Should I choose complementary medicine or western medicine?

What is complementary medicine?

Complementary medicine is care that falls outside of conventional Western practises. Rather than being specific to your physical wellbeing, it addresses all aspects, including the emotional, energetic and spiritual.

Naturopathic medicine (a key complementary service) combines diagnostic testing with natural healing traditions.

Complementary medicine also includes services like osteopathy, functional medicine, homeopathy, counselling & psychotherapy, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture.

What is the difference between naturopathic medicine and Western medicine?

Naturopathic medicine practitioners believe that our natural way of being is one of health – we just have to create the right conditions for health to flourish. They focus on stimulating the body’s self-healing abilities to return you to this state.

Naturopathic practitioners recognise health as integrated – and use a combination of natural and western medicine methods (like testing) to heal their clients.

Western medicine describes the traditional treatment employed throughout Europe and northern America. This usually involves an assessment of symptoms, diagnosis (which may or may not include testing) and use of pharmaceuticals or surgery to treat your condition.

Western medicine focuses on resolving your presenting symptoms, like being prescribed a topical cream to treat spots, rather than looking at the origin of your condition.

A naturopath finds the root cause of symptoms like spots, testing your hormone levels or gut microbiome to find a long-lasting solution.

It’s important to know that not all naturopaths train to the same level, and not all are licensed. Only naturopaths who trained in the USA and Canada can be licensed, and are called naturopathic doctors (ND’s).

In Australia, New Zealand, UK and Europe, naturopaths are not doctors, and the training for naturopaths can vary widely within these countries. In Hong Kong, the Integrative Association of Naturopaths of Hong Kong (IANHK) was established to support standards.. All naturopaths and naturopathic doctors at IMI are members of IANHK and are qualified in accordance with the World Naturopathic Federation (WNF) requirements.

Are there similarities between naturopathic medicine and western medicine?

Naturopathic medicine doesn’t mean abandoning the science. A well-trained naturopath knows that diagnostic testing like bloodwork is an essential part of integrative care.

It’s a key tenet of functional medicine, which shares the same original school of thought as naturopathy. Testing informs treatment, and identifies the gaps or issues that can be remedied by natural medicine.

It enables our naturopaths to find the root cause of symptoms which may have many origins. For example, cognitive issues. For one of our clients, his cognitive issues were tied to gut health. For another, it was tied to toxic overload.

Western medicine practitioners sometimes use natural interventions favoured by naturopathic practitioners. As a first step to treating cholesterol, they may recommend exercise and adopting a better diet.

Naturopaths go one step further: creating an attainable lifestyle plan tailored to your needs and preferences so it’s realistic to stick to. They also prescribe potent medicinal herbs tailored to your needs, alongside clinical grade supplements.

Often, western medicine will prescribe treatments like statins to treat cholesterol, which come with a whole host of side effects; naturopaths can recommend supplements to compliment your pre-existing treatment.

When western medicine doesn’t help

Speak to any doctor, naturopathic or otherwise, and they’ll tell you that taking antibiotics to treat the common cold is a bad idea.

Not only does this increase antibiotic resistance; a naturopath would tell you that antibiotics wipe out the good and the bad bacteria in your gut. This is where 70% of your immunity resides, inhibiting your immune health and making you more susceptible to colds and flu in future.

A western doctor may tell you to simply stick it out when you’ve got a cold. Naturopaths have more tools in their kit.

Testing to identify the cause of low immunity; referral to an osteopath to ease a cough; connecting you with a counsellor to ease stress levels if that’s what causing your immune issues.

Naturopathic practitioners may make links that western medicine practitioners won’t – when it comes to linking physical symptoms with the emotional. They can recommend alternative solutions that GPs may not – like osteopathy to release energetic blockages that may be causing anxiety. Read about George, whose high blood pressure and anxiety was resolved by a combination of naturopathy and osteopathy.

 Health conditions well-suited to complementary medicine

Complex health conditions are well-suited to complementary medicine. Some of these include:

  • Digestive conditions
  • Mental health conditions
  • Neurodiversity
  • Skin complaints
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Immune and autoimmune conditions

Another area in which naturopathic medicine excels is preventative care. Do you know that certain conditions run in your family? Whether you’re pre-disposed to health concerns, or just wanting to support your body as you age, complementary medicine addresses all facets of your health for optimal wellbeing.

Is complementary medicine covered by my insurance?

Often, people in Hong Kong turn to western medicine because it’s more accessible in terms of insurance.

But, there are insurance service providers that cover you for the core complementary services: naturopathy, osteopathy, homeopathy, psychotherapy, TCM & acupuncture.

Alea are on a mission to empower you to find the right health insurance, with unbiased information and advice. The insurance companies they compare include ones that cover natural, holistic health.

If you’re looking to explore complementary healthcare or enrich a pre-existing treatment with natural medicine, you can get it covered by insurance. Seeking integrative care? From testing to treatment, including mental health care, our practitioners are dedicated to giving you the support you deserve. Explore our services.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap