The Short Version of Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine is any healing practice, treatment, or therapy that is not accepted by conventional medicine. Another way to define alternative medicine is that it is a treatment that has not been clinically to be effective.

And alternative medicine is controversial. Richard Dawkins put is best: “There is no alternative medicine. There is medicine that works, and medicine that doesn’t work.” Many people swear that alternative medicine is a scam designed to take your money, while their opponents claim that the conventional medical system is the scam. And the argument will continue for however long the two sides disagree so strongly.

What does alternative medicine include?
Like conventional medicine, alternative medicine is actually a huge set of disciplines and techniques. Here’s a quick list of just a few of those techniques:

acupuncture: using very thin needles on pressure points or energy centers to treat various illnesses
ayurveda: a varied collection of whole-body treatments originating in India
biofeedback: a modern technique of observing natural body function and learning control through thought patterns
chiropractic medicine: adjusting the bones, tendons and ligaments to treat a wide variety of conditions
herbalism: the use of herbs (and sometimes other plant, fungus, and animal pieces ) to treat disease instead of artificial drugs
homeopathy: treating conditions with tiny amounts of substances which in larger doses cause the problem in the first place
hypnosis: an altered state of awareness made up of both concentration and relaxation which is guided by someone else
meditation: the practice of focused reflection to achieve mental calm
naturopathy: a multi-disciplinary field using natural alternatives to treat illness, often with similarities to Western medicine
nutritional therapies: modifying the diet to relieve various conditions
traditional Chinese medicine (TCM): a multi-disciplinary field that works on balancing the chi (energy flow of the body)
yoga: a meditative and body practice focused on finding balance between the physical, mental and spiritual elements
As you can see above, alternative medicine is as broad as mainstream medicine in the variety of treatments available. Within each of these therapies, there are likewise sub-sets of therapies, differences in opinion and philosophy, just like any other subject so varied. I would love to go into it further, but I’m trying to keep this article short and sweet.
Alternative? Complementary? Integrative? What’s the difference?
If you’ve been looking into alternative medicine, you’ve likely find the terms “complementary medicine” or “integrative medicine.” Even if you haven’t yet discovered these terms, you soon will if you continue to dig deeper. Like here for example.

Complementary and integrative medicine are fundamentally the same thing. They are placed together under the acronym CAM (complementary and alternative medicine), though integrative medicine implies more professionalism. CAM is well named as it is using alternative – or unproven – treatment with proven treatments for a particular disorder. So it means using alternative therapies to complement more mainstream treatments. This is becoming more common world-wide, and more healthcare professionals are supplementing their treatments with various complementary medical treatments.

Is alternative medicine right for me?
That decision is up to you, your family, and your healthcare provider. Keep in mind that much of alternative medicine is of unknown effectiveness – in some cases even dis-proven. It’s recognized as most effective for relatively minor, chronic conditions. For more serious or sudden illness, other treatment might be better. Use your common sense, and then choose the best treatment for whatever condition you want to cure, whatever that treatment might be.

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The Alternative Medicine Review For Your Assistance

The alternative medicines are most widely and successfully used in the recent times as an alternative program to the conventional medicines. Magnetic therapy as an alternative therapy has been in use for a long time. Magnetic therapy is very effective in dealing with pains and aches, sprains and wounds. Often people who are suffering from arthritis choose to have magnetic bands and chains attached to their bodies rather than visit the physician millions of times and get lists of medicines that simply clutter their immune system and yet offer no satisfactory results.

One great factor about magnetic therapy as an alternative therapy is the fact that magnetic therapies are absolutely safe without any side effects or long-term hazards. Alternative medicine review of most medicines depict that the alternative therapy are effectual and do not have unfavorable side effects. It has also been seen that most of the alternative medicines work in conjunction and under the dictates of conventional medicine and thus, they are not a remote branch of medicine at all.

Alternative medicines are generally natural methods of treatment and hence they are considered to be pure and safe. Medicine of any type affect different people in different methods and at times alternative therapy treatment can affect a patient fatally as much as conventional medicine can. However, it is generally seen that alternative therapy, being natural, does not have negative effects on the patient. Since the magnetic therapy constitutes the use of magnets and the magnetic field to cure pains, it is safe to read the guidelines before administering the magnet to the skin.

At times, men and women who benefit from a small treatment that they undergo in alternative therapy, care to believe that all major treatments in alternative medicine are also as effective. Well it might be but again there are chances of the major illnesses being not cured as effectively as the small problem. This is a case that is common to all medicines and one can resort to other methods if alternative medicine does not work. This is one of the greatest aspects about alternative medicines as one can jump to mainstream medicine if this branch fails to work.

