Naturopathy: Why Fight It if It Works for Some?
Not long ago, I published a blog post entitled ‘No Need for War between Naturopathic and Allopathic Medicine’. In that post, I addressed the ongoing contention between naturopathic and allopathic medicine; contention that is not only unhealthy for patients but also completely unnecessary. I want to follow-up in this post by addressing what seems to be a logical question: why fight against naturopathy if it works for some patients?
I see all kinds of patients in my office every day. Some come to me after having attempted –to no avail – to address an ongoing medical issue via allopathic medicine. Others come to see me without any history of allopathic treatment. It matters not to me either way. My regular patients visit my office because the care and treatments they receive work for them.
I will be the first to admit that naturopathy does not work in every case. But I have also been practicing medicine long enough to know that allopathic treatment doesn’t work in every case either. What we should all be focusing on is what works best for the individual patient.
Determining the Best Possible Outcome
The whole point of practicing any kind of medicine is to create the best possible outcome for the patient. It is the same goal regardless of whether you are dealing with allopathic, naturopathic, Eastern, or any other kind of medicine. Where we doctors run into trouble is in determining what constitutes the best possible outcome.
We doctors have a bad habit of acting as though our training and experience make us the most qualified to determine the definition of the best possible outcome for patients. But that thinking is, quite simply, incorrect. It is the patient who has the sole right to decide what the best possible outcome looks like.
For example, numerous doctors may see the same patient suffering from chronic pain over several years. One doctor may determine that the best possible outcome is to alleviate that pain using prescription medications. Another doctor may believe the best possible outcome involves addressing the cause of the chronic pain through surgery or other invasive means. Still another doctor may think natural remedies will produce the best possible outcome.
But what about the patient? If the patient decides he or she cannot cope with the pain and wants prescription medications to alleviate it, that is the patient’s prerogative. Likewise, the patient might also choose not to take prescription medications and simply live with the pain until a more thorough investigation can reveal and treat the underlying cause. Ultimately, the best possible outcome should always be determined by the patient.
Naturopathy Is a Valid Choice
When patients are allowed to choose what they believe is the best possible outcome for their circumstances, naturopathy becomes a valid option. And so it should be. Naturopathy is similar to allopathic medicine in some ways while being unique in others. The mere fact that the naturopathic approach deviates from allopathic medicine in a few areas does not invalidate it as a legitimate and effective means of practicing medicine.
At the end of the day, naturopathy works for a lot of patients looking for a different way to restore good health. We should be embracing it as another alternative rather than fighting against it under the false assumption that allopathic medicine is the only form of medicine with all the answers. No form of medicine is perfect. Therefore, patients need as many choices as possible.