It is not my intention to start a debate over the issue of what kind of health care should be allowed. There are already too many going on right now. Instead, I will simply describe each type, so that you can make an informed decision about the type of health care you want.
The debate started in the mid 19th century. At that time, holistic medicine (also known as Naturopathy), especially homeopathy, was the dominate form of health care. But the American Civil War convinced allopathic (traditional, or Western Medicine) practitioners that there was a lot of money to be made in amputations, surgery, and the ability to create a steady stream of customers by creating addicts with Laudanum and Morphine. And, there were a few unscrupulous holistic would-be practitioners pedaling useless snake oil. But most people quickly caught on to this, so it wasn’t as big a problem as is commonly believed. Laudanum and Morphine were much bigger problems. At any rate, at some point, a group of allopathic physicians got together and formed the American Medical Association, with the intent of driving naturopaths out of the business through lobbying for regulations and legislation. They were largely successful, and only recently has there been a resurgence of interest in holistic health, now refereed to as ‘Alternative’, or ‘Complimentary’ health care.
Allopathic Health care is what most people in the west are familiar with. It focuses mainly on symptoms, and basically offers only three types of treatments – surgery, drugs, or advice. They can also do a few other things like set broken bones, but it is rare that that will be done without giving you a prescription for pain-killers, and muscle relaxants. Drug companies represent a large part of Allopathic Health Care’s Money. The Insurance companies control the rest. Regardless of what type of treatment you receive, it will come at a premium, either in the form of hefty insurance premiums, or a bill that will make you faint. On the plus side, allopathic health care can work miracles in some instances, such as heart transplants, and other serious health conditions. On the minus side, allopathic physicians mainly just treat symptoms without addressing the possible underlying causes. The allopathic philosophy is that a person is simply a collection of organs, tissues and fluids that can be manipulated through surgery and/or chemicals.
Holistic health care does not use surgery, or, with the exception of acupuncture, any other invasive techniques. Holistic health care focuses on the whole individual, and looks at such issues such as lifestyle, emotional considerations, spiritual issues, as well as the physical symptoms. They use gentle tissue manipulation, herbs, and naturally-occurring compounds to treat the entire person. While many drugs are synthesized from herbs and such, the natural forms have other components to them that act as safety buffers from bad reactions. This is why drugs have side-effects, whereas the risk of any adverse reactions for herbs and such, is very minimal. Naturopathy covers a wide range of treatments to choose from, from simple massage, to deep spiritual and energy work, and everything in-between. The philosophy behind naturopathy is that illness and injuries effect the entire person, not just a few parts. They also believe that it is natural for you to be healthy. When the reasons for your maladies are removed, your body will automatically return to a healthy state on it’s own. Naturopathic health care is a fraction of what allopathic treatments cost. Here is an example of the difference, with two compounds that do the same thing, and in fact, have the same active ingredient. Let’s use Valerian Root, and it’s Allopathic derivative, Valium. A 90-day supply of Valerian Root will cost you around $12.00, with minimal, if any risk of adverse side-effects, and no record of anyone ever dying as a direct result of its use.. A 90-day supply of Valium will run you, or your insurance company, a whopping $325.00, is extremely addictive, with the risk of serious adverse reactions such as stroke and heart failure, and kills thousands of people each year.
The really good news is that you don’t have to pick one or the other. You can freely use both, and decide for yourself which you prefer. A little common-sense goes a long way. If I have an accident and cut my hand off, I do not want a cup of herbal tea. Take me, and my hand, to the ER as fast as possible. On the other hand, if I have arthritis, and nothing the doctors are doing helps (it usually doesn’t…), then it may be the right time to look into some other types of treatment.
By doing proper research, you can decide for yourself which type of treatment is most suitable for you.