Between Conventional Medicine and Complementary and Alternative Medicine
• Focuses on treating symptoms rather than the underlying cause
of illness. This often means suppressing symptoms that are actually
signs of your body attempting to heal itself. For example, a fever
is not a disease itself, it is the body’s way of trying to
destroy unhealthy bacteria or viruses. A cough is the body’s
way of expelling excess mucous. Suppressing these types of symptoms
with drugs interferes with the body’s own healing mechanisms,
and can make things worse.
• Often looks for a single cause for a disease, when there
may in fact be many contributing causes, both physical and emotional.
• Treats single body parts or systems in isolation from other
parts, ignoring the connection between different systems, including
the mind-body connection (the patient is not treated in an holistic
• Uses more invasive treatments, including drugs and surgery.
• Often too little time is spent with the patient, and the
approach of some doctors is clinical.
• Conventional doctors generally have little training in nutrition
and often ignore sound nutritional approaches to the prevention and
treatment of illness.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Natural Therapies)
• Treats a person as a whole (holistic approach), looking
for all factors (physical, psychological, emotional and environmental)
that may be contributing to illness.
• More time is spent with the patient to fully understand the
person as a whole.
• Takes into account the mind-body connection (physical symptoms
can stem from emotional or mental problems, and vice versa).
• Takes into account environmental influences on health, e.g.
toxins in food and personal care products, pollutants in the air
• Strong focus on prevention of illness through healthy
diet, lifestyle and nutritional and herbal supplements.
• Treatments support the body’s own ability to heal itself,
rather than undermining it.
• Treatments are mostly non-invasive.
• More responsibility is placed on the patient to make changes
that promote health and healing.
For advice on how to combine the use of conventional and complementary
and alternative medicine for the best results see How
to Use Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
<< Information and Advice Index