Pharmacy at a U.S. Army Base in France.Pharmacy at a U.S. Army Base in France.
Time Early to mid 1800s-1900s
Title Allopathic medicine emerges as the primary Western medical model

Allopathy is the type of medicine most familiar to westerners today. Allopathy is a biologically based approach to healing. For instance, if a patient has high blood pressure, an allopathic physician might give him/her a drug that lowers blood pressure.

In 1848, the allopathic rationalists create the American Medical Association (AMA) and gain a strong organizational edge. Even though many American clinics once relied on homeopathy and naturopathy, allopathic medicine quickly rises to dominance. Allopathy’s popularity is due to successful scientific progress including the production of certain vaccines and development of specific drugs that treat disease.

During this same era, the discovery of antibiotics triggers rapid growth of the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmacy evolves as an enabling discipline to allopathic medicine, helping it to achieve and maintain its dominance through many successful treatments and cures.

Mental illness and emotional disorders are usually seen as either brain diseases or, in earlier allopathic practices, as character flaws. Physicians seek to treat these disorders by affecting brain physiology with pharmaceuticals or with counseling or behavior modification. Allopathic medicine does not initially emphasize the mind’s impact on health or healing.

Early allopaths follow in Descartes’ footsteps, holding a mechanical view of the body and separating it into component parts. They look for physical causes for disease and seek to name, define and treat specific illnesses.

Spirituality is kept largely separate from health and healing matters. It is usually viewed as a non-scientific approach to health and healing.

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