What is Alternative Medicine?
Alternative medicine gives the impression of a ‘trendy’ new medicine that is not orthodox, this is not all that far from the truth. The definition of “History of Alternative Medicine” is a group of diverse medical practices that were collectively promoted as “Alternative Medicine” beginning in the 1970’s. These Medicines were labeled rather ‘irregular practices’ by the western medical establishment.
Alternative medicine or holistic medicine is the term for medical practices and products that are not part of conventional medicine. These medicines are used in place of rather than in conjunction with conventional or standard medicine.
Holistic Medicines have the healing effects of medicine, however do not originate from evidence gathered using a scientific method, or are contradicted by scientific evidence
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Alternative Medicine is quite rare. Holistic medicines like herbal remedies, vitamins, massage therapy, acupuncture, and yoga are only classed as alternative when they are used in place of Standard or Western medical Practices, rather than alongside.
Alternative medicine is not to be confused with complementary medicine.
Complementary medicine is a whole different group of diagnostic and therapeutic principles that are used together with conventional medicine. ‘Used together with’ is the defining difference between Alternative Medicine and Complementary Medicine.
An example of Alternative medicine is using a special diet to treat a condition/disease rather than orthodox treatment.
An example of Complementary medicine is using vitamins in conjunction with orthodox medication for neurology to control Epilepsy.
Types of Alternative Medicines:
Vitamins, dietary supplements, herbal remedies, herbal teas, massage therapy, magnet therapy, acupuncture, yoga, kinesiology, aromatherapy, homeopathy, reflexology, spiritual healing, Reiki, osteopathy, chiropractic, hypnosis, holistic nursing to name a few.
Can be all of the above, as long as it is used in conjunction with conventional medicine.
CAM covers many different practices. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), who are part of the National Institute of Health, groups CAM practices into two different groups.
- Natural products: which include vitamins, minerals, herbal and other dietary supplements.
- Mind and Body Practices: which include all of your practices to do with the body and mind funnily enough. Yoga, massage, chiropractic and osteopathy, meditation.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) focuses on the whole person and includes emotional, mental, spiritual and physical health, whereas Western Medicine focuses mostly on physical and mental.
Alternative and Complementary Medicines involve the care of the whole body and being, focus on prevention as well as treatment rather than solely treatment.