When to Combine Traditional Medicine with Natural Medicine

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combine traditional medicine

As a long-term practitioner of integrative medicine, I strongly believe in disease prevention through:

  • Encouraging healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Close consideration of a patient’s history as well as environmental factors.
  • Listening carefully to my patients’ concerns.
  • And always staying focused on the big picture, not a narrow, disease-based view.

By shifting the focus from the traditional disease-centered approach to a patient-centered one, integrative medicine opens doors to a wider array of treatments. Examples include meditation, exercise, herbal and other natural dietary supplements.

We consider the patient’s history in fuller detail than a traditional medical practice usually has time for. We also stay open-minded toward possible remedies. Whether through acupuncture, breathing techniques, or something new and promising that we discover along the way.

Many of these treatments fall under the umbrella of preventive care. After learning about a patient’s history and uncovering some of the root causes that could lead to further health problems, we can often avoid those problems by changing lifestyle habits and environmental conditions.

Through our Diamond Nutritional formulas, we also help fill in nutritional gaps or boost physiological conditions like supporting optimal metabolism conditions.

Not a Zero-Sum Game

Embracing integrative medicine does not mean that traditional medical treatments are completely ruled out. Too many times, I hear from people who so completely mistrust modern medicine that they dismiss it completely.

Social media is filled with gurus who swear they owe their health to eating only natural, raw foods. Or to other–sometimes unrealistic–lifestyle choices.

It can almost feel, to some, like giving up when you take a pharmaceutical drug or decide you need surgery. Give yourself a break! Naturally, it’s always best to do your research and explore all options. Integrative medicine also means integrating appropriate remedies from conventional medicine, when they are called for. 

There are ways to safely combine natural choices with traditional ones. As with anything, always consult with a doctor to make the best choices and avoid contradictions.

Truly Integrative Medicine Utilizes Both Natural and Traditional Remedies

Say you are getting enough sleep and exercise, eating a consistently healthy diet from whole, fresh food sources, and supplementing for health concerns appropriately. Yet you still develop a health challenge that doesn’t respond to natural treatments. You then know it is time to consider the traditional medicine remedies available to you. Sometimes, conventional medicine is the best choice.

I am board certified in family medicine and osteopathic medicine as well as integrative medicine because I firmly believe we give patients the best chance at their best health by drawing on the best of both types of therapeutic knowledge.

Again, you don’t need to give up one to embrace the other. For example, say you start taking a prescription antidepressant. You can enhance their effect with the social support of a group exercise class and the relaxation of something like forest bathing.

Keep the Big Picture in Mind

Yes, traditional medical practitioners have habits of treating the disease or the symptoms without taking into account the overall picture for each patient. And yes, this can cause them to overlook natural remedies that can be as effective, with no side effects, as the prescriptions they’re so quick to write. It can also cause them to overlook underlying conditions that need attention. 

But that doesn’t mean the prescriptions and surgeries of conventional medicine aren’t called for in some cases. Sometimes, in order to treat someone the most effectively, it’s necessary to use the procedures and medicines conventional medical practitioners have developed over hundreds of years of research. 

So if your medical condition isn’t responding to natural therapies and supplements, don’t feel bad! It doesn’t mean you haven’t paid enough attention to the underlying causes or done enough work through a natural approach. Traditional remedies have a rightful place in a holistic medical outlook. And occasionally, they are your best option for returning to good health.

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