Alternative Medicine Pros and Cons
In today’s day and age we are recognizing more and more about the affects that our bodies are having with what we put inside of them. There are many advantages to using alternative medicine over the typical mainstream prescriptions and medicines. Health care professionals themselves are even becoming more and more open to alternative medicine and the benefits it can have for the body.
More and more people are turning to alternative medicines, rather than prescription drugs, in order to live a healthy lifestyle. While prescriptions used a few years ago as the primary way to treat all pain and illnesses, this is no longer the case. Alternative medicine is growing in popularity as more and more people see the benefits.
It treats the Actual Cause. One of the best advantages that alternative medicine offers is that it heals the body and is designed to actually treat the cause of the pain or disease that has occurred. By understanding and treating the disease, Chiropractors and other alternative medicine professionals are able to work at the root of the problem. Mainstream medicine, on the other hand, tends to treat the symptom that the disease or pain is causing, not actually treating the cause.
It is an improvement of the Quality of Life. When we use prescription drugs we generally see an improvement in pain, but once the drug goes out of our system the pain returns. When using alternative medicine, there is a drastic improvement in the quality of life a person has.
It is safer. Alternative medicine is a wide spectrum of therapies, and they are almost always considered to be much safer than mainstream medicine. Natural remedies are used to correct the problem. There are no man-made, unnatural substances that you would be using to put in your body.
It does not have bad side effects. When using mainstream medicine you might be able to get rid of your headache, but the side effects might include nausea, hallucinations and risk of stroke in the process. Almost all mainstream medicine has some type of warning about the bad side effects that come from taking it, where natural remedies don’t.
It is more flexible. Alternative medicine allows more flexibility in treatment plans. Many chiropractors and alternative medicine professionals’ change their treatment plans according to lifestyle changes, where mainstream medical professionals wouldn’t.
It looks at overall health of your body. Alternative medicine focuses on healing pain and disease by balancing out other aspects of your life. Sleep, nutrition and stress can affect your body, so adapting health plans with these in mind is important with alternative medicine. Mainstream medicine is not nearly as well rounded.
It doesn’t offer dependency treatment options. Prescription pills can cause dependency and other harmful side effects to the body and mind. Alternative medicine does not have those same disadvantages.
What Exactly Is Alternative Medicine?
Alternative medicine is a term that describes medical treatments that are used instead of traditional (mainstream) therapies. Some people also refer to it as “integrative, ” or “complementary” medicine.
More than half of adults in the United States say they use some form of alternative medicine. But exactly what types of therapies are considered alternative? The definition changes as doctors test and move more of them into the mainstream.
Alternative medicine is a treatment that is used in place of a conventional medical treatment. For example, if your physician prescribed you a blood pressure medication and you opted instead to overhaul your diet completely in hopes of reducing your blood pressure, this could be an example of an alternative medicine.
Often, alternative medicine is considered “natural.” Most people who opt for alternative medicine are choosing these treatments because they are seeking a more natural approach to healing their chronic conditions.
Types of Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Many different areas make up the practice of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). In addition, many parts of one field may overlap with the parts of another field. For example, acupuncture is also used in conventional medicine. In the U.S., CAM is used by about 38% of adults and 12% of children. Examples of CAM include:
Traditional alternative medicine. This field includes the more mainstream and accepted forms of therapy, such as acupuncture, homeopathy, and Oriental practices. These therapies have been practiced for centuries worldwide. Traditional alternative medicine may include:
Acupuncture Ayurveda Homeopathy Naturopathy Chinese or Oriental medicine
Body. Touch has been used in medicine since the early days of medical care. Healing by touch is based on the idea that illness or injury in one area of the body can affect all parts of the body. If, with manual manipulation, the other parts can be brought back to optimum health, the body can fully focus on healing at the site of injury or illness. Body techniques are often combined with those of the mind. Examples of body therapies include:
Chiropractic and osteopathic medicine Massage Body movement therapies Tai chi Yoga
Diet and herbs. Over the centuries, man has gone from a simple diet consisting of meats, fruits, vegetables, and grains, to a diet that often consists of foods rich in fats, oils, and complex carbohydrates. Nutritional excess and deficiency have become problems in today's society, both leading to certain chronic diseases. Many dietary and herbal approaches attempt to balance the body's nutritional well-being. Dietary and herbal approaches may include:
- Dietary supplements
- Herbal medicine
- External energy. Some people believe external energies from objects or other sources directly affect a person's health.
An example of external energy therapy is:
Electromagnetic therapy Reiki Qigong
Mind. Even standard or conventional medicine recognizes the power of the connection between mind and body. Studies have found that people heal better if they have good emotional and mental health. Therapies using the mind may include:
Meditation Biofeedback Hypnosis
Senses. Some people believe the senses, touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste, can affect overall health. Examples of therapies incorporating the senses include:
Art, dance, and music Visualization and guided imagery
A basic principle behind many kinds of alternative medicine is balance. Acupuncture, tai chi, and various forms of energy medicine are designed to bring the body into balance, which in theory, can help restore health.
This principle of balance is an important one to keep in mind when considering alternative medicine for yourself or a loved one. There are many benefits of using complementary and alternative medicine for a wide variety of conditions, but there are also things to be cautious of.
Alternative and complementary therapy can pose dangers
Not all alternative treatments are a good idea. Here's what you need to know before using alternative medicine.
Before trying a new kind of alternative medicine, there are some key factors to keep in mind. The following concerns should not prevent you or a loved one from using alternative medicine, but offer more information in the decision-making process.
Limited scientific research. In response to increased consumer demand, funding for research studies on alternative medicine is growing. But compared with traditional medical methods, evidence is still limited, which has left many questions unanswered.
Confusing marketing. It’s easy to confuse the words “natural” and “safe” — but the two are not synonymous, despite some marketers’ attempts to make us think otherwise. Many dietary supplements and herbal remedies, both of which fall under the alternative medicine umbrella, are mislabeled as “natural.” A red flag should also go up if a manufacturer makes unrealistic claims that their products are “miracle cures” or have “secret ingredients.”Potentially dangerous interactions. Even in cases when the product contains no artificial substances, supplements and herbs can still potentially interact with prescription and over-the-counter medication. And some of these natural products have side effects of their own.
Don't take claims of cure at face value. Do your homework when considering complementary and alternative treatments.