People often tend to classify healthcare treatments into two types of categories, so-called alternative medicine and a more standard Western approach to medicine.

Neither is particularly accurate or helpful, as both definitions can give a slightly misleading impression of the different approaches that all healing traditions have to improve people's health.

Alternative medicine

This category tends to cover all treatments that are not specifically a medical approach, including diagnosis by a registered medical practitioner, treatment either surgical or medical and postoperative care where appropriate.

The attraction of alternative treatments for people needing help is that most of them focus on what they refer to as a holistic approach to healing the human body.

This means that they treat the whole person, as opposed to an individual part of the body or a particular ailment that the person has.


In many ways, naturopathy is the most natural of alternative treatments, taking its name from the belief that nature is the creative and the curative force behind all human health.

Naturopathy practitioners are referred to as naturopaths and can include a wide range of different approaches to holistic health.

These tend to include people who specialise in diet and nutrition, herbal medicine, homoeopathy, chiropractic, iridology, massage therapy, acupuncture, reiki and some other forms of treatment.

A naturopath will not see their form of treatment as an alternative to more traditional forms of medicine but will encourage their clients to engage with more traditional forms of health care where appropriate.

They are most likely to see their work as complementary to so-called Western medicine, which is why all these forms of treatment are sometimes referred to as complementary medicine.

A naturopath may well also be trained in some form of counselling or will have undertaken a counselling course. This allows them to practice the whole sphere of holistic medicine in a very supportive and person-centred approach.


A chiropractor in many ways epitomises the best in both approaches to healing traditions.

They have formal medical training which is extensive and very much focuses on the head, neck and spine as being the foundation of most types of health and illness.

Chiropractic is often thought of as a purely physical form of treatment, involving manipulation of the head neck and back, and is often used as a primary source of treatment for lower back problems and other physical ailments.

However, a chiropractor is very likely to have extensive knowledge of other forms of complementary medicine, especially in the areas of diet, herbal medicine, acupuncture and kinesiology.


Kinesiology is widely used in many complementary medicines as a form of diagnosis, and many chiropractors have extensive training and experience in this area.

Kinesiology is a very subtle way of checking the body's response to substances and movements, and using the body's understanding of its weaknesses and strengths to diagnose specific problems, both physical and emotional.

By using kinesiology a chiropractor brings together their extensive medical training and their experience in diagnosing problems in the physical structure of the body, allowing them to treat the whole body in a very unique and distinctive manner.

For more information, consider contacting a naturopath in your area.