Dogma Medicine?

Conventional  Medicine versus Integrative Medicine

Integrative Medicine is a medicine in which patients receive multi disciplinary treatments according to their individual health problems.
That includes the whole spectrum: from the conventional so called western or mainstream medicine to the complementary, alternative or natural medicine. Theoretically it sounds logical, but practically it is difficult and still not widely used.

Some medical doctors, scientists and journalists are convinced that concepts of conventional medicine and alternative medicine exclude each other. Observing the medical practices of today it seems that two hostile positions are fighting a silent war with each other.

Fact is: Conventional medicine and natural medicine together could be the perfect medicine of the future. Unfortunately both sides have their problem with animosities.  None of them believes or respects the concepts and/or the competence of the other.

When someone, established in the medical community, dares to look beyond their own belief system, it is seen as a betrayal or a threat to their own community.

The conventional medical practitioners and pharmaceutical companies react to ban or restrict doctors from their associations when different treatments are practiced that are outside traditional training.
Why is it so difficult for these both sides to work together?
Fact is, many medical doctors and therapists have passionately dedicated many years of their life to study medicine and how they can help to cure illnesses.

The great success of the western medicine over the last 100 years might be the reason why medical mainstream doctors are feeling omnipotent and superior. Almost all of them are formed and influenced by many years of studying medicine that is  evidence based  and materialistic oriented natural science. They look down with a haughty smile to their colleagues who practice natural medicine and emphasize more on prevention and gentle therapeutic measures.

As a reaction to this kind of superiority many of these “alternative” doctors are frustrated, they miss mutual respect from their colleagues and finally carry out their own medical dogma.

The belief that each illness is curable with herbs, acupuncture or homeopathy is in the same way “wrong” as the conviction that every illness is curable with pharmaceutical drugs, electronic devices and surgeries.
Each person is an unique individual being and therefore requires individual treatments. Each one should try to find a therapist who he/she can really trust. This mutual trust/confidence is a very important base of successfully practicing any kind of therapy.

As a result of the controversy in medicine unfortunately most patients who are using alternative medicine as a complement to the regular medicine are literally afraid to “confess” this to their doctors.

No illness is an isolated occurrence, but always a holistic process. Physical body, mind, emotions and spirit are a unity. In illness – especially in serious conditions – this has to be addressed in the best way with a multi discipline approach, where all therapists work together and not against each other.
Hopefully more therapists of both sides will be able in the future, to “jump over their own shadow” to overcome professional pride and fear.
What we need in any aspects of life is an open mind. The oath of Hippocrates means to dedicate the professional knowledge to cure illnesses and to provide human care to sick people and not to serve blindly a dogmatic position.

There is so much knowledge on both sides of medicine, old and new knowledge, developed by modern science or experienced over thousands of years. Unfortunately much of traditional medical knowledge is not practiced widely due to the dominance of western medicine. Beside of personal benefits integrative medicine could reduce the health care costs of our countries tremendously.

Medicine has always been part of cultures and should be respected, seen and practiced holistically for the well being of the whole world.
Barbara Rotthaler, German certified Naturopath and Health Practitioner can be reached 01 376 766 1987, email:,

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