Have you ever taken green tea or some other dried herbs to treat any health conditions? Have you ever used poultice, home remedies, or believe more in the use of herbal medicines to treat medical concerns? Then you have been engaging in traditional or alternative medicine, as against scientific and medical drugs to treat health conditions.
Many people in Asia, South America, and Africa rely more on home remedies and herbal or traditional medicines than they do on medical or hospital-related treatments, and the reasons for this are not far-fetched: traditional folks believe local herbs are more potent than synthetic drugs; they believe local medicine is related to traditional religions and beliefs; they believe local use of herbs and the esoterism surrounding it preserves the ancient knowledge of the ancestors, which is usually handed down from generation to generation. The body of alternative medicine is therefore largely based on cultural and religious beliefs.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
While alternative medicine has been described as the use of local herbs and traditional healing methods to treat health conditions, complementary medicine on the other hand is the use of scientific, medical treatments to complement traditional medicine or vice-versa; and integrative medicine is the combination of both medical and local medicines to treat health conditions. Alternative medicine might therefore incorporate a wide range of healthcare practices, therapies, and products.
Types of alternative medicines
There are several types of alternative medicine, depending on cultural regions and places. Some of them are:
– Energy medicine
– Ayurvedic medicine
– Mind and body healing
– Chinese and other traditional medicines
– Christian faith healing
– Others – acupuncture, hypnosis, yoga meditations, etc.
Other categories of alternative medicine are also available upon research.
Benefits of alternative medicine
The benefits and evidence of results in alternative medicine are wide and varied.
- Alternative medicine does not use synthetic medical drugs for treatment
- Traditional health medicine and procedures are not invasive like medical surgeries
- Alternative medicine relies more in boosting the body system to fight and work out its own healing
- Traditional medicine is a lot cheaper and economical than conventional medicine
- It can be combined with medical healthcare for greater good, as in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)
- It uses local herbs, balms, concoctions, animal parts for ingredients, etc.
Conclusions – always consult your healthcare provider for guidance
It must be noted that most scientific and medical experts disprove of alternative medicine as quackery, pseudoscience, misleading, superstition, and fraud. And many others believe that alternative medicine actually works but care must be taken in its administration so that it does not become counter-productive. In one word, medical experts consider alternative or traditional medicine as nonsense because it is not wholly based on proven scientific techniques; and traditional or alternative medicine practitioners consider the conventional medical field as nonsense and bad for the body system. The bottom line is this: both alternative and medical medicines are good and effective, but you must always consult your medical provider if you can combine or integrate alternative medicine into your conventional medical care to achieve anticipated results.