ALTERNATIVE vs TRADITIONAL MEDICINE PROVIDERS

  Naturopath? Homeopath?Allopath?Osteopath?What PATH should I take?      Have you ever wondered about the difference between various ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE providers and TRADITIONAL providers? For instance, what does an ALLOPATHIC doctor do versus an OSTEOPATHIC or NATUROPATHIC physician? What does it mean to be an INTEGRATIVE PHYSICIAN? What is HOMEOPATHY? How are TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM) providers different than LICENSED ACUPUNCTURISTs (LAc)? It can be quite confusing for patients trying to find the right fit when seeking the best health care experience out there. I’ve outlined here some of the differences, which may help you to decide what type of provider you may benefit the most from seeing. In the TRADITIONAL medicine setting, ALLOPATHIC doctors (i.e. M.D.’s) and OSTEOPATHIC doctors (D.O.’s) comprise what most people think of when they think of “doctors”. Both go through very similar training with the requirement for a 4yr undergraduate bachelor’s degree and then completion of 4 yrs of medical/osteopathic school learning the basics of medicine. Osteopaths take extra courses in the musculoskeletal system in their fundamental belief that the alignment and function of our bones, muscles and connective tissue strongly influence the whole body’s health. They learn how to do manipulations (Osteopathic Manipulative Technique, OMT) similar to chiropractic medicine. Both Allopaths and Osteopaths then do 3-8 yrs post-graduate training in residencies and fellowships in order to specialize in an area of medicine such as Pediatrics, Family Medicine, General Surgery, Neurology, Dermatology, etc.  Both are required to be licensed through state licensing boards in order to practice medicine and both doctors typically obtain Board Certification in their areas of expertise. These Board Certifications require continuing education courses and periodic comprehensive examinations to prove ongoing proficiency.  INTEGRATIVE PHYSICIAN has been a generic term that providers use to specify that they try to integrate the whole person concept (mind, body, spirituality) when caring for patients. Most often it’s an integration of Eastern and Western medicine practices that utilize the best of both worlds in treatment options and a focus on prevention and the emphasis that the body has an inherent ability to heal itself it we can help patients to recognize what’s out of balance. The University of Arizona, through Dr Andrew Weil, offers several Integrative Medicine Residencies and Fellowship training for physicians and other health care providers looking to formalize their training in the integrative approach, University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Training. I completed his Integrative Medicine Fellowship in 2005. New in 2015, there is now a way for eligible providers to take a national examination to become Board Certified in the area of Integrative Medicine. See more at: American Board of Integrative Medicine . COMPLEMENTARY and ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE (CAM) can encompass anything from a Traditional Chinese Medicine...

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