The world of medicine has so many branches within, so there’s always someone to treat patients for any problem they may have. There’s always a specific clinic or recommendation one receives depending on the part of the body that is hurting or ailing. However, there are tons of varied alternative practitioners, like those who do homeopathy or Ayurveda and the like. But rising popularity is being seen in osteopathic medicine, particularly because the medium has become that much more accessible for students hoping to become medical doctors that focus on treating a person as a whole.
If you’re being treated by a doctor practicing alternative medicine or you are thinking about reaching out to one, you may be wondering, “what’s the difference, and is it a reliable form of treatment?” We discuss some of these below.
What Is Osteopathic Medicine?
This practice operates to understand that all the body’s systems are interrelated; hence every treatment is created to target the body as a whole. Founded a century ago, much of this field involves targeting the actual body parts to relieve symptoms from various illnesses. For instance, a doctor of osteopathic medicine might try to do some non-invasive treatments to your bones for your body to start restoring itself to a healthy state, targeting any chronic pain or nerve damage and the like.
This is essential because osteopathic medicine combines physical treatment and prescribed medication (if necessary) to treat the body completely instead of focusing on specific zones. Think of it like if you had a motherboard in an electrical device. The device has problems booting up a part of the system, but instead of simply finding the problem in that sector, the doctor completely fixes the entire motherboard and, by trickle, fixes the smaller issue.
It’s a very hands-on method that encourages being non-invasive, though all doctors who practice it must have their medical license before learning this extra training. This is a pretty good assurance that it’s not just a hack solution, and because they do overall testing, they may also still give medicine and perform surgery if they deem it necessary for your case. They are not to be confused with other alternative medicine routes that only rely on natural remedies instead of technological methods.
Is Homeopathy the Route for You?
First, it’s important to note that homeopathy and naturopathy are not the same things, though they are often spoken in the same breath or mistakenly interchanged by laymen. Naturopathic medicine uses, you guessed it, natural methods to treat various illnesses. Homeopathy uses natural substances for medicinal purposes. The confusion is understandable as that sounds very similar, but it’s in the application where they really start to stray from each other.
Naturopathic doctors are trained with a medical degree as well, and to be accredited, they take four more years of study to learn its methods. They still carry the knowledge needed to know if any traditional medical intervention is needed (like in severe emergencies) and advocate for natural treatments that can help the body regulate organically and combat conditions like diabetes, depression, chronic pain, and more.
On the other hand, homeopathy is more of a type of execution than a line of practice. You don’t necessarily see homeopathic doctors around, although they can choose to prescribe homeopathic treatments. It still hears buzz to this day because of its link to the previous field of medicine mentioned. It’s vastly different, though, and multiple studies have already shown that it is essentially a pseudoscience that won’t work. If you’ve heard of placebo effects, this is the realm where you’ll find a lot of that.
Is Alternative Good or Bad?
Traditional medicine has its cons, too, which is why many doctors always have to weigh the risk over benefit. Most treatments that do good also have side effects that need to be monitored. It’s like cleaning up a mess by making another sometimes. This is the reason alternative medicine exists to this day in the first place so that people have other options that may be less harsh on their bodies in the long run.
That said, it’s still a tossup. They are the alternatives because they don’t always produce the same success on their own. It’s undoubtable, though, that they carry their own benefits and can be a very great contribution to the overall treatment of various diseases.
It’s up to you what path you think is best for your healing, but one could argue that alternative and traditional medicine are complementary and could work best when used hand-in-hand.