The American Medical Association (AMA) refers to MD medical students as "allopathic" medical students. This term describes the conventional Western medical system of practice. "Allopathic" comes from the Greek word "allos" meaning other, or opposite, and "pathos" meaning suffering or disease. Stedman's Medical Dictionary calls allopathic medicine "a therapeutic system in which a disease is treated by producing a second condition which is incompatible with or antagonistic to the first".
Conventional allopathic medicine is the kind of medicine practiced by most health care providers in the current insurance-based system. It is a disease management approach, rather than a preventive approach. It is based on principles of warfare - use of knives and poisons. We remove tumors, infections and other masses surgically. We kill bacteria and cancer cells with poisons, in the hope that we do not kill our patient at the same time. We treat body parts with damaging radiation, in the hope that irradiation will kill only that body part which we do not want, such as tumors, without damaging that which we do want to keep, such as healthy intact skin and healthy organs.
Allopathic medicine treats acute illness well. Boils need to be lanced, we need insulin when the pancreas can no longer produce it, and if our airways are squeezed so tight that we are turning blue, pharmaceuticals and artificial respiration can be life-saving.
However, when the acute crisis has passed, who wants to live the rest of their days on a respirator, or taking steroid medication to suppress the inflammatory symptoms? Side effects of the treatments begin to outweigh the benefits. We develop pneumonia, we develop severe physical dysfunction from the effect of continued excessive steroid medication, we lose our normal intestinal flora and develop chronic digestive upset, we develop side effects from the medication itself... and the list of disadvantages goes on.
Allopathic medicine can define and identify the process of turning DNA switches off and on. It looks only to pharmaceutical medication to actually do the switching. Allopathic medicine can identify diseases associated with severe vitamin deficiency. Its best effort prescribes only enough vitamin to keep the body from succumbing to severe deficiency. It feels that everyone has the same vitamin requirement, and that 95% of people will be served by the same dose of substance.
Allopathic medicine is beginning to discover that even people with the same genetic inheritance will manifest disease in different ways. Angelman and Willi-Prader syndromes are both due to the same micro-deletion on chromosome 15. The difference in expression depends on whether the chromosome was inherited from the father or the mother. Allopathic medicine does not have any treatment, however, to improve the condition of patients with either of these syndromes.
Allopathic medicine is very good when the body is acutely injured, or when it is in crisis. If I have a broken arm, a cast is appropriate. If I have an acute inflammation of my appendix, it would be a good idea to remove the offending organ surgically before it ruptures. If I am dying of bacterial pneumonia, antibiotics may save my life. However, allopathic medicine is not geared at detecting imbalance at an early (energetic) stage. Its major contribution is to crisis medicine, where it is often very effective.
Before that time, there are many opportunities to alter the downward slide into ill health. These opportunities may be addressed by advanced homeopathic medicine, based on sound principles of physiology and biochemistry.