What is Alternative Medicine?

In the US, more and more people discover alternative practices brought by immigrants or basically exposure to different practices. The diversity of the population in the US caused the fusion of different cultures. As perceived by many, US is the seat of different nationalities and subcultures. Moreover, as traveling is most accessible in modern day, more Americans are able to explore other countries that showcase their own brand of medication in the forms of massage, yoga, acupuncture and the like.

Surprisingly, the experience has brought great sensation and relief to the body that is has been welcomed by the American community. More and more people result to alternative medicine as answer to their ailments or concerns of health and well being. Although, many still raise their brows on the effectiveness of the these alternative practices, it is a non-stop service, for people are demanding for it.

What is alternative medicine?

When we say alternative, it refers to practices outside the conventional medical practices or specifically modern medicine. Alternative medicine may vary from products, services and approaches that vary from the established practices of health institutions.

Alternative medicine differs from traditional Western medicine in several important ways: there have been few rigorous studies of the effectiveness and side effects of alternative medicine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have jurisdiction over many alternative therapies. Most U.S. medical schools do not teach it. Most U.S. hospitals do not use it. And most insurance companies do not pay for it.

People have experimented with some alternative practices, and researchers have studied their usefulness. As a result, many forms of alternative medicine have been accepted by mainstream doctors, and some people have become wildly – and sometimes unwisely – enthusiastic about alternatives to conventional medicine.

Common Types of Alternative Medicine

At present many health providers and patients practice both the alternative and conventional at the same time. Alternative practice is used to complement the latter. This field of health care is referred to as complementary alternative medicine or CAM.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), which was instituted by the National Institutes of Health, notes that most alternative medicine is holistic in approach . This means that it does not only focus on the physical well being of the individual but also on their emotional state.

At the same time, alternative medicine is viewed as preventive rather than absolute cure for an illness that already exist. It tries to prevent health problems before they occur than to respond to symptoms before they occur.

There are five major domains that the NCCAM identified for alternative medicine. These are alternative medical systems, biologically based treatments, energy therapies, manipulative and body based methods and mind and body interventions.

Theoretical practice treatments. Examples of alternative medical systems include eastern medicine, Ayurveda, homeopathic medicine, and naturopathic medicine. The most popular alternative medical system which Americans have gloriously accepted is the acupuncture.

Biological based treatments on the other hand refers to treatments that rely and found on nature. This reliance on nature would include foods and herbs. Herbal therapies made from a plant or a combination of plants often come in the form of teas, capsules, and extracts. About one third of American adults regularly take some sort of herb, anything from a cup of chamomile tea to echinacea to fight a cold. Herbal supplements may also serve as daily vitamins.

Energy therapies, refers to the practice which involves the energy surrounding the individual. People who work with energy therapies attempt to affect fields of energy that surround and pass through the body. Practitioners of therapeutic touch believe that by placing their hands on or near a patient’s body they can direct energy and correct disturbances.

Manipulative and body-based method treatments focuses on the moving and realigning of the parts of the body. Lastly, the mind-body intervention is based on the belief that the mind has the strength and power to affect the body’s function and symptoms.

Hypnosis, a sort of conscious sleep or trance, can help people deal with addictions, pain, or anxiety. Meditation and yoga promote relaxation. Biofeedback, prayer, art, dance, and music therapy also are considered types of mind-body interventions.


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