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Allopathy versus Naturopathy


Pre-edited version of the published article:

 “Allopathic Verses Holistic Medicine: Alternative Healthcare for Traditional Healthcare Professionals,” Adv Resp Care Prac, Feb 12, 2001, vol 14, No 3.



Desmond Allen, PhD, ND, RCP

Dr.   Allen advises all readers to consult their physician before abandoning any pharmaceutical therapy or adding any natural remedy.  He also encourages everyone to take responsibility for their own healthcare decisions, and to seek the opinion of an alternative healthcare professional.



I am amused by the number of healthcare professionals (RNs, RRTs, PTs, RT, even MD’s) who, in recent years have sought alterative methods for dealing with their or their loved ones asthma.   I even had opportunity to share this information with a few physicians who realized the impotency of the present accepted wisdom.   As sophisticated as it may be with one research study after another and a steady stream of new, more potent, medications hitting the market, still we are losing the battle against asthma. 

By some estimates, pediatric asthma mortality has increased 50% in the last five years.   But I am convinced that it need not be this way.   It issue is the basic philosophical approach to the question: “What is health, and how best is it attained?  There are two fundamentally difference views: one held by allopathy, the other by naturopathy.   Although allopathy is now considered traditional medicine (at least in the western world), it is not the oldest, or even the most logical.

Allopathy had its birth in the 17th century, when pathologist (many of them infamous grave robbers) began to better understand anatomy and physiology and the diseases that attacked various organs.  In the mid 1800’s hundreds, pharmaceutical companies began prepackaging concoctions of ready made remedies (often called silver bullets) for various diseases, which by now had been properly named by the medical community.  This, in a nutshell was the birth of allopathy.

The fundamental belief in allopathy is that something–a bacteria, virus, carcinogen, etc--has invaded the cell and it must be eradicated.  The objective is to diagnose the disease and affect its cure by medication, surgery, radiation, etc.  What precipitated this invasion into the cell is of little or not concern.  Here is where the two philosophies differ.  And although it might sound like a small issue, the separation is wide and the implications far reaching.

Both philosophies agree on the basic cytology, that each cell is bathed in an extracellular environment maintained by the circulatory system.  And each philosophy understands that the potential invaders are ever lurking in the system seeking opportunity to strike.  But where the two philosophies differ their understanding of how these invader strike, how best to defend against them, and how best to repel them once they have invaded. 

While allopathy is for ever doing studies trying answer these questions, as mentioned their basic premise is that for some reason (it could vary from disease to disease) the invader have attacked and we must somehow kill them; naturopathy understands that the ever present invaders were given opportunity to strike simply due to the cell’s weakened defense; a defense that was weakened by an imbalance of necessary nutrient in the extracellular environment in which the cell exists.    

In this philosophy, given the proper nutrients the cell has the ability to fight off these invaders.  And it is only when the cell is deprived of such nutrients does it open itself to attack.  This philosophy goes a step further, in that it does not attempt to diagnose or treat a particular disease, as does allopathy.  From this perspective this is merely categorizing symptoms that are the manifestation of a deeper problem.  Rather, this philosophy seeks to correct the underlying cause of this symptomology.

This correction is achieved by proper diet and supplemental nutrients when necessary.  Again, the understanding is to supply the cell with a balanced environment and it will necessarily do its job of repelling the invader and defending itself.  Ironically, not only does a poor diet affect cellular function, but the very medications that are prescribed by allopathy, affect the cell as well.  Almost all of these medications is a channel blocker or inhibitor of some sort that stops or alters the bodies normal function.  So that, while these medications might temporarily mask a certain symptom, often they are aggravating the real cause of the problem or they may be setting the stage for another problem. 

Why are “diseases” such as asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, ADHD and allergies on the rise and so prevalent in our western society? I don’t think we want to hear the answer.  Basically, I believe it can be traced to two factors that have greatly altered the western way of life.  One is the enormous quantities of hydrogenated vegetable oil and refined sugars we consume.  These are in almost every packaged food in the supermarket.  It is difficult to fill up a shopping cart without them.  The hydrogenated vegetable oil is like poison to the body.  It has no use for it and simply does not know how to handle it.  For the body to metabolize the high volume of refined sugars, it must draw upon and deplete its own resources which are normally replenished by real foods.  The daily consumption of these non-foods eventually creates an imbalance environment for the cells and thereby leaves them open to attack.                 

The second factor, and here is the rub, are many of the very medications we have been consuming since infancy to relieve our various symptoms.  By the time many of us become members of the AARP, we will be on three or four or ten medications.  Each prescribed for a different symptom or to counteract the side effects another.  Each is designed to alter the body’s chemistry.  Overtime they necessarily create an imbalance in the cellular environment.  Indeed, that is their purpose.  That is how they affect their results. 

Depending upon the particular imbalance we have created within our cellular environment, we leave ourselves open for attack by certain of these possible invader.  As the battle is lost at the cellular level, it is manifest in symptom–or diseases if you will–such as asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, ADHD and allergies.

Although naturopathy has thousands of years and volumes of recent case studies to support the philosophy, double blinded studies are pretty much non-existent.  And while allopathy likes to make issue of this, the truth is that much of allopathic practice is unsubstantiated by double blind proof as well.  And while the allopathic pharmacopeia changes its list of drugs and diseases every few years due to past failure, the argument for proper nutrition has been constant for millenniums.

Both philosophies agree that the body has marvelous resilience; naturopathy just happens to believe in it a little more.  Or perhaps as intimated at a certain graduation exercise, it is not in the best financial interests of modern pharmacopeia to admit to it.  As one practitioner revealed: “One of these days, my colleagues, you will be called in on many cases.  You will find that eighty-five to ninety per cent of these cases will be acute.  According to the law of cure, you will find that these acute cases get well of their own accord.  But for god’s sake, do something about it so that you will get the credit.” (Iridology p.  46)



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