As medical systems, allopathy and naturopathy have opposing principles and use very different approaches. Just like you can’t be both a liberal and a conservative due to the conflicting standpoints, you similarly cannot subscribe to the principles of both allopathy and naturopathy. The core of your beliefs will place you in one camp or the other.
Conventional or allopathic medicine is the dominant medical model that most of us will be familiar with both in human and animal care. Conventional medicine primarily relies on pharmacological drugs and surgery to suppress symptoms that manifest from disease processes.
The basic principle of allopathy is to oppose the symptom or disease. "The term 'allopathy' was invented by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, he joined the words allos 'opposite' and pathos 'suffering' as a reference to harsh medical practices of his era which included bleeding, purging, vomiting and the administration of highly toxic drugs. The treatment of opposites simply means finding the symptom, for example incessant itching, then drugs are used to disrupt the disease process that is resulting in the itching. The original cause of the itching has not been addressed, but the symptom has been suppressed, offering symptomatic relief to the animal.
Reductionism is at the heart of conventional medicine. Only the part of the body that is expressing symptoms will receive attention and treatment. This is why we have a medical system full of “specialists.” It is the viewpoint of allopathy that a malfunctioning brain, for example, will best be treated by a Neurologist. No other aspects of the body, mind or spirit are considered as having any connection to the local symptoms.
The allopathic reductionist philosophy can also be seen in the approach to research. With powerful microscopes and sophisticated tests, scientists explore increasingly smaller parts of the organism; the cell, cell membrane, nucleus, mitochondria, DNA etc. The presumption is that if you know how the physical parts work, you'll be able to manipulate them.
In naturopathy, the patient is assessed as a whole, with all the separate parts and aspects viewed as being intimately interconnected. In this model, life is directed by harmonious energy and disease is viewed as an imbalance of this energy. Since disease is a disturbance of energy, you are not going to find it by looking through a microscope or doing a blood test. What you will find are the effects of disease, the symptoms and signs. Epilepsy, cancer, or cardiomyopathy are a reflection and a result of dis-ease.
Naturopathy assumes that the organism has a vital force and inherent intelligence, allowing it to actively heal itself when conditions are conducive to healing. Therefore the focus is not on any type of remedy (which can’t actually make the person or animal get well) rather, the methods focus on tools that evoke a healing response. The goal is to nurture the innate healing functions that are present in the patient.
Allopathic medicine treats disease at the physical, chemical level. When viewing the body as a machine, as a collection of parts, healing (according to allopathy) must be accomplished from outside the body. You have to make the body get better. This leads to aggressive treatments with powerful and toxic drugs and surgery in an effort to force the body to change its expressions. It is also concluded that the body cannot fully defend itself against viruses, that it needs assistance by way of vaccination for example to prevent contacting a virus.
When faced with infection, the outcome is determined by the interaction of a persons or animals immune system with the infecting organism. A naturopathic practitioner tends to use methods designed to enhance the immune system, enabling it to deal with the infection. While the allopathic doctor chooses to use treatments designed to attack and kill the infecting organism.
The focus for a naturopath is to look at addressing the cause and remove any interference's to the body’s ability to get back in balance. In contrast, the allopath is focused on suppressing, removing or altering the symptoms through the use of drugs and surgery.
I absolutely identify with the model of Naturopathy.
I believe that the cause of any symptoms must always be addressed if health is to be restored. As I see it, an animal that has to be on an anti-itch drug so it doesn’t scratch itself raw is not healthy. It has an imbalance that is not being considered or corrected. Also, the side effects of drugs are very damaging to health and in long long with further impact health negatively.
If I cut myself I don’t need anything outside of me to heal that cut. My body heals the cut, as long as it has optimal conditions, my innate healing functions can automatically go to work.
So which model do your beliefs take you towards?
Want to learn more about Animal Naturopathy?
Check out the new Group 'Naturopathy for Dogs' on Facebook.
Author - Jennifer Lee
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