Healing by Prescription or Healing by Nature?

In recent years, the interest in natural and alternative medicines has increased. According to WebMD, Americans are continuing to turn to alternative medicine, with the number nearly doubling between 1990 and 2002. In addition, according to CNN, about a third of us are now using alternative methods to supplement the care we get from our doctors.

Natural versus traditional medicines and healing

When you’re looking into medicines in order to improve your body or just simply feel better, sometimes it can be tough to choose between the natural way to heal or prescription antibiotics. In most cases, it can be beneficial to embrace both options to maintain optimal health.

The body has a natural tendency to heal itself according to science via the concept of homeostasis. Homeostasis is the body’s constant attempts to maintain a stable environment, achieving equilibrium necessary for good health.

It works like this: Maintaining a state of homeostasis means your body is stable and you feel healthier. If homeostasis is disrupted, however, the body takes steps to restore itself, a phenomenon that can be seen when the body’s temperature becomes too high. The body takes natural steps to bring itself back to normal in the form of sweating, a process that is helped by drinking cold water or other cold beverage. If homeostasis cannot be restored adequately, the person’s health may suffer and the body may not be able to function correctly, which could eventually result in disease and illness.

Meanwhile, prescription drugs take another route by essentially doing things for the body rather than letting the body do them for itself. While prescription drugs do work, one of the downsides is that most come with a list of side effects, which are not found nearly as prevalent in natural healing processes. They can also be more expensive, but can also be more effective, depending on the drug and what it’s being used for. This is why it’s important to research both options before ultimately making your decision. In most cases, you can even use both.

Difference between Traditional Practitioners and Natural Therapist

When it comes to medical practitioners, they tend to think of illness as something that attacks the body. They believe the only way to stave off is to kill the attackers. This is accomplished by prescribing antibiotics or even through surgery. This can be effective and useful in many cases, but it has also resulted in a multi billion-dollar ‘disease industry’, where costly medical intervention is preferred to preventing the problem in the first place. In other words, their thought process tends to be “Why cure something when you can make more money off of it?”

Natural therapists on the other hand, consider illness as a challenge that should be met by supporting the body to heal itself, rather than externally intervening to re-establish homeostasis. Basic treatment approaches usually include rest, use of exercise or diet, nutritional supplements, medicinal herbs, or preventative measures like detoxification. In this case, the focus is on maintaining and supporting health, rather than a disease-based approach, leading to ultimately curing — rather than putting a temporary bandage over — the disease.

Naturopathic Medicine Infographic
Image Source: Canadianpharmacymeds