Understanding Alternative Medicine in Comparison to Conventional Medicine

Are you wondering which type of medicine or treatment to choose?  Let's look at a quick comparison of conventional medicine and alternative medicine so you'll better understand the advantages and disadvantages of each.

"Conventional medicine" refers to medicine practiced by medical doctors and doctors of osteopath.  Alternative medicine is more of a system of theory and practice that has been used by many different cultures around the world for centuries.  There are several differences in conventional and alternative medicines, but you may also find some practitioners that use both modalities. 

Can Good Health Really Be Promoted?


A major emphasis of alternative medicine is good health and the prevention of disease.  With alternative medicine, an individual is using natural remedies to build up the immune system for fighting off infection and disease.   Each person is treated as an individual.  Then, a specialized treatment is used for their needs.  Through extensive questioning and diagnostic tools, the practitioner works to determine a possible cause of health problems.  If there are underlying factors influencing your health, they will work to find the problem.  Instead of using the same treatment on everyone with a common symptom, they try to find the hidden cause and treat it.

 The Different Methods Encompassed in Alternative Medicine -

 There are several different kinds of alternative medicines:  homeopath, osteopath, chiropractic, herbal medicine, massage and acupuncture.  Alternative medicine practitioners usually have a quality education with degree-level exams and monitored evaluation.  Other therapies not as common are reflexology and aromatherapy, which use less invasive methods.  These are more independent practitioners sometimes using methods developed on their own.

The purpose of alternative medicine is to stimulate the body's healing process.  Instead of trying to rid the body of a disease or symptom, the whole body is treated, and the cause is addressed.  That is why a whole regimen is sometimes suggested.  This could include dietary changes, exercises, and an herbal remedy.  By treating the cause, you have more chance of a complete cure.  In most cases, these treatments are not as costly as conventional medicines.

How Widely Used is Alternative Medicine?  It Sounds So Foreign!

 Many companies are now offering alternative medicine in their healthcare packages.  In recent years, Americans have spent billions of dollars on unconventional medicine, doctor's visits, and herbal remedies.  As a result, many drug stores and chain stores are even stocking natural remedies.

How do Conventional Treatments Differ?

In conventional medicine, the symptoms are attacked aggressively with surgery and drugs.  Instead of the whole body being considered at one time, each organ is attended separately.  Medical schools are divided into organ specific departments where the organs are learned about separately, and are not taught as being related to each other.  This works fine for emergency and trauma treatments, but does not promote better overall health.

 The treatments used in conventional medicine are the result of scientific research and successful results.  Many doctors are convinced that these are the best for their patients.  But in most cases, they will treat everyone with the same treatment when they could have very different factors affecting their health.  Many doctors specialize in one area and only know that one field well.

 Can Both Methods Be Used Simultaneously?

 Some doctors use alternative medicine in a complimentary manner along with their conventional treatments.  Several medical schools and renowned hospitals are offering courses and clinics using alternative medicines and methods.  This is also quite common in many European countries.

 Most people assume that only the latest high-tech treatments will be affective, but sometimes these are not as tried and proven as the old time remedies passed down through the centuries.  The best thing to do is gather as much information as you can before you making a judgment or decision about a route of treatment.  Many times people are skeptical or fearful because they do not know the facts.

 How Can We Be Prepared To Make the Best Decisions? 

Even though our bodies are generally very resilient and have the amazing ability to heal themselves, there are times that we will need help.  It is best to be informed about both conventional and alternative medicines when the time comes to make a choice.


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