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Conventional Medicine
Vs. Complementary & Alternative Medicine
Understanding Your Health Options

"Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open."  
~B.K.S. Iyengar

Your health is one of the most important aspects of your life that, largely, you can have control over. Nutrition, diet, exercise, medical treatment - these are all variables in which you have a choice of what goes into your body and what treatment is done to your body.
For this reason, it is important to understand the medical and health options available to maximize optimal health and wellness in your life.
Conventional Medicine - The Way of the Western World
Conventional medicine is a system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals (such as nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery. When you go to your doctor, for the most part you will be prescribed conventional medicine.
Conventional medicine tends to focus on the disease and employs techniques to treat it. It focuses more on techniques, technology, chemical reactions that can be measured, statistically proven and documented. Treatment is on the part of the body that is displaying the symptoms of the illness or disease.
Conventional medical interventions such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and antibiotics do bring benefits. They can prevent death, pain and give hope to people to walk again, provide instant relief, and also, provide a new functioning organ in place of a diseased and ailing one. 
What is important to know about conventional medicine is that there is definitely a time and place for it, especially in emergency situations, and when other noninvasive options fail. It is crucial in most emergency situations.
Problems with Conventional Medicine
Most medicine today is based on clear-cut, on-or-off, yes-or-no diagnoses that often miss the underlying causes and more subtle manifestations of illness. Most conventional doctors are taught that you have a disease or you don't; you have diabetes or you don't.   

For example, if your blood sugar is 90 or 110, you don't have diabetes. If it's over 126, you do have diabetes. There are no gray areas. When it comes to chronic illness, this approach typically doesn't work. 


For most diseases, conventional medicine treats symptoms alone, usually with drugs or surgery. While sometimes necessary, this can lead to long-term management with an improvement in symptoms at the cost of side effects, which often require more drugs.
Typical Problems with Conventional Medicine:
  • Conventional or modern medicine doesn't acknowledge the body's self-healing ability. 
  • Conventional medicine focuses more on illnesses that are supposedly caused by genetics, instead of causes such as nutritional and environmental factors.
  • The acceptance of only genetics and viruses as causing disease can lead to people not taking responsibility for their health. 
  • Conventional medicine is based on a mechanical and materialist paradigm that reduces the body to no more than a series of parts instead of a whole functioning system where everything is connected. 
  • Everyone is different. Some people get ill despite getting their flu shot or don't respond to medication or supplements.

Number One Misguided Concept:
We need to treat the disease,
not the patient. 
Instead, we need to treat the system, not the symptom; the patient, not the disease. 
CAM: Complimentary and Alternative Medicine
 "Complementary" generally refers to using a non-mainstream approach together with conventional medicine. The term "Alternative" refers to using a non-mainstream 
approach in place of conventional medicine. 
Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) have been practiced for thousands of years and was largely introduced to the western world through immigrants from other countries.

The scientific evidence at one point was limited which is why patients sometimes question its benefits and effectiveness. But, now more than ever, CAM is increasing in popularity. Over the last few decades an increasing amount of research has been published on the effectiveness of CAM therapies, including Chiropractic, homeopathy, acupuncture, herbal medicine and anthroposophic medicine, in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Additional reasons include: 
  • The general population is becoming more interested in participating in their health care decisions. For this reason, patients are looking at all possible options, including CAM.
  • People today are under more stress than ever, so new ways are being sought to cope with the additional stress and tension in life. 
  • The increasing resistance to antibiotics is another reason why CAM is becoming more prevalent.
  • CAM therapies may offer significant cost savings to public health bodies.
  • CAM offers a preventative care approach to healthcare, vs. a reactive care approach. 
Types of CAM Therapies:
  • Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Massage Therapy, Meditation Techniques, Movement Therapies, Relaxation Techniques, Tai Chi, Healing Touch, and Hypnotherapy.   

Alternative medicine tends to be holistic, where an individual's health is considered as a whole and treatment not just focused on the symptoms. Alternative medicine offers natural methods to aid the healing powers of the body to return to a state of optimal health. Treatment is holistic; that is it takes into account every aspect of a patient and not just on the health symptoms that he or she is experiencing. 
Why CAM May Not be Practiced by Physicians
The integrative trend is growing among providers and health care systems, although a number of physicians still do not practice CAM due to these reasons:
  • Many have not been taught about CAM in medical school training, so these physicians are not properly educated to offer these services to the patients who may benefit from them.
  • The American Medical Association developed standards that physicians are expected to comply with in order to become and stay licensed. Alternative care deviates from the AMA standards.
  • Insurances plans may not provide benefits for treatments and therapies that are considered CAM, or may provide limited benefits.
  • There is not an abundance of professionally published data on the subject. There are numerous books and articles that are of the authors' opinion, but few which are of fact and scientifically proven.  
Dr. Sullivan's Recommendations 
I am proud to offer treatments and therapies that are noninvasive, effective, and considered to be a part of the CAM group of therapies. There are many changes occurring in the healthcare industry, some for the better and some for the worse, but I do feel that overall patients are taking more ownership of their healthcare and understanding their options.
In regards to whether patients should participate in more conventional treatments vs. CAM, I believe that the decision is individual for each patient. I believe that conventional medicine is needed and extremely necessary for emergency situations, but for acute and chronic issues, and even for some diseases, other CAM methods should be researched and tried by the patient. I personally prefer to exhaust noninvasive options before moving forward to conventional medicine. But, if the CAM methods do not work for patients, then by all means conventional medicine should be utilized. 
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Note: The material provided in this newsletter is for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein may not always reflect the views of the NOVA Chiropractic, nor do they imply an endorsement. 
In This Issue
Understanding Your Health Options
Conventional Medicine
Problems with Conventional Medicine
CAM: Complimentary and Alternative Medicine
Why CAM May Not be Practiced by Physcians
Dr. Sullivan's Recommendations
NOVA Chiropractic Blog Article
Additional Articles
Help Dr. Sullivan Spread the Word!
Laser Therapy
Updated HIPPA Notice of Privacy Practices
2014 Office Policy Updates
Healthy Recipes
Natural Remedies
The Healthy Alternative
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