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Despite gaining ever-wider acceptance in the medical community and amongst the public at large, holistic health and naturopathic medicine are still viewed with a great deal of skepticism by many. As with most things that people fear, negative views of holistic treatments stem largely from ignorance.
It isn't holistic health that people mistrust, it’s the misconceptions about holistic health and naturopathic medicine that lead many to discount their practices.
With that in mind, we thought we'd address three of the most common myths people hear about holistic health and naturopathic medicine. Dispelling these misunderstandings and explaining what holistic health/naturopathy is will help ease fears, overcome reservations, and give more people an opportunity to experience this full-body approach to medical care.
Myth #1: Holistic Health is All Based on Superstition and Folklore
"Holistic health" simply means taking a whole-body approach to any disease, disorder, or issue. Rather than seeing medicine as a means of addressing individual symptoms and diseases as they occur, a holistic approach looks at restoring and optimizing full-body health as a way of alleviating single problems.
The phrase "holistic health" can be used by almost anyone, including those who don't use science-based practices, but a licensed medical practitioner who practices holistic health is using no more superstition or folklore than any other medical professional. It's simply a different perspective, and may include treatments and therapies that those trained only in traditional Western medicine wouldn't think of.
For example, naturopathy makes more use of vitamin therapy. We all know we need vitamins and some people need more than others. Understanding these reasons is based on science, research, human physiology and body functions as a whole. The difference is the vitamin approach is that there is never compromise of other systems of the body.
Myth #2: Anyone Can Be a Naturopathic Doctor
Unlike "holistic health," naturopathic doctor is a controlled phrase that must be used by only those with that designation. A growing number of states, including Arizona, require anyone calling themselves a naturopathic doctor to have years of medical education, training, experience and board certification before they become licensed.
Just like any other medical professional, a licensed naturopathic doctor in the Phoenix area has been tested and vetted by experts in the field and has been determined to possess the knowledge necessary to effectively treat patients.
Naturopathy isn't a hobby, and it isn't a loose set of guidelines for approaching health and well-being. It's a rigorous discipline that involves ongoing learning across a variety of specializations, and is increasingly accepted and respected by the larger medical community.
Myth #3: Holistic Health and Naturopathic Medicine Rejects Western Science
Because holistic health and naturopathic approaches often offer alternative treatments to those preferred by strictly Western doctors, it's easy to think that naturopathic doctors and holistic health practitioners reject Western medicine and science out of hand. In fact, the exact opposite is true—most practitioners apply the same strict evidence-based standards to their approaches that Western doctors do, and even consider traditional Western treatment options for many patient problems.
Naturopathy and holistic health can offer another set of treatment options based on the same diagnosis. These treatment options come from a perspective that treats health as an integrated system, not a series of isolated events. When Western techniques and treatments offer the best way to bring the system into balance, those practices are embraced; when Western treatments create new imbalances or treat a symptom without addressing the underlying cause, naturopathy/holistic health might look for a better solution that is less toxic and less detrimental to long term health.
That's the truth about holistic health from a naturopathic medicine perspective. With those myths out of the way, the path to more enlightened healthcare should be a little bit clearer. To find out more about how a naturopthic doctor might treat your health issues click on the link below.