Allopathic vs. Naturopathic Medicine: Why the Differences Matter for Your Health




You may not know what “allopathic” even means. That’s ok because we’re about to tell you.


Here at MyYogaTeacher we believe the differences between allopathic medicine and naturopathic medicine means the difference in you feeling wholly and completely well and just “not sick.”

Allopathic medicine is more commonly known as conventional medicine, traditional medicine, western medicine. You may also hear it referred to as orthodox, biomedicine, or mainstream.

Because all forms of yoga are considered naturopathic medicine, we felt it was important to address the various roles of the two different forms of medicine and why we’re fans of both.

Also, whether you’re a new yogi, advanced yogi, or haven’t started a yoga journey at all, we invite you to learn more about myYogaTeacher and the multitude of different classes our incredibly talented, expert instructors offer. 

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Let’s cover how these two types of medicine differ and why you should care!

Core differences in allopathic and naturopathic medicine

Allopathic vs Naturopathic

Allopathic means “opposite of suffering” in Greek. The term was coined by a German physician in the 1800’s and references what traditional medicine does. Treat a symptom with its opposite.

For instance, you may treat a headache with ibuprofen or constipation with a laxative.

Allopathy is practiced by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals licensed to practice and treat symptoms of diseases.

Types of treatment may include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Medications (over the counter and prescribed or controlled drugs)
  • And other therapies

There is certainly a place for some of these treatments. For instance, a trauma victim from a car accident may need surgery to repair the body. A cancer patient may need chemotherapy to kill cancer cells. A person may have a genetic illness that requires medications and other therapies to control it so they can live a normal life.

But almost all allopathic medical treatments come with adverse side effects. Medications to treat symptoms of a disease may, in fact, propagate another disease or cause other terrible symptoms. Radiation has horrible side effects. And, it goes without saying, recovering from surgeries can be extensive and involve toxic medications.

However, increasingly, doctors are recognizing the value in naturopathic medicine.

You may hear naturopathic medicine referred to as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), holistic medicine, or integrative medicine.

Naturopathic medicine is commonly used alongside allopathic medicine to treat many types of illness and disease. But where allopathic medicine only treats the symptoms of a problem, naturopathic medicine treats the cause of the problem or prevents the problem to begin with!

In other words, it treats the whole body. And, of course, it’s natural in origin.

Some types of naturopathic medicine or treatment include:

  • Chiropractic care
  • Acupuncture
  • Ayurveda
  • Homeopathy
  • Yoga

We’ve talked about many ways yoga improves a person’s whole life, curing back pain, knee pain, reducing blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels. It improves mental health and can even cure mental health problems.

So it goes without saying that each form of naturopathic treatment is also designed to be just as comprehensive!

Even better news? Most naturopathic medicine treatments have zero adverse side effects! And they usually don’t interfere with other forms of treatment!

Allopathic medicine just doesn’t treat the whole body like naturopathic medicine does, only the symptoms of underlying problems.

But, as we’ve discussed, both forms of medicine are extremely important.

Preventative care of allopathic vs naturopathic medicine

Complementary and alternative medicine is a key ingredient to preventing many types of illness and disease. 

Traditional medicine has its own way of preventing various diseases as well. But usually, the methods of prevention come at cost to the patient’s health in other ways. And many of the prevention methods would be completely unnecessary if people focused more on holistic health.

For instance, here are some preventative measures of conventional medicine:

  • Vaccines - prevent serious, life-threatening diseases and illnesses in children and adults but also a very controversial topic in the traditional and alternative medicine world.
  • Blood pressure medications - lower blood pressure to prevent heart disease and heart complications, but high or low blood pressure is only a symptom of an underlying problem.
  • Anxiety and depression medications - while helpful in regulating chemicals that prevent harmful thoughts and actions, these do not address the fact that many mental health problems could be fixed with better gut health.

These are just a few examples of preventative care in traditional medicine. There are also less invasive forms, such as cancer screenings, cholesterol tests, blood pressure monitoring, and well-child visits. These types of preventative care do, undoubtedly, save lives. 

Naturopathic care saves lives too! 

You see, some of the preventative care included in allopathic medical practice would be completely unnecessary if people practiced more holistic health.

For example, here are some ways naturopathic medicine prevents illness and disease:

  • Massage therapy - boosts immune system, flushes out toxins, reduces inflammation in the body, zero negative side effects.
  • Chiropractic care - boosts immune system, cures headaches, improves energy levels, helps brain and organs communicate better, helps with skeletal problems like arthritis and joint discomforts.
  • Yoga and meditation - Improves weight, stress levels, alleviates mental health problems, decreases or cures pain in the body, decreases inflammation, improves gut health, prevents a multitude of illnesses and diseases.
  • Natural supplements and a whole food diet - can help prevent most common illnesses and diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, mental health issues, and even cancer.

You see? If we spent more time on selfcare, doing things that make our whole body, mind, and soul feel better, we’d spend less time seeking out ways to treat the symptoms of our diseases. Because many of them simply wouldn’t occur.

And that is the biggest difference between traditional preventative medicine and that of naturopathic medicine. 

One is still just treating the symptoms and possibly causing more problems. And the other is treating the whole body.

It’s interesting that so many people prefer conventional medicine practices because they are “backed by science” when thousands of years of history has proven over and over again that holistic medicine is real and valid. And it works.

Maybe you only need a natural approach to health. Or maybe you are dead set on conventional medicine alone.

Maybe you need both.

We need both 

As mentioned above, allopathic medicine is important. It saves lives. There is a time and place for it. It is a reactive form of medicine for times of crisis, acute illness, and injury.

Naturopathic medicine focuses on preventing those times of crisis, acute illness, and injury. There are many things that alternative medicine treats. But the goal is to use the most natural methods possible to create homeostasis and connection between the inner and outer world of humans. 

Where allopathic medicine is reactive, naturopathic medicine proactive

Whatever your health situation may be, we hope that you allow MyYogaTeacher be a part of your journey to better health and wellbeing. Our online yoga studio is a judgement free zone where people come together and celebrate how amazing their bodies (and yoga) are. A place where the instructors get to know their students and help them in more ways than just on the mat.

If you haven’t joined yet, we hope you’ll take advantage of myYogaTeacher’s 2-week free trial, where you’ll have access to over 42 different classes and experienced yoga instructors from the birthplace of yoga, India!

Join us!

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