“Evidence-Based Medicine” is a term that first appeared in the 1990’s, as the medical profession was making a strong push to provide higher levels of patient care. It was used to describe the concept that all medical care should be based on randomized control trials or other studies. Medical schools are now making a strong push to have students understand this concept, and to practice in accordance with strict treatment guidelines.
Medicine has always been based on some type of evidence, but for most of its history, it has been based on what is now called ‘expert opinion’. Many forms of medicine are based on ‘expert opinion’, especially traditional forms of medicine, such as acupuncture, herbalism, homeopathy, and ayurveda.
Naturopathic medicine, in many ways, bridges the gap between traditional medicine and modern scientific medicine in a way that utilizes the best of both worlds to deliver individualized care for our patients. To achieve this goal, naturopathic doctors are not only trained extensively in traditional medical systems and forms of treatment, but modern diagnostic techniques and treatment methods as well.
Naturopathic doctors will assess their patient’s diagnosable ‘disease’, along with their individual manifestation of illness to create a treatment plan that is unique to their patient; thus, for a patient with diabetes, they may recommend dietary changes that have been shown to be effective, but also recommend supplements or homeopathics that are specific to the patient.
Naturopathic doctors also understand that some people may not respond to certain therapies that have been proven effective, because these therapies have only been shown effective in a majority of patients, not 100% of patients. This is another example of how naturopaths can use modern scientific methods, but also understand their limitations in treating individual cases.