Did you know there are different branches of medicine? Most of us think
that there is only the one, called Allopathic Medicine - the branch of
medicine that uses the designation of M.D. Yet many more branches are
coming into more frequent use in today's Western world of medicine.
These are often called "Alternative Medicine". Some of these
branches are Naturopathic, Homeopathic, Ayurvedic, Osteopathic, Chiropractic,
Chinese, and more. In this article, we present the similarities and differences
between doctors trained in Conventional and Alternative Medicine and illustrate
how they collaborate with one another to provide effective medical care
for patients. At Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine, we integrate three
of the branches of medicine: Allopathic, Homeopathic and Naturopathic
Medicine so our patients can receive the best medical care possible.
Allopathic Medicine, commonly referred to as “conventional medicine”,
is a system of medicine that aims to combat disease through the suppression
of symptoms by the use of pharmaceutical drugs or surgery. The doctors
who practice Allopathic Medicine have the designation M.D. after their
name and are often referred to as Medical Doctor.
Homeopathic Medicine is a holistic form of medicine aimed to restore the
body to its natural state and healthy balance by prescribing a remedy
designed to stimulate the body's internal healing process rather than
to suppress the symptoms using pharmaceutical drugs. Homeopathic Medicine
is a system of treatment that is based on
Law of Similars, “like cures like”; meaning a substance which can cause symptoms
of illness in a well person, can, when given in a very diluted miniscule
amounts, eliminate those very same or similar symptoms in an ill person.
A remedy is prescribed to an individual based on his or her unique state
of physical, mental and emotional well-being. Two people with severe headaches,
for example, might not receive the same remedies. Allopathic Doctors (M.D.)
who are licensed in Arizona as Homeopathic Physicians have the designation
M.D.(H) after their name and are often referred to as Homeopathic Physicians.
Naturopathic Medicine, also known as "natural medicine", is a
type medical system that uses a holistic approach in treating the person
addressing the mind, body and spirit of the person instead of treating
disease initially with pharmaceutical drugs or surgery. Naturopathic Medicine
treats disease states, symptoms and maladies with non-invasive and less
toxic treatments encouraging minimal use of pharmaceutical drugs or surgery.
The physicians who practice Naturopathic Medicine have the designation
N.D. or N.M.D. after their name and are often referred to as Naturopathic
Doctor, or Naturopathic Medical Doctor..
A good analogy to understand how Allopathic, Homeopathic and Naturopathic
Medicine co-exist is to consider medicine as analogous to a tree with
many branches with each branch representing a different philosophy of
medicine. In this case, three of the branches represent Allopathic, Homeopathic
and Naturopathic Medicine, with each branch of medicine having its own
tools and methodologies sharing a common trunk and root of medicine, the
healing arts, which is to protect and improve a patient's health.
The primary differences between the two disciplines are in the philosophical
approach and the therapies they use in their practice:
Allopathic Doctors address and treat the symptoms of disease rather than
the source of the illness by using pharmaceutical drugs or surgery. They
are best at doing
interventional medicine, which is treating acute and emergency conditions. Depending
on their medical training, Allopathic Doctors are either general practitioners
such as primary care/family doctor, or specialists such as allergist,
cardiologist, dermatologist, endocrinologist, Emergency Room doctor, Ears-Nose-Throat
doctor, surgeon, etc.
Naturopathic and Homeopathic Doctors use a holistic approach when treating
patients. They examine the environment, lifestyle, physical and emotional
well-being of individual patients to address the root causes of the disease
and use natural, non-invasive and non-toxic therapies as treatments. Some
of the therapies used are nutritional supplements, herbal supplements,
I.V. (intravenous) nutritional therapy, acupuncture, homeopathy, hydrotherapy,
minor surgery, physical medicine among others. They use pharmaceutical
drugs as a last resort. They are best at getting results with treating
chronic conditions and preventing disease. Naturopathic Doctors are trained
to be primary care physicians. Homeopathic Doctors may come from many
Both kinds of physicians can diagnose a disease, predict its course and
prescribe treatment. The essential difference between the two is the method
of treatment they prescribe.
