What Is Domestic Medicine?

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  • Written By: Synthia L. Rose
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 15 December 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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Modern domestic medicine is the nontraditional, largely unregulated branch of medicine reliant on natural remedies, holistic rituals, folk healing strategies and the use of health practitioners who provide services primarily through home visits, such as midwives and doulas. In past centuries when hospitals were crude and mainly for wealthy classes, domestic medicine was common, as families passed down remedies from one generation to successive generations. Domestic medicine generally does not refer to practices like hospice care or palliative care, which are coordinated by physicians for homebound patients in conjunction with medical facilities.

To practice domestic medicine, people employ nutritional health practices such as eating raw foods, drinking fresh juices and partaking of algae and marine vegetables. Some even grow their own organic gardens or join cooperatives for farm foods. Detoxification methods, fasting, dried herbs, teas and even spiritual meditation or prayers might be components to domestic health regimens.

Families often forge relationships with vitamin stores, herbalists and other holistic families to receive or exchange supplies. Practitioners are guided in their home-based medical practices through wellness books written by nutritionists and doctors that list symptoms, origins and treatments for common ailments. Advocates of domestic medicine favor it for treating both physical illness and psychological or behavioral illness.


People who choose to practice domestic medicine to treat themselves often do so for philosophical or financial benefits, but the practice does come with detriments. Many domestic medicine advocates ethically oppose the use of chemical treatments, radiation or prescription drugs that they believe can potentially cause undesirable side effects. Practitioners also prefer the calming, familiar home environment over an impersonal clinical one. The cheaper costs of home-based medicine when generally compared to the costs of regular doctor’s office visits, hospital examinations and monthly prescriptions can make home-based medicine attractive. Many domestic medicine advocates report feeling a sense of empowerment from being in charge of their treatment routines.

One detriment, however, is that if there is a health emergency while practicing an alternative treatment, the user will not have immediate access to advanced medical equipment or medical experts. Also, holistic medicine and alternative therapies often lack research to support healing claims. Generally unable to oversee medicine practiced at home, government agencies cannot affirm the safety of this branch of medicine.

Insurance companies also do not cover most domestic medicine practices. Individuals most likely to choose domestic medicine over traditional medicine include enthusiasts of holism who believe nature should be the basis of all healing, religious people whose tenets oppose practices such as transfusion, intravenous therapy and artificial respiration. People without insurance who cannot afford mainstream medicine might also be attracted to home-based medicine.



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