As time passes, people are becoming more accepting of alternative medicine, but what exactly is it? We need a definition of alternative medicine.
Definition of Alternative Medicine
Alternative medicine is a term that has come to describe health care treatment that strays from what we now consider to be conventional ways of treating illness or injury. It is interesting to note, however, that in many cases these alternative treatments have been around much longer than the conventional treatments we tend to rely on. Alternative medicine is typically used in the place of conventional medicine. In some cases, patients choose to utilize the treatments which fall under the umbrella of alternative medicine along with a more conventional treatment plan. This is called complementary medicine.
There are some people who take issue with the term alternative medicine. They point out that whether a treatment is considered to be a deviation from mainstream medicine depends a lot on where you live. It also varies a lot by culture. What might be considered alternative in one area is a lot more conventional in another. Typically though, alternative medicine consists of several different areas. Chiropractic services, herbalism, ayurveda, homeopathy, naturopathic medicine, unani, traditional Chinese medicine and osteopathy are the main branches of alternative medicine.
Chiropractors deal with the spine and nervous system. Manipulation is done in order to correct subluxation of the spine. Those who believe in chiropractic treatment believe that a subluxation can cause the nervous system to function improperly which can cause many different health problems. Herbalism is a traditional form of medicine which utilizes plants and plant extracts. It has existed for thousands of years. There is some evidence to suggest it was practiced as long as 60,000 years ago. Ayurveda originated in the Indian subcontintent and focuses on finding physical, mental and spiritual harmony.
Homeopathy is a somewhat controversial alternative medicine treatment. Followers of this treatment have identified certain agents which cause a healthy person to have symptoms of various illnesses if undiluted. In order to treat these illnesses, a diluted version of the agent is given to the patient. Some people feel that because the agent is so diluted, there is no reason to believe that homeopathy is anything more than a placebo effect. Naturopathic medicine works to assist the body in using its own ability to heal itself. Unani is based on the belief that four basic element exist in the body and they need to be balanced in order to stay healthy. Traditional Chinese medicine consists of many different treatments that originated in China over thousands of years. Osteopathy works to maintain the health of the body through the musculoskeletal system.
Alternative medicine continues to gain in popularity all the time, as many people are seeking a way to treat their illnesses without turning to synthetic drugs. Most of these treatments have been around for thousands of years and their successes have been many.