They both are required to obtain a college degree with emphasis in pre-med
before entering medical school. They study biomedical sciences at a four-year
accredited graduate medical school, with a curriculum composed of rigorous
biomedical sciences covering anatomy, biochemistry, cardiology, dermatology,
embryology, histology, immunology, microbiology, minor surgery, neurosciences,
pathology, pharmacology, physiology, laboratory and physical diagnosis,
clinical case analysis, and others.
The first two years of their medical training are essentially the same.
The final two years are different in that Allopathic Doctors do clinical
training in hospitals with primary focus on conventional therapeutics,
whereas Naturopathic Doctors do clinical training in outpatient clinics
covering both alternative
and conventional therapeutics.
Furthermore, in their final two years of clinical training, Allopathic
Doctors are involved with direct patient care, with clinical rotations
in both outpatient and hospital settings, covering conventional medical
treatments in the operating room, the hospital wards, the radiology suites
and outpatient clinics and offices. Naturopathic Doctors are also involved
with direct patient care, with clinical rotations in the outpatient setting,
covering diverse areas in general conventional medicine
and alternative medicine such as acupuncture, botanical medicine, clinical
nutrition/IV nutritional therapy, environmental medicine, homeopathy,
hydrotherapy, minor surgery, physical medicine and others.
The primary differences between an Allopathic Doctor and a Homeopathic
Physician are in the philosophical approach and the therapies they use
in their practice.
Allopathic Doctors (M.D) who also trained in Homeopathic Medicine (MD(H)
are required to take extra post-graduate training, and pass a written
Homeopathic Examination in order to be licensed as a Homeopathic Physician.
In the State of Arizona, a Homeopathic Physician can incorporate the following
modalities for which they are trained in their practice: acupuncture,
heavy metal chelation therapy, homeopathy, minor surgery, neuromuscular
integration, nutrition, and orthomolecular therapy.
Furthermore, Homeopathic Physicians share similar philosophies and modalities
with Naturopathic Physicians in that they treat the whole person.
Despite how they were medically trained, our doctors at Arizona Center
for Advanced Medicine share a common ground in that they practice
Functional Medicine. Functional Medicine emphasizes
treating the patient and not the disease by using a systems biology approach to analyze how all of the components
of an individual's biological system, lifestyle and environment interact
with each other. The doctors use all the tools of healing from both conventional
and other branches of medicine, and apply
Functional Medicine to identify and address the root causes of disease by treating the body
as a whole integrated system rather than an isolated set of symptoms.
Our doctors at Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine believe
Functional Medicine is the best approach to restore the function and balance to the body.
We call it good medicine.
The Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine is truly an integrative medical
practice composed of a collaboration of Doctors and Associates who are
trained and licensed in both Conventional and Alternative Medicine.
Martha Grout, M.D., M.D.(H) is trained as an Emergency Room Physician with unique background training
in dual licensure in Allopathic and Homeopathic Medicine, and with clinical
training in both conventional and alternative medicine.
Deborah Marie Murphy, PA-C is a Physician Assistant with training in women's health, asthma,
integrative cancer therapy and allergy management.
Steven Swerdfeger, PhD, CH is a Practitioner of Hypnosis and Guided Imagery with emphasis in treating
people with phantom limb pain, anxiety and depression, phobias, chronic
pain, elimination of recurrent and/or unwanted patterns, the enhancement
of abilities, and the management and reduction of stress.
Nancy Wigton, M.A., LPC, BCN, QEEGT is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Board Certified Neurofeedback
therapist with emphasis in using Neurofeedback as a viable alternative
to drugs in the treatment of Attention Deficit related issues, Anxiety
and Depression related disorders, and Learning related issues.
At Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine, we understand that each patient
is unique, so his or her treatment needs to be tailored individually.
Our primary goal is to ensure each patient receives the best medical care
possible by integrating Conventional and Alternative Medicine under one
roof so that
every patient benefits from the best of both worlds.