Also as the alternative medicine review says, the money spent in alternative medicines is comparatively lesser than the amount that is generally spent in mainstream medicine. Alternative medicines treatment might take a period to effect the results. The magnet therapy works wonders only if you give it some time to function properly. So if you are a name who expects relief to come your way with the snap of your fingers then alternative medicine is not an approach that you should try.

Alternative medicine review talks about alternative medicine as being one of the best options to choose for treatment if you dislike hospitals and too many medicines. The magnetic therapy for curing pain is safe and easy method for permanent relief.

The History of Alternative Medicine

A New Fad or Steeped in Ancient History?

You may be new to using alternative medicine or perhaps you have already seen the amazing benefits alternative medicine and alternative therapies can bring to your life. But do you know how long its been practiced and where it originated? Well let me take you on a journey into the fascinating history of alternative medicine.

The history of Alternative Medicine is an interesting one and has links with many different cultures. However it’s difficult to say exactly when Alternative Medicine began, in part because up until recently the practices that fall under this term were the conventional medical practices of their time. But if we go back in history and trace several of the forms of healing that are now labelled as alternative we find that their origins go back as much as 5000 years.

From Eastern Philosophy to Widely used Western Alternatives

One of the oldest forms of alternative medicine can be traced back through Chinese history. The ancient Chinese, in much the same way as alternative medicine is used today, based their healing on the importance of the body and spirit being in balance. Much of the philosophy of Chinese Medicine is based on Taoist and Buddhist principals and the belief that a person and their environment are closely interlinked. The widely known principles of Yin and Yang come from Chinese Medicine and are integral to its practice. Yin and Yang explains how opposing forces are integral to each other and how for harmony within the body to take place, these must be in balance. When these are out of balance, disease occurs.

Chinese Medicine works at restoring balance in various ways including herbal medicine, acupuncture, breathing and movement (Tai Chi and Qigong) and also through diet. The practitioner looked at the patient’s health and life in detail to ascertain where their life force or Qi (pronounced Chi) was out of balance. Various methods would then be used to restore the patient back to health. Such was the effectiveness of Chinese Traditional Medicine that it still forms a large part of modern health care in the East. It’s not unusual for these “alternative” practices to be used in hospitals alongside western medicine.

The other Eastern Culture that has a long history of alternative medicine is India. Ayurvedic medicine dates back as far as 6000 years ago and like Chinese Medicine also has links with Buddhism. Ayurveda comes from 2 Sanskrit words – Ayu meaning life and veda meaning knowledge of. It is a system of medicine that keeps a persons body, mind and spirit in tune with nature in order to maintain good health.

When in Rome …..

In the West, the History of Alternative Medicine goes back around 3000 years. Treatments such as hydrotherapy were popular with the Romans and Greeks. The Ancient Greeks who were greatly influenced by the Babylonians and to a lesser extent by India and China brought herbalism into the West. Hippocrates (c. 460-377 BC), a Greek physician commonly referred to as the Father of Medicine, practiced herbal medicine.

During the Middle Ages, Monks in Europe studied and grew medicinal plants and translated many works on the subject from Arabic. Folk Healers also passed on their knowledge of healing through word of mouth, from Master to Apprentice. The understanding of the power different plants have is ingrained in many native civilisations and has allowed man to understand and thrive in often challenging environments. When the Europeans settled in America they found that the Native Americans had an extensive knowledge of the healing power of their indigenous herbs. Likewise the Aborigines in Australia understood the power of plants found in their environment.

Moving forward in time towards the 19th Century, before the rise of Western Medicine, as we now know it, medical practitioners were more like today’s naturopaths. They would take a detailed medical history paying particular attention to the patient’s lifestyle. They would then suggest ways to improve this by changes in diet, environment and would also prescribe herbal remedies.

How a Bit of Mould Turned the Tables on Alternative Medicine

The widespread use of alternative medicine in its various forms decreased during the 20th Century. Treatment of patients became more focused on the use of hospitals, and developments in modern medicine lead to the widespread use of Pharmaceutical Drugs to treat disease. The discovery of Penicillin and its development into a drug that could treat bacterial infections in the 1940’s revolutionised health care and alternative medicine lost favour with most medical practitioners.

Although many Doctors let go of what they considered to be outdated treatments such as homeopathy, herbalism and traditional Chinese Medicine many patients still sort them out, especially when conventional medicine didn’t appear to be working for them.

No Longer An Alternative, Now Another Choice for Achieving Better Health

The result now is that Alternative Medicine is on the increase. Practices such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, aromatherapy and healing are kept alive by practitioners who specialise in one of more alternative form of treatment. Frequently alternatives are used alongside modern medical treatments, which have led to alternatives being given the term complimentary medicine.

This brief history of alternative medicine shows that many of the practices used today have been with us for thousands of years. Given the rising popularity of using alternative medicine to deal with health issues today, it’s likely that these practices will be around for many more.