A Comparative Overview of Major Medical and Related Health Care Paradigms

Understanding the two distinct major paradigms of medicine and related health care systems and their roles in our health.
 When it comes to our health issues, the two main distinct paradigms of medicine and related health care systems are the Modern/Conventional Medicine and a number of various forms of Alternative Medicine (e.g. Naturopathic Medicine, Integrative Medicine, etc.) also often  classified under the umbrella name Holistic Medicine. As one of my introductory posts, I will provide a comparative outline of the major facets of the two medical paradigms, to help us understand the options we have for our health care. I will be referring back to this comparison table as we proceed with the natural health conversation on this blog.

Modern/Conventional MedicineHolistic Medicine/Alternative Medicine
PhilosophyThe philosophy of medicine is a field/scientific discipline that seeks to explore fundamental issues in theory, research, and practice within the health sciences, particularly metaphysical (nature of reality), ontological and epistemological topics. Epistemology (the study of knowledge; investigation of the origin, nature, methods and limits of human knowledge; the way we know things), Ontology (A branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being; what things are = being, existence, reality), and ethics (moral principles, values) of medicine. One of the fundamental and most long-standing debates in the philosophy of medicine relates to the basic concepts of health and illness/disease.
Essentially, the biomedical model would define illness as the absence of disease, portraying the human organism as either functioning "normally" or else dysfunctional and therefore diseased.
A doctrine (belief) of preventive and therapeutic medicine that emphasizes the necessity of looking at the whole person—his body, mind, emotions, and environment—rather than at an isolated function or organ and which promotes the use of a wide range of health practices and therapies. It has especially come to stress responsibility for “self-healing,” or “self-care,” by observing the traditional commonsense essentials of exercise, healthful diet, adequate sleep, good air, moderation in personal habits, and so forth.
Primary Objective of CareTo cure or mitigate disease.To promote optimal health and as a by-product, to prevent and treat disease.
Primary Method of CareFocus on the elimination of symptoms. Note: Elimination of symptoms might not be necessarily based on an established cause of the disease (eg, use of high blood pressure drugs, or pain killers for headache) Empower patients to heal themselves by addressing the root causes of their diseases or illnesses and facilitating lifestyle changes through health promotion.
DiagnosisEvaluate the body with history, physical exam, lab data.Evaluate the whole person through holistic medical history, holistic health score sheet, physical exam, lab data.
Primary Care Treatment OptionsTreatment diseases using Drugs and surgery. Eg: A physician checks a patient's Vitamin B12 level only if the patient complains of poor memory.  Goal is for Vitamin B12 level to be >200.mcg/d/L . For infections - Eliminate or kill the bug and immunization for prevention.Love/needs applied to body, mind, and spirit with: diet, exercise, environmental measures, attitudinal and behavioral modifications, relationship and spiritual counseling, bioenergy enhancement.
NB: For vitamin B levels, the goal is for Vitamin B12 level to be >500.mcg/dL
Secondary Care Treatment Options.Diet, exercise, physical therapy, and stress management.Botanical medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture, biomolecular therapies, physical therapy, limited surgery, etc.
WeaknessesLess effective in preventing and curing chronic disease; expensive.  Only trained professionals are the authority and the patient plays a passive role. Vulnerable to short and long-term use of drug toxicity.Shortage of trained personnel; time-intensive, requiring a commitment to a healing process. Not a quick-fix. Effectiveness of some therapeutic or healing modality not established or verified.
StrengthsHighly therapeutic (quick relief) in treating both acute and life-threatening illness and injuries.Teaches patients to take responsibility for their own health, thus cost-effective in treating both acute and chronic illness; in preventing chronic disease; essential in creating optimal health.

Enjoy the reading!! Comments are welcome.


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