Originally published April 10 2007
Conventional medicine vs. naturopathy: How to fix a leaky roof
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
People often ask me about the difference in philosophy between conventional medicine and naturopathic medicine. While the differences are numerous, some of the more fundamental ones can easily be explained. Imagine your body is a house, and the health of your body is the maintenance of that house. If you don't do regular maintenance on this house, the roof of your house begins to leak and you might notice water dripping into your home every time it rains. The water is a symptom of an underlying problem -- a roof with poor maintenance.
The difference between conventional medicine and naturopathic medicine can be described in the way that health practitioners would perceive this problem and attempt to resolve it. Conventional medicine would look at the water dripping out of the roof and find a way to measure it. So they would have a number, which might be 60 drips per hour, and they might say anything above that (such as 70 drips per hour or 100 drips per hour) is a disease, and they would name that disease something like, "Roofoporosis Disease."
They would identify the symptom itself -- the water -- as being the disease, and they would try to figure out which chemical would take care of it. In this case they might prescribe water absorbing crystals that you would spread around the house to absorb this excess water, completely ignoring the integrity of the roof, as well as the need to actually repair the roof and not allow water to drip through it. If you said to them, "well, maybe we should think about repairing the roof," they would say, "The problem is clearly the water -- you can see the water, here's a measurement of the water." They might even say if you don't aggressively treat this excessive water, you're going to end up flooding your entire house.
In contrast to that, a naturopathic approach involves a little more investigative work. A naturopath would use the dripping water as a clue, but then ask: what is the underlying fundamental cause of this water dripping into the home? The naturopathic physician would trace the water back to the stain in the ceiling, and this stain would indicate that water has been chronically dripping in from a leaky roof. Then, he would trace it through the attic to the roof and find a hole in the roof. After a bit of detective work, he (or she) would decide to patch the hole, repair the roof and stop the leaking water at its source.
Treat the problem, not the symptomNaturopaths aren't treating the water -- the symptom -- and this confuses conventional medicine to a great degree. They don't understand how someone can treat cancer without treating the tumor itself. Because conventional docs think the symptom is the disease or the disorder. But naturopathic medicine sees the cancer tumor as only a symptom of a much deeper problem. Just like the water dripping into the home is only a symptom of a broken roof in need of repair, a cancer tumor is only a symptom of a serious underlying metabolic problem.
The naturopathic physician would fix the cause of the problem, but they wouldn't stop there. They would also realize that if the roof has one hole in it now, it seems likely that there could be other holes that are beginning to form, too. They would look at it from a holistic perspective and work to not only solve today's problems, but also prevent the development of other chronic degenerative problems that share the same cause.
Conventional medicine, having ignored the leaky roof in the first place, would play a game of prescribing a never-ending chain of treatments to mask all the various water disorders, each of which would be given a unique disease name. If water dripped onto your wooden furniture, it would be called something like Furniture Disease, whereas if the same water dripped on your carpet, they might call it Soggy Carpet Disease. No matter what the water dripped on, conventional medicine would have a different name and a different treatment for it. Even though all these problems have the same common cause (the leaky roof), medicine would find a way to turn it into a dozen different diseases and treatment plans, all while completely ignoring the root cause.
Naturopathic physicians and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners, on the other hand, will listen to their patient's symptoms but not necessarily treat those symptoms directly. Sometimes they even appear to ignore the symptoms completely, even though they are in actuality looking beyond them and treating the fundamental causes of the disease. There are really only a few basic causes of all disease. Conventional medicine has over ten thousand names for various diseases, but these are merely symptomatic descriptions. Every single one of them is based on one of the following three causes:
Number one: the body (or the mind) doesn't have something it needs, such as nutrition, oxygen, air, sunlight, love, sleep, etc.
Number two: the body (or mind) has too much of something it can't use or is toxic.
Number three: the body (or mind) doesn't have the proper flow, either energetically or physically. This means it cannot remove metabolic waste products, nourish cells with fresh blood, or neurologically respond to a stimulus.
No matter what symptoms you present at the doctor's office, the naturopathic physician will investigate the root causes of disease: your exposure to toxic chemicals, your levels of chronic stress and the health of your relationships, your level of physical exercise, and your exposure to sunlight, fresh air and fresh water, among other factors. These are simple causative factors, but when they are out of balance, deficient, or present in excess, they combine to create all the different biochemical problems that conventional medicine labels as disease. In other words, these three causes can combine in ten thousand different ways, creating ten thousand different symptoms, and conventional medicine has invented a name for each one.
But treating disease is wasted effort if it remains focused on the symptoms. Preventing disease is sort of like doing basic maintenance on your home; it's something you have to do routinely, something you do preemptively to prevent disease from occurring. And you have to cover all the basics: nutrition, exercise, avoidance of toxic chemicals, avoidance of chronic stress, good flow and circulation, and a healthy mind and emotional state. These things go together to create a healthy body and mind.
This fundamental idea -- which is centuries old and was understood in China thousands of years before the rise of modern pharmacology -- remains utterly neglected by modern medical science. Today's medical practitioners cannot grasp this simple concept, and they still insist that there are more than 10,000 different diseases, each requiring specific chemical or surgical treatments.
It's like running around a leaky house with a pail trying to catch all of the drops of water while billing Medicare for the cost of the pails. It would be better to simply fix the roof. But knowing that the roof is leaking requires some detective work, and conventional medicine has abandoned anything resembling real detective work. Today, it's all about identifying and treating the symptoms, then waiting for the patient to return with more symptoms caused by the treatments used on the first round of symptoms.
Someday, this whole system of modern medicine will be looked upon as quite foolish. Because it doesn't take a genius to figure out that fixing the leaky roof is the best way to prevent water from dripping into your home.
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