What Is Minimalism In Medicine?
As a naturopathic doctor, I have always preferred a minimalist approach to treating disease. Minimalism in medicine, can best be described by a guiding principle of naturopathic medicine which states—removing the obstacles to cure is the first step in the recovery process.
In fact, before a naturopathic doctor begins to prescribe any supplement or herb—they must first begin removing or eliminating any factors that are contributing to the disease process.
An example would be reducing the amount of food a person may be consuming, removing a food that could be causing an aggravation, reducing one’s workload, or removing an unhealthy relationship, habit, or lifestyle choice that is contributing to the disease process.
Sometimes, just removing things that are deleterious to health can dramatically improve one’s health.
A Broken And Expensive Healthcare System
While we can all agree that the American medical system is broken, we rarely discuss how doing less may sometimes be a viable treatment option.
I often hear of multiple side-effects with pharmaceutical drugs that are either over prescribed, or simply the wrong medication for the condition being treated. This in turn can lead to a worsening of symptoms and additional health challenges.
The Cure Was Worse Than The Disease
These side-effects can be both troubling and even life threatening—depending upon the type of medication and treatment. Often when patients complain of adverse reactions to medications—their healthcare provider simply switches them to a new medication, or another type of medication, to mask the adverse reactions to a drug they are taking.
A good example of an adverse drug reaction would be the over prescribing of proton pump inhibitors or (PPI’s). This class of medications is prescribed quite often to reduce acid reflux, but they come with a host of side-effects that include, a weakened digestion, malabsorption, and an increased risk for gastric infections.
This is because PPI’s reduce stomach acid, inhibiting digestion and increasing the risk of infection by pathogens that would normally be destroyed by the stomach acid.
A more practical approach to treating acid reflux would be to simply encourage the patient to slow down and chew their food, reduce caloric intake, and eliminate foods that lead to digestive upset. I have found that simply by adopting these simple minimalist approaches to aid digestion—many cases of acid reflux can be eliminated all together.
When The Situation Is Not Complicated Why Make It Complicated?
Sometimes medicine needs to be aggressive—especially in cases of advanced disease. However, many times simple lifestyle changes are all we need to do to experience good health. In those cases, minimalism in medicine is not only cost effective, it is sound medicine, and much of how I treat patients in my practice.
Medicine need not be expensive, or complicated, when viewed from the perspective of minimalism, and it may be the better treatment option.
If you would like to Find out more about my work, or to set up an appointment, you can visit my web pages at DoctorWhimsy.com I look forward to working with you.