Different Approaches to Medicine

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Your health is important to you. You get your regular check ups, try to eat healthy and are physically active.Doctors
However, do you know that being healthy is more than the absence of disease? It’s about being proactive to protect your physical, mental and emotional well-being. It is a continual work in progress. It’s important to be constantly trying to educate yourself on the newest developments in medicine. The best way to stay healthy is to keep your healthcare toolbox fully stocked.

However, sometimes despite your best efforts you get injured or sick. Trying to find treatment when you’re not feeling well can be very frustrating. These days there seem to be hundreds of different types of treatments for every ailment. People tend to have very polarizing views on medicine. Some people desire the scientific evidence of biomedicine while others view Western medicine as “toxic” and prefer a non-conventional approach. However, do you actually know what the different types of healthcare are and which might best suit you? We have compiled a list of the various medicines and what is included. Whether you believe in prescriptions, acupuncture, energy fields or specific nutrition to keep you healthy it is important to be well educated on all of the options available to you. Our goal is not to guide your decisions but to educate you on all of your options. It is important to understand your own values to be able to make the best decision for you.

 

Conventional Medicine

A style of treatment in which doctors prescribe drugs, radiation or surgery to alleviate symptoms, disease or injury. It is also referred to as allopathic, Western or orthodox medicine. This practice is almost always backed up by scientific evidence. Professionals in this field are highly regulated and hold a degree specializing in their field. As science evolves there are times when an alternative or complementary form of medicine become a part of conventional medicine. For example, omega 3,6,9 or vitamin D supplementation.

 

Complementary Medicine

A non-conventional type of medicine used in conjunction with conventional medicine. This is the most common type of non-conventional medicine. For instance, you may go to a physiotherapist after surgery to aide in your rehabilitation. Seeing a therapist can help you through a rough time in your life to ensure you are also mentally healthy. Taking a dietary supplement such as a pro-biotic or multivitamin is also a type of complementary medicine as they are designed to assist in your bodies digestion and absorption of nutrients.

 

Alternative Medicine

A non-conventional type of medicine used in lieu of conventional medicine. True alternative medicine is rare. It is defined as healing practices not proven by science. There are many therapies, procedures and products on the market with a wide range in credibility. They range from being biomedically plausible to actually being directly contraindicated by evidence or even harmful. Examples of alternative medicine are traditional Chinese medicine, faith healing, energy medicine, naturopathy and homeopathy.

 

Integrative/Holistic Medicine

This is the combination of the different approaches. It is thought to ensure a balance of body, mind and spiritual health. It is a relatively new method that is gaining popularity quickly across North America. For example, there has been a big push in recent years for cancer patients and survivors to integrate yoga, meditation, physical activity and nutrition with their chemotherapy or radiation.

 

One should be extremely cautious when trying multiple practices as certain therapies can actually inhibit the effects of conventional medicine. Please speak to your doctor before trying complementary or alternative forms of medicine. As always, educate yourself on the benefits and risks on everything to do with your body. You only get one body so take care of it.

 

 

 

Resources:
https://nccih.nih.gov/health/integrative-health
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_medicine#Holistic_health_and_mind_body_medicine
http://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms?cdrid=449752
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=33527

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