Are Alternative Health Remedies A Useful Tool Or Just Outdated Medicine?

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The famous inventor Thomas Edison once said “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

Some view natural alternative health remedies as a temporary fascination that will fade into the sunset over time while others perceive alternative health treatments as the way of the future. But the idea that they may lead the way seems the more plausible of the two theories, with preventative medicine replacing that of reactionary medicine.

One of the great myths about alternative natural remedies has been there is no firm scientific evidence confirming the effectiveness of natural treatments. To dispel this all one has to do is pick up any credible natural health reference guide or naturopathic medicine manual. And despite the attempts of many major pharmaceutical companies continuing to marginalize the use of alternative natural remedies they continue to develop medicines based on the very natural treatment that they wish to discredit.

The idea behind the use of natural healing is something referred to as full spectrum approach. This concept is much different than that behind that of prescription medications. Let’s look at how the two theories would be almost diametrically opposed. For our example let’s use my neighbor John who smokes, doesn’t exercise, and has high cholesterol.

John is already on a number of medications and goes for his annual physical only to find that he has high cholesterol. His doctor tells him he really should quit smoking and then writes a prescription for a statin medication and tells John to come back in three weeks for a follow up. In the follow up tests show the statin has crashed Johns cholesterol too low leading to muscle aches and pain. The doctor makes the needed adjustment in dosage and suggests mild pain relievers if pain persists.

Now let’s look at the naturopathic approach. John hasn’t smoked in years due to the advice of his natural health specialist. He uses exercise as a moderate tool to help him relieve stress and boost immune system function. Upon testing high for cholesterol levels his doctor suggests eating fish a couple of times a week and reducing his intake of saturated fat to below 10 percent of total calories and suggests a fish oil supplement. He tells John that diet modification should bring his high cholesterol numbers down but tells him there are a number of natural remedies available if needed.

If you eat a high cholesterol high fat diet, don’t exercise, smoke, are overweight, and are constantly bombarded with stress chances are you will likely be very unhealthy. This will ultimately lead to numerous conditions and medicines being prescribed, as is the case with John. And quite honestly the use of alternative health remedies likely wouldn’t do much good anyway, since they are most effective as a part of an overall approach consisting of diet, exercise, and supplementation. In other words alternative natural remedies should be used in addition to a healthy lifestyle rather than a tool to continue to make unhealthy lifestyle choices.

The two examples above are the push and pull involved. 

The question is does the use of prescription medication enable bad behavior or is an necessary tool in the fight against disease? The answer likely falls somewhere in the middle, leading us back to the debate about the usefulness of alternative natural remedies.

Rob D. Hawkins is an enthusiastic advocate for the use of natural health products and natural living with over 10 years
experience in the field.
Learn more about natural remedies and natural health at

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