What is the difference between the Western Medical Model -- also known as the Allopathic Model -- and the Empowerment Model used by natural practitioners? Doctors and natural health practitioners alike care about the individuals they work with. However, they differ in their approach and tool box.
Western Allopathic Model:
Some have described the Western medical model as being less concerned with health care then it is with “sick care.” It responds to symptoms (specifically or collectively) rather than to the individual as a whole. It identifies diseases and provides a prescription to eradicate or alleviate the symptoms. For example, a conventional doctor wouldn’t necessarily look at your stress levels or lifestyle choices to determine a treatment; they would treat the manifestation of the root cause, the disease. Conventional medicine is based on a diagnostic and prescriptive approach which is passive, whereby the patient (literally “one who receives action or is affected”) is one who follows the doctor’s orders. To be fair, doctors and medical staff may want to educate their patients but they simply don’t have enough time to sit with them, explain each step, and support them through the changes. A traditional health coach would excel in this role.
In acute illness or trauma, conventional emergency medicine is often the most appropriate response. However, for chronic ailments, many have found the allopathic medical model to be inadequate or ineffective and are therefore seeking alternatives. With the advent of the Internet, the public is more informed about health issues and more interested in what causes them, how to prevent them and what natural remedies are available. Equipped with this knowledge, more consumers are questioning the medical model and choosing to take health matters into their own hands. They often seek alternative practitioners and natural health professionals to assist them in becoming healthier.
The primary goal of the empowerment model is for the client to have the information that will serve both today and in the future. This model views the health practitioner as an educator and the client as a whole person instead of a set of symptoms. The model embraces the belief that through knowledge, the client can become empowered to take greater personal responsibility for his or her health. This model is holistic and active. The practitioner approaches the client from a position of equality and support. Like a health coach, the practitioner helps the client optimize his health. Together, they create a team. They develop a “health plan” to work towards the client’s greater health and healing. Natural medicine focuses heavily on prevention. For example, natural health practitioners prioritize supporting the immune system so that the body can naturally protect and heal itself from ailments. And the factors determining the solution(s) focus on the root cause and a whole-person approach addressing emotions, nutritious foods, exercising, lifestyle habits, supplementing nutrition as needed, and using non-invasive techniques as much as possible.