Alternative Medicine - Naturopathic Doctors

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       Alternative Medicine -
         Naturopathic Doctors
The term "alternative medicine" is loosely
used to include any health practitioner who
is not using the conventional or orthodox
approach of drug prescriptions and considers
their methods to be "natural." Yet can
anyone practicing alternative medicine be
considered a practitioner of medicine?
Without a sound knowledge of human
biochemistry, anatomy and physiology, I
don't believe they should be.
The Art of Medicine
What might be the ideal, the highest form of
this art, no matter what terms are used to
describe it, whether it be alternative
medicine, complementary medicine or holistic
medicine?
Ideally the practitioner is knowledgeable
about diseases and their diagnoses. This
means deciphering their client's symptoms in
relation to lab test results.
They must understand how and why health may
slowly succumb to disease. Disease may take
years and even decades to develop and during
this interim the practitioner must witness
their client's tendencies, to know ways of
halting its progression and to assist the
body to return to health once again. This
is preventative medicine and is a very
important component of alternative medicine.
A practitioner must know the reasons why
health declines. These include the
following:

Lack of nutrients including vitamins,
minerals, trace minerals, proteins and fats,
all required for health.
Lack of sufficient exposure to sunshine
leading to vitamin D deficiency which
underlies osteoporosis, some multiple
sclerosis patients, low thyroid hormone
symptoms, and others.
Lack of sleep and adequate rest leading to
nervous exhaustion, adrenal deficiency, and
a host of psychological problems.
Unremitting stress harms the nervous system
and the mind.
Environmental chemicals and toxins are a
burden to the body. They can damage RNA and
DNA, and cause irritation and inflammation.
One category of chemicals termed Endocrine
Disrupting Chemicals interfere with normal
endocrine and thyroid function.
Under-functioning detoxification pathways of
the body.
Heavy metals leading to immunological
dysfunction.
Poor bowel ecology which interferes with
digestion and absorption. Bacteria, fungus
and parasites can also exist.
Allergies, especially to foods, cause a
number of chronic problems.
Silent, chronic infections are found in the
gut, teeth, tonsils and scars. An infection
can exist without either the client or the
physician being aware of it.
Investigation
Alternative medicine is not simply
controlling symptoms through whatever
"natural" methods a practitioner uses.
Our bodies communicate to us through
symptoms. Symptoms can result when the body
isn't getting what it needs (nutrients),
when there's a structural misalignment
(chiropractic or osteopathic), when an
emotion or experience has been suppressed
and not dealt with (psychology), when there
's something in the body that needs to be
removed (bacteria, fungus, etc.) or if
there's a hormonal imbalance (thyroid &
endocrine).
So our body may communicate in it's own
language that something is wrong. "I need
more rest," or, "I need more protein," or,
"I need you to take life less seriously,"
or, "I need a break," or, "I need to do
something I like to do for a change." Some
symptoms are vague like fatigue and
irritability while others are more specific
like headaches and arthritis.
A low grade toothache is a simple example of
what I am referring to. For someone with a
very busy life their approach may be to take
a pain killer hoping the nagging tooth ache
will go away. But eventually they have to
visit their dentist. The options then are to
fill the tooth if the pain is due to decay,
a root canal if the nerve is inflamed or
the tooth is infected, or to simply pull it.
But often no one asks the question why.
"What happened with my tooth? Why did this
problem develop in the first place? What can
I do to prevent another problem with my
teeth?"
The tooth ache could be due to a lack of
minerals, making the tooth susceptible to
decay. Maybe a problem exists in the gut
that inhibits the absorption of minerals
from food. Maybe the system and the saliva
are overly acidic causing some damage to the
enamel of the teeth. Maybe the immune system
is a little run down causing an increased
susceptible to a tooth infection.
Ideally with any symptom or condition we
should be asking why, and then to
investigate the possibilities. Every symptom
and every condition of the human body and
mind have causes and a practitioner of
alternative medicine must be familiar with
this type of investigation.
This investigation includes the following:

A thorough physical examination
A review of their client's medical history
and their family's medical history
Review of their lifestyle, what contributes
to their health and what wears it down
An in-depth review of their condition, the
circumstances around which the condition
appeared and how it progressed
A review of their past and present eating
habits
Their exposure to environmental chemicals
and toxins
A comprehensive lab test panel
If someone considers themselves to be a
practitioner of alternative medicine, they
must be knowledgeable about human
physiology, biochemistry, pathology,
immunology, endocrinology, and psychology or
they must be working as a member of a team
whose purpose is to investigate the causes
of their client's condition and to then
apply therapies or protocols. I might add
that therapies may include pharmacy and that
anyone practicing alternative medicine
should be familiar with the importance and
necessary of sometimes applying a
pharmaceutical.
We understand the shortcomings of
pharmaceuticals in that they counteract
symptoms and do not address the cause yet to
take an alternative stance without the
knowledge of pharmacy is a very narrow and
one-sided perspective.
The practice of medicine must be for the
restoration of the client's health. In
order to accomplish this there must be the
knowledge of why and how the client slipped
from a state of health into one of illness.
The underlying philosophy of medicine is
that the body is able to self-correct and
to return to a state of health if it is
provided the means. This requires that the
practitioner of the art of medicine must
also understands health and what contributes
to health.
Do we treat disease? Yes, but primarily
through supporting health.

				
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posted:9/4/2011
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