How Is Whole Health Care Different?

By Georgianna Donadio, MSc, DC, PhD-

This blog explores the difference between whole health care and allopathic medicine.

whole health care approachToday, thanks to the Internet, we have more information about every aspect of health than ever before. Still, there exists confusion between allopathic medicine and integrative medicine, how their treatment approaches differ and how one can discern what is right for their particular need or condition. Whole Health care compares and contrasts all available approaches so individuals can be empowered with information to make an educated decision about how they would like to address their personal health care and what forms of health care they would like to incorporate.

Often called modern medicine, conventional or traditional, allopathic medicine defines health as the absence of disease. The term comes from the Greek roots meaning “opposite” and “disease”, referring to a principle of curing a disease, disorder or problem by administering drugs or surgery that produce the opposite effect of the problem.

Theories Of The Cause Of Disease

The main cause of illness is considered to be viruses or bacteria and scientific tests are used to diagnose before drugs or surgery are prescribed. Furthermore, the emphasis here is more on “attacking the problem”, seen as an invader or enemy outside the self rather than exploring the cause and effect of the problem and working to identifying what needs to be changed or altered to bring about the return of health.

Alternative, natural, complementary or holistic medicine practices approach the problem or condition from a focus of identifying what particular choices or behaviors the individual might be making that is leading to the expression of symptoms collectively called their “disease or diagnosis”.

Whole Health Care Bridges The Gap

In contrast, because whole health care bridges the gap between traditional and alternative medicine, an integrative physician or practitioner would evaluate not only the patient’s physical health, but also the other aspects of their life that may be influencing their health.

Scientific evidence and ancient teachings have proven that there are multiple components to health that make up a whole person, therefore, illness cannot be cured or wellness realized without taking multiple aspects into account.

For example, a traditional allopathic approach to a sore throat could include a drug substance or over the counter aspirin and possibly a cough and sore throat medicine. The integrative medical practitioner, trained to stimulate the body’s natural healing potential, may well prescribe nutritional changes, herbs, aromatherapy, gargling with various natural extracts, vitamins, garlic, broths, vegetable or juice extracts, calcium sources or homeopathic remedies. A whole health care approach might incorporate both as a way of treating the whole person.