Conventional medicine vs. naturopathy: Keeping your car in tip top shape.
You’re wondering what fixing a car has to do with conventional medicine versus naturopathic medicine. But, it’s one way to explain it easily, since the way doctors in each discipline approach a medical issue may vary, the ultimate goal: to create wellness, is the same.
So, bear with me when I use this analogy.
Imagine your body is a car, your favorite car. The health of your body is equal to the integrity of the car. If you don’t perform regular maintenance, things may start to happen. So, one day you see that there is a clunky noise from under the hood. You hear it every time you go above 50 miles per hour. The noise is a symptom of something going on.
How this problem is approached is the key difference between conventional medicine and naturopathic medicine. Conventional medicine would look at the sound the car is making, and try to measure its pitch. Does it make a high pitch noise, or a low pitch sound? Once that’s determined, they will label the problem as “high pitch noise” disease.
They would identify the symptom itself — the sound the car makes — as being the disease, and they would try to figure out which chemical would take care of it. In this case, the car may be given so many doses of WD-40 to be used three times a day. That should stop the noise. But do you see what’s happening? They are treating the symptom – the sound the car makes. And not the true cause. Which could be an important part in the engine not working correctly, or breaking down. To a conventional physician, the problem is the sound. And they’re response may be to aggressively treat the noise. And it you continue to treat the noise and not the reason for the noise, you can have a major breakdown, and usually on a busy thoroughfare.
In contrast to that, a naturopathic approach will do a bit more investigation. A naturopath would use the car noise as a clue, but then ask: what could be the real reason for the noise? The naturopathic physician would get under the hood, have someone race the car’s engine, to see what is making the noise. A belt may be showing wear and tear. And on closer examination, it appears that as the car’s engine races, the belt is forced to rotate faster, thus the high pitched sound. After this examination, the naturopathic physician would order a new belt, then change it, and the noise would stop, but more importantly, the source of the noise has been addressed and repaired.
Treat the problem, not the symptom
Naturopaths aren’t treating the noise — the symptom — and this confuses conventional medicine to a great degree. They don’t understand how someone can treat cancer without addressing the tumor itself. Conventional physicians believe the symptom IS the disease. Naturopathic medicine sees the cancer tumor as only one symptom of a much deeper problem.
Just like the noise from under the car hood is only a symptom of a worn engine belt, a cancer tumor is only a symptom of a serious underlying metabolic problem.
The naturopathic doctor addresses the problem, but doesn’t stop there. They also realize that if one belt is going, there may be other areas that need looked at. The whole car would get a look-over to see what could be prevented now, and save another potential breakdown from occurring. In other words, they would look at it from a holistic perspective and work to not only solve today’s problems, but also prevent the development of other related degenerative problems.
Conventional doctors are very creative at coming up with various phrases in their diagnosis, and prescribe what seems to be a never-ending chain of medications to mask the symptoms. If the noise was a screeching sound, the diagnosis may be “screechitis,” or if it happened only in the rain, they may call it “raining disease.” Even though all these problems have the same common cause (the worn belt), conventional medicine would come up with a multitude of names, and accompanying treatment plans. All the while, dismissing the underlying cause.
Naturopathic doctors listen to the persons symptoms, but may not jump on treating them. Sometimes they may appear to be ignoring the symptoms entirely. Yet, what they are doing is looking beyond them to find the root cause of the complaint.
On a visit to a naturopathic doctor, he or she will listen to the client’s complaints, but will investigate what may be causing the symptoms. Could it be exposure to toxic chemicals? Patients are asked about their stress in their lives, and are asked about how their relationships are going? Are they healthy? Does the patient exercise, get outside in sunlight, into fresh air, drinks water? These are simple factors, but if any of these areas are out of balance, are deficient, or are excessive, they can create a biochemical problem that conventional medicine labels as disease. So, while most diseases derive from three basic causes, they can be combined in thousands of ways, and conventional medicine has been able to come up with a name for each one.
The treatment of disease will be in vain if its focus is solely on the symptom. But treating disease is wasted effort if it remains focused on the symptoms. This fundamental idea — understood in China thousands of years before the rise of modern pharmacology — remains utterly neglected by modern medical science. Unfortunately, today’s medical practitioners cannot grasp that concept, yet have the ability to devise 10,000 different diseases, each requiring specific chemical or surgical treatments.
Let’s take it a step further. Imagine every time you added WD-40 to the noise, a bill was sent to the car owner’s medical insurance? Wouldn’t it be better to simply change the belt? Conventional medicine tends to skip the investigative part in its jump to giving it a diagnosis. Today, it’s all about coming up with a name and a prescription for the symptom, and then, like a vicious circle, the patient returns with symptoms that may have been caused by the original treatment plan.
People should begin to think about their body as a set of moving parts, that needs routine basic maintenance to prevent something like a squeaky belt, or in this case, heart disease. And consider all the various parts, like: nutrition, exercise, the toxic chemicals you come in contact with, avoiding chronic stress, creating good flow and circulation, and work towards a healthy mind and positive emotional state. These things go hand in hand to create a healthy body and mind.
Interested in talking more about naturopathy. Contact Dr. Robert today by calling 201.618.3534.
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