Alternative Doctors: Allopath vs. Homeopath and Naturopath
There are several types of alternative doctors, among which some of the most popular are homeopaths and naturopaths. The general public does not have a clear idea about the differences among these various approaches to medicine, and therefore the purpose of this article is to shed light on these differences among allopaths, homeopaths, and naturopaths.
A doctor practicing Western medicine is typically referred to as an allopath. Allopathic medicine is relatively modern and relies on pharmaceuticals and surgical techniques, as well as other modern practices. In differentiating between modern Western approaches to medicine vs. natural approaches, the term “allopath” designates a doctor using Western practices.
Homeopathy dates back to the early 1800s in Germany and is one of the most popular forms of alternative medicine. Based on the “law of similars,” it promotes the use of medicines that create symptoms similar to the actual symptoms caused by a particular illness.
Homeopathy has an all-encompassing view that one remedy should be able to treat all symptoms of an illness. It believes in the use of very small doses of medicine to treat the threesome of mind, body, and spirit. Homeopathic medicine does also emphasize healthy behaviors such as good nutrition and exercise, but it focuses more on how those behaviors affect one spiritually rather than just physically.
Finally, naturopathic medicine is a type of medicine that has a broader scope. Homeopathy is a type of naturopathic medicine–a subset if you will–but not all naturopathic medicine is homeopathic.
Naturopathic medicine includes any medicine that is natural such as Chinese medicine, acupuncture, nutrition, or manipulation. Usually when one talks about a naturopathic doctor, it is someone who has received a medical education and may even be licensed to perform specific procedures. Someone who has completed an accredited education at a naturopathic medicine schools and is board certified is credentialed as an “ND.”
If you’re interested in alternative medicine, you’ll want to do your homework as you look for a naturopathic practitioner or a homeopathic practitioner to make sure that you get the treatment that you really want.
There really aren’t any standard definitions for these types of medicine, so you may find that someone self-identifies as a general naturopath, but practices a very specific type of healing.
And some people use the term homeopathic incorrectly when they mean to say the more general term of naturopath. When you start to look for alternative healthcare providers, know that you may have to do a little extra research and ask specific questions in order to find the type of care you desire.
All forms of medicine can have advantages and disadvantages, but it helps to start with a working knowledge of accurate terms so that you can find the right approach for your particular situation.
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