Pharmaceuticals vs. Natural Remedies: It’s the Approach that Matters

Pharmaceuticals vs. Natural RemediesConventional medicine is often criticized by the tenants of natural medicine to be symptomatic and too pharmaceuticals driven. But surprisingly, most of the time the same pattern of therapeutic behavior is just transposed into the natural medicine practice without even preceding it with any kind of evaluation. By changing only a component of the equation by using natural products instead of a pharmaceutical compound, some practitioners assume that everything is fine and there is no need for proper education and training. Miraculous products and miraculous cures are proposed without any pre-evaluation or differentiation for the clientele. Some products or cures are advertised as a fit for all. So many times I have seen natural healthcare practitioners suggesting products without doing a proper evaluation.

One of the principles of the Hippocratic Oath is, “do no harm”. Most of the time healthcare practitioners take for granted that natural products have no side effects, which is completely erroneous. Not only is this a blind approach with negative consequences, but it can overwhelm the client with the long-term cost of an unsustainable therapy, which is one of the major reasons for non-compliance. Too many supplements can overload the client in their ability to detoxify, or create undesirable side effects like a healing crisis, which is a very common consequence of an aggressive therapy.

A basic principle that should be taught in any curriculum of natural and integrative medicine is to try to find the optimal prescription for a client, which is:

  1. The minimal amount of products for maximum effect, and;
  2. A treatment approach based on problems and priorities that have been established in a previous comprehensive evaluation.

We have to keep in mind that everything can’t be done at once. This is so obvious, but is not respected by all natural practitioners. In their anxiety to get results faster, they literally swamp their client with products or therapies.

As long as the practices of natural medicine or any other type of energetic medicine do not utilize a more systematic method of client evaluation and treatment – natural and complementary medicines won’t achieve respect within the realm of modern medicine. It is important that a client is effectively evaluated before any type of treatment – whether it is natural or pharmaceutical based.

Schools of natural and integrative medicine that provide training on holistic systematic evaluations of clients will help to guide healthcare practitioners from many disciplines in prescribing safe, effective, natural and integrative treatments. Treatments that will optimize the use of products and therapies in restoring the client to a state of balanced wellness, without overstressing their system.

By Dr. Paul Drouin


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Mark Glasgow

In a world seeking instant solutions and magic bullets to remedy its increasingly chronic healthcare challenges, it’s hardly surprising that healthcare practitioners of all stripes are following in lemming-like fashion, a conventional model of medicine more focused on alleviating disease symptoms than the symptoms’ underlying causes. While alternative medicine practitioners may feel smug in consulting their favorite alternative to mainstream medicine’s vaunted “Physicians’ Desk Reference,” in their efforts to go natural, this is still nothing other than a shotgun, cookbook approach to healthcare treatment. Without proper evaluation, history-taking, and an empirically verifiable systematic approach to treatment, the multi-factorial causes underlying almost all chronic conditions would remain even if some temporary symptomatic relief were achieved.

It is much too easy to bandy about terms like “quantum medicine” and “integrative medicine” without fully realizing what they mean. Furthermore, no one will become a qualified “doctor” simply because they theoretically understand what such terms mean. Without, a full complement of therapeutic tools at one’s disposal, a solid philosophical understanding of health, and a fund of practical knowledge which is both wide and deep, the promise offered by the quantum approach to integrative medicine will remain largely unrealized. Furthermore, as Dr. Drouin points out, our credibility as CAM practitioners depends on a systematic approach to client evaluation and treatment.

I can’t but echo everything Dr. Drouin has said with the caveat that none of us can escape the reality of the risk associated with providing alternative health care related services. It seems only prudent to seek out the best training and orientation possible in preparing ourselves to practice in these increasingly litigious times. IQUIM honestly and ethically offers the much needed training while providing an ongoing real-world orientation to its students. Even more remarkable, despite offering a visionary approach to a natural integrative medicine based on quantum physics, IQUIM refuses to fossilize their approach. Instead, reflecting the humility of its founder, IQUIM enlists the help of all its community members, both faculty and students, in its ongoing effort to co-create the integrative medicine of the future. We who believe that the final solutions to integrative medicine have yet to be fully realized are fortunate to be part of such community where academic freedom and pluralism are respected in pursuit of those solutions.


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Miro Hodza

I agree, to replace western drugs with herb formulas without an in depth diagnosis is really not changing anything. In my practice as a shiatsu and Chinese medicine practitioner I came to the realisation that offering people (often friends) bits and pieces of wisdom over a cup of tea was just shooting in the dark. People are only too eager to ask I’ve got this and that, what do you think? I realised that the results were far from satisfying. These people would not-only not follow instructions properly they often did so only partially (possibly forgot) then mixed them up with other bits of advice often negating the former and concluding that its all just quackery. There was no followup andongoing care. There was never due respect nor time for proper symptom taking let alone intake forms and records.

This was just not doing anyone any good, so, I stopped it.

Nowadays I give them a broad idea of what can be done and then give them my card for a professional consultation. They deserve to get better and to do that I need the proper environment and time to give them due care, education and instructions (often written).

This gets results amd people are often astonished at how well they feel. Not surprising really, ever tried going to a car mechanic nd not actually getting things done? It sounds good but in the end the work still needs to be started and completed otherwise you’re just kidding your self.


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