Alternative medicine is a set of diverse traditional medicinal health care systems and practices that are not generally considering as part of conventional or modern medicine.
Alternative Medicine (Traditional/Natural medicine)
Alternative medicine is a health care approach that is applying instead of Conventional or Western medicines. Alternative medicinal treatment may include ingesting or applying organic substances (mostly herbs and some minerals) with a special diet plan (mostly vegetables and fruits), that are not normally advised by a physician who practices conventional or modern medicines. The alternative medicines are not only providing treatment for any health condition but also guide us for how to live a healthier life.
Alternative medicine is an umbrella term for hundreds of natural therapies from all over the world. Many of these therapies are the medical systems of older cultures, including Egyptian, Chinese, Asian Indian, Greek, and Native American. These traditional medicinal systems have been handed over thousands of years, both orally and as written records.
The Alternative medicine user’s statistics
Survey results released in May 2004 by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the National Center for Health Statistics (part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) shows in the United States alone, approximately 36% of adults used some form of CAM therapy during the past 12 months.
British telephone survey by the BBC in 1998 shows about 20% of adults had used alternative medicine in the past 12 months.
Use of alternative medicine among people in developed countries appears to be increasing. A study in 1998 showed that the use of alternative medicine had risen from 33.8% in 1990 to 42.1% in 1997.
Most commonly practiced complementary treatments include herbal, yoga, homeopathy, acupuncture/acupressure, meditation, massage, therapeutic touch, aromatherapy, Chinese medicine, dance therapy, music therapy, osteopathy, chiropractic, and naturopathy.
A 2002 survey of US adults 18 years and older conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (CDC), and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine indicated that 49.8% had used some form of CAM.
A survey in 2005 between Denmark population aged 16 and above shows, 45.2 % of them used alternative medicine of form in their life. 22.5 % had used alternative medicine within lost 12 months.
Patients are averse to dangerous side effects of conventional medicines; even antibiotic medications can have been potential to cause life-threatening severe allergic reaction in very few individuals. In addition, many medications may cause minor but troublesome symptoms such as cough or stomach upset. In all of these cases, patients are seeking out alternative medicine treatments to avoid these adverse side effects of modern treatments.
Alternative medicine user’s class
A study published in 1998 shows that a majority of alternative medicine uses was in conjunction with conventional medical treatments. Approximately, 4.4 % of those studied used alternative medicine as a replacement for conventional medicine. A research shows that those having used alternative medicine tended to have higher education or report poorer health status.
People of all backgrounds start using alternative treatments. However, greater among them are women and those with higher level of education and higher income.
A survey in 2008 among medical students in Denmark shows 68 % of them had used alternative therapy. The most commonly used alternative medicine was herbal medicines and Dietary supplements (50 percent), Acupuncture (18 percent) and Reflexology (18 percent).
Alternative approach preferred most
When asked the people who use CAM, why they are using CAM?
- They thought CAM combined with conventional medicine would help faster relief.
- They thought CAM would be interesting to try.
- They thought conventional medicine would not help.
- The conventional medical professional suggested it.
- The conventional medicine is too expensive.
Natural herb products and homeopathy are the most commonly used alternative medicines among adults. Use has increased for several other alternative therapies, including breathing exercises, meditation, massage reflexology therapy, acupressure, and yoga.
Different traditional therapies and their oneness
Although traditional therapies are diverse approaches, they share certain common attributes; they consider human as a whole, and more than just physical bodies. Since body, mind, and spirit are all one unified reality; thus illness to affect, and be affected by, both body and mind.
Almost every alternative medicine considers symptoms during a health conditions is due to the body’s efforts to cure its own imbalance is a disease).
What is vital energy?
The human body animates by an integrated energy called the vital force, life force, prana, qi, or chi. The life force sustains the physical body linked to a higher being or infinite source of energy. When the life forces quantity and if it flows freely throughout the body, they you can enjoy optimal health. Blocked or weakened vital energy leads to energy shortage for organs, tissues and the cells, which in due course results in illness or disease.
They view vital energy as the force integrates the body, mind, and spirit, which connects everything. The Chinese call this life force as qi is a also spelled chi), the Ancient Greeks call it as pneuma, and the Hindus call it as prana. In every culture, they believe the life force is both self-nurturing and self-sustaining.
Health conditions that prompt alternative treatment use
People use complementary alternative medicine treatment for many diseases and conditions, most familