Medical Philosophies: What's the Difference?

April 1, 2020

 

When it comes to our health, we are fortunate enough to have a variety of medical philosophies to turn to; but with this diversity can come many questions:

 

Should I only follow one type of medical perspective? 

 

What’s the best choice for short term relief and long-term healing?

 

What will my insurance cover?

 

And what’s the difference between them all?

 

At the Koa Clinic, Dr. De Soto is aware of the questions surrounding different types of medicine and what approaches may work best for each individual. 

 

This is why she is sharing insight into current prevalent medical philosophies.  She believes that having an understanding of these medicines can provide solid options for your healthcare as well as help you make the best choice for your own needs.

 

 

INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE: This form of medicine includes practitioners from different medical philosophies working together to create a whole plan with multiple perspectives to treat a patient.

 

A good example of this is when Dr. De Soto works with another primary care physician, specialist, and even the Koa Clinic’s resident acupuncturist, Erin Heidrich, to use complementing strategies, such as prescribing herbs and vitamins that support the body’s systems.

 

 

WESTERN/ALLOPATHIC MEDICINE: What many of us are familiar with! 

 

Western and allopathic medicine is the conventional, modern medicine of today that treats symptoms of illness and disease (but typically not the underlying cause).  This includes primary care doctors and most specialists.  This is considered “standard of care” and is what many insurance provider cover.

 

The term Allopathic medicine means to treat disease with the opposite of what causes it.  Think of medications that work to fight against such illness as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol or surgery for injury.

 

 

FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE: It’s all about form and function! 

 

This type of medicine does not carry a specific medical degree (but can have a certification), and is rather an all-encompassing way of looking at health and treatment.  Doctors that work functionally can be western/allopathic doctors as well as integrative and naturopathic - they simply look at the overall way the body is performing and work to optimize it.

 

With roots in naturopathic medicine, functional medicine generally is more open to analyzing how the body is functioning as a whole system versus just one organ or area.

 

As an example, think about sleep.  A western primary care doctor may prescribe a sleeping aid if a patient is experiencing insomnia, but a functional medicine doctor may dig deeper to find out what is going on with the brain, the adrenal glands, the digestive system, etc. and how they are all working together in order to best prescribe a treatment.

 

 

NATURAL MEDICINE: This broad term is used to describe using natural methods to treat illness, disease, and symptoms.  It can include such options as homeopathic remedies, supplements, oils, herbs, and lifestyle choices.

 

HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINE: This type of natural medicine involves giving a small dose of something that would typically be harmful in high doses.

 

Consider allergy shots or drops.  These injections and droplets introduce the body to small amounts of allergens in which the goal is to help the body adjust and build tolerance rather than react and cause symptoms.

 

NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE: The main philosophy of naturopathic medicine is finding the underlying root cause and supporting  the body to heal itself.

 

Starting with the foundation of health: diet, exercise, sleep, stress management, processing of trauma and grief, and overall lifestyle choices, this type of medicine gets to the core of why symptoms are being experienced and then adds in other layers of treatment such as:

 

            - Nutrition

            - Herbs

            - Supplements

            - Vitamins and minerals

            - Mindfulness

            - Behavior Changes

 

But naturopathic medicine does not only start and end with natural options.  If they do not fully help a patient, many naturopathic doctors, such as Dr. De Soto, search for other interventions (including pharmaceutical drugs and hormone therapy) that may best manage and control symptoms while the body works towards restoring health on its own.

 

 

HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINE: This type of natural medicine involves giving a small dose of something that would typically be harmful in high doses.

 

Consider allergy shots or drops.  These injections and droplets introduce the body to small amounts of allergens in which the goal is to help the body adjust rather than react.

 

 

So what’s best for you? 

 

You may believe that one of these options feels right when it comes to taking care of your health or it may be in your best interest to use a variety of them.

 

However, if you are confused, there is good news!

 

Dr. De Soto practices ALL of these medical philosophies.  She can do everything from prescribe an antibiotic for a bacterial infection to offer alternative options in bringing down blood pressure. 

 

Need a yearly physical?  She can do it.  Interested in getting your thyroid tested?  Let her know.  Feeling moody and your hair is thinning?  Talk to her now.

 

And it’s not only for adults.  Her practice includes treating both children and adults alike, with treatment plans ideal for each individual.

 

If you live in the Kailua-Kona area and are searching for a doctor with a unified approach to healthcare, please call us at (808) 638-3343 or click here for scheduling information

 

Is it time to take your healthcare to the next level?  We can help you do just that.

 

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