The Differences among Conventional, Holistic, Complementary, Alternative, Integrative, Homeopathic, and Naturopathic Medicine
When talking about non-conventional medicine, several terms are often used interchangeably or with vague definitions, leading to confusion about what they actually mean.
Conventional medicine (also called biomedicine or Western, mainstream, orthodox, or allopathic medicine) is what most people think of. Medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, and other healthcare professionals fall under the system of conventional medicine.
Holism looks at the whole person rather than just their disease or symptoms. Holistic medicine is a broad philosophy and encompasses homeopathy, naturopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and other therapies and treatments.
Complementary vs Alternative Medicine
Complementary medicine is any non-mainstream medicine (such as homeopathy, naturopathy, acupuncture, or chiropractic) used together with conventional medicine.
Alternative medicine is any non-mainstream medicine (such as homeopathy, naturopathy, acupuncture, or chiropractic) used instead of conventional medicine.
The terms alternative medicine and complementary medicine are often used interchangeably in spite of this difference. True alternative medical care is extremely rare. Most people who use non-conventional medicine do so in conjunction with Western medicine.
Integrative medicine generally means a clinic or health center offers both conventional and complementary medicine services.
Homeopathy falls under holistic medicine and uses natural remedies, such as supplements made from plants, minerals, or animals. The main principles of homeopathic medicine are:
- Like cures like (a condition can be cured by a substance that causes similar symptoms in a healthy person)
- Minimum dose (the lower the dose, the more effective it is)
Naturopathic medicine is a holistic method of primary health care using the healing power of nature to diagnose, treat, and prevent illnesses.
Integrative Family Wellness Center Offers Holistic and Conventional Treatments
As an integrative clinic, IFWC provides conventional primary care as well as a variety of complementary therapies, including: