February 24, 2012

Naturopathic Health Series Part 1: What is Holistic Medicine?

Filed under: Dr. Loridawn's Lessons,Holistic Pet Care — Tags: — Dr. Loridawn Gordon @ 9:10 pm

About Dr. Loridawn Gordon

Loridawn Gordon has written 28 post in this blog.

At First Pet Naturals we take the ‘naturals’ part seriously.

In fact, we’re in love with nature and all it has to offer.

Living in an increasingly artificial world, we feel your pet’s health is best served by a philosophy of minimal medicine and preventive care. The body has the innate power to fight its own battles without relying on a pill.

In the following 3-part blog series we’re going to take a careful look at the Naturopathic vs. Rx perspectives—the theories themselves, the history, and finally, our recommendations on how to achieve a happy, healthy life for your pet.

A Traditional Medicine Definition

Sometimes we tend to look at medicine in a logical, left-brain manner that quantifies and isolates environmental factors down to constituent details.

If our pet gets sick we tend to focus on the microbe, bacteria, virus, or likewise individual variables as the sole cause of the issue. Obviously in doing so, we’ve latched onto what is a verifiable truth: those things do cause illness.

At least in part.

Scientists analyze and repeatedly study the theory in the sense that there should be an objective formula for success that can be applied to everyone, every time—in short, a drug.

What is Holistic Health?

Alternative medicine looks at things differently: microbes, bacteria, virus, and other variables concerning disease are seen to exist amongst many others variables, unrecognized by pharmaceutical medicine in a larger bodily equation.

Hippocrates, a Greek physician who lived over 2,400 years ago, first formulated the ‘naturopathic’ theory of using nature to heal the body. It has remained the core of the philosophy to this day.

After all, many toxins are arguably ever-present in our living spaces. When functioning properly with the appropriate nutrients, the body has the resources to block infection, and to expel built-up unwanted materials from the body.

Likewise with different diseases like cancer, the conditions arise from an imbalance of some sort.

This is where the term “holistic medicine” comes from: the approach that seeks to find the underlying factor which is responsible for affecting the system as a whole; not just the symptom(s.)

Treatingholistic medicine Causes vs Treating Symptoms

To understand the fundamental difference between drugs and supplements, let’s look at an easy example: someone who has a headache.

The pain of the headache is the symptom. The Rx approach would be to target that variable head-on: if you’re feeling pain, take something that blocks pain. Say, aspirin.

The holistic approach might be to look at what the cause of the pain must/might be. Say, dehydration. In this case the alternative approach might be to simply supplement the issue with some water.

If one chooses the aspirin option they might receive relief from pain faster than waiting for their body to rehydrate through drinking some water; however, the main difference between the two treatments is that with aspirin something foreign has been introduced into the body that will itself cause a chain of effects side effects.

That is, the aspirin stresses the liver, and harder drugs have much harder side effects. Sometimes to the point where the treatment is even more invasive than the actual issue at hand. For instance, getting a tonsillectomy (removal of the tonsils) is quite drastic in comparison to simply avoiding certain foods and getting the proper rest.

In this sense, we’re talking about immediacy as opposed to the long-term outlook.

In part 2 we’ll take a close look at the Naturopathic vs. Traditional ‘pill-based’ approaches to medicine, and how what were once opposites have come to exist as complementary components of one and other.


Dr. Loridawn Gordon

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Disclaimer: 1st Pet Naturals is an education resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure disease, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet is taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.