What are the Difference between Conventional and Alternative Medicine?

What are the Difference between Conventional and Alternative Medicine?


It can be confusing to navigate through the various types and styles of medicine offered in today’s modern world. More than ever before, people are taking charge of their health and seeking alternative methods to achieving lasting health and wellness. Knowing how these approaches differ (and how they are similar) will help you find the best option that is in line with your beliefs, body, mind, and life.

Conventional Medicine (also described as Western, Allopathic or Traditional Medicine) places a heavy emphasis on diagnosing and suppressing symptoms produced by a condition or disease.  Conventional Medicine excels in resolving acute life threatening situations such as diseases, infections, traumas etc., however do not focus on identifying the underlying cause. Treatment typically involves pharmaceutical drugs, surgery, and procedures for both acute and chronic diseases.  Medical Doctors may also specialize in one area or organ of the body (Endocrinologist, Nephrologist, Hematologist, Neurologist, etc.), and do not always take the approach of treating the human body as one whole, complete system1. 

Alternative Medicine describes an approach to healing that uses alternate modalities not practiced in Conventional Medicine. Treatment does not include the use of medications or invasive procedures, rather more natural therapies such as, herbs, supplements, massage, etc. Examples of Alternative Medicine include; Naturopathy, Acupuncture, Herbalism, Homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda and so on. Alternative Medicine is practiced by certified practitioners and may be used as a stand-alone treatment plan or alongside Conventional Medicine2.

Holistic Medicine views and treats the human body emphasizing a whole-body approach. This means that not only are physical ailments addressed, but also factors affecting the mind and spirit. Any practitioner can be holistic in their approach, therefore, any practitioner who takes a comprehensive stance in the treatment of their patients is practicing Holistic Medicine1.

Naturopathic Medicine applies a broad range of therapies for treatment options that are of natural origin. Depending on the practitioner, they may use any or all Alternative Medicine therapies. The natural approach to healing the body focuses mainly on diet and lifestyle modifications, detoxification, supplemental support, etc1.

Integrative Medicine as the name implies, integrates or combines, treatments from both Conventional and Non-Conventional (Alternative) Medicine.  Dr. Andrew Weil defines Integrative Medicine as: “… a healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person (body, mind & spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship and makes use of all appropriate therapies, both conventional and alternative1.”

Functional Medicine has a central goal of discovering the origin, or root cause, of a disease or condition. This approach aims to not only discover the root cause, but to prevent, manage, reverse and resolve the primary cause.  Functional Medicine treats each person individually with a holistic and integrative style, placing a heavy emphasis on how gut health, environment, diet, and lifestyle influence disease manifestation and expression1.

At Puro Wellness Center we provide our members with comprehensive programs that utilize various forms of Alternative Medicine specific to each individual.  We begin with specific lab work to find the root cause through testing serum, stool, and saliva.  Once objective data is obtained, our members follow a step-by-step approach to addressing the cause through Detox, Nutrition, Exercise, Hormone balancing, and Nervous system support. Proper education is implemented throughout the program so our members not only resolve their current health concerns, but also learn how to maintain these results for their lifetime. Our goal at Puro is to enhance overall quality of life for everyone we work with. We also collaborate with our member’s physicians, if needed, to determine what is missing and what is potentially interfering with their bodies from healing and functioning properly.  Puro’s natural, integrative, and comprehensive approach is why our members achieve and maintain lasting results and wellness.




  1. Nikogosian, A MD. What is the difference between functional medicine, integrative medicine, holistic medicine and naturopathy?  2017, January 10. Retrieved from: http://southwestfunctionalmedicine.com/functional-integrative-holistic-naturopathy/
  2. Mandel, I. Understanding Difference Between Holistic, Alternative, and Complementary Medicine.2009, VOL. 1 NO. 10, PG. 1/1. Retrieved from: http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/articles/9/understanding-differences-between-holistic-alternative-and-complementary-medicine

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