Natural vs. Conventional Medicine
There is always a tendency is to want to see things in black and white terms. Either you’re a Democrat, or you’re a Republican. You’re an introvert or you’re an extrovert. You like chocolate or you like vanilla.
Doing this can make life a lot easier. After all, if you know you like chocolate you won’t have to waste as much time distressing over the composition of your next ice-cream cone. But this either-or worldview can also be very limiting. If you look closely, you start to notice that life can’t actually be divided so neatly. In reality, there is a lot more grey than brilliant white or midnight black.
Unfortunately, People Tend to Fall into Two Camps When it Comes to Medicine as Well
Either they think Western medicine has all the answers and natural healthcare is a bunch of hocus-pocus, or they think traditional/natural/alternative treatments are the only way to go, and Western medicine is toxic.
But the truth is, it should never be an either-or situation. In fact, your long-term health will be better if you work with a team of practitioners who have a variety of expertise, in both natural and conventional treatment modalities.
There Is a Time and a Place for Both
By honing in on how the individual pieces of the human body work, Western medicine now encompasses what was science-fiction just 50 years ago. Drugs have been developed that can pinpoint a molecule and affect how it reacts in the body. Organs can be transplanted. Lifespans have doubled. These accomplishments are nothing short of miraculous.
Natural medicine has it’s own list of miracles, but it’s worldview is based on a vocabulary that sees the bigger picture. Rather than investigating the individual building-blocks of the human body, traditions like Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, and western herbalism are more apt to look at the web that is the whole human.
From this whole-istic standpoint it is easier to understand why a digestive issue might be causing depression, or how a lung imbalance is related to a persistent skin rash. Because of its big-picture perspective, this approach lends itself to finding equilibrium within every aspect of the person. This is in contrast to Western medicine, where the imbalances are seen as issues that need to be removed.
Sometimes the body is not strong enough, and will have a much easier time healing if the issue is removed, as is the case with tumors or critically failing organs. In these extreme cases, Western medicine is undoubtedly a smart choice, but it doesn’t have to be the only choice.
They Can Work Together
When undergoing extreme treatments, like surgery or chemotherapy, the wisest choice of all would be to use a natural treatment alongside the conventional treatment. Natural modalities are especially good at tapping into the innate healing potential we all carry, and provide the tools we need to better navigate life’s complexities.
In today’s culture, people are too quick to look for an easy solution, to remove the impediment with some drug and ignore the imbalances that brought those symptoms out in the first place. For example, taking an ibuprofen when you have an occasional headache is not necessarily a bad idea, but needing one every day should be a red-flag that something needs to change. Getting blood moving with exercise, making organs function better with good nutrition and herbs, and calming the mind with meditative practices are all necessary components of living a healthy life and preventing imbalances that can cause things like chronic headaches.
All too often, conventional medicine cannot offer a better solution than pain-killers. On the other hand, it’s always a good idea to get things checked out by a medical doctor. When there’s an extreme health scare it would be irresponsible to ignore the immense medical advances science has provided to us, and it’s a good idea to get a regular check-up to see what’s happening with your internal chemistry.
When something big does come up, you don’t have to between conventional and alternative treatments. Do your research, take preventative measures, and talk to many practitioners, experts in different healthcare modalities, to find the treatment combination that works best for you.
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