practice (or lack thereof) holds sway.
We must put the conventional model in its proper place as one modality along a continuum of modalities. Thus removing it from its position as the one and only way to a cure. It should be apart of a model that is inclusive of all therapies. Then and only then will what some call “alternative” medicine once again take its rightful place in the house of healthcare modalities. Which support health and render a true cure.
By:Alison Hazelbaker, Ph.D., IBCLC, FILCA, C.S.T., RCST
Compliments of ICPA member: Dr. Gary Barone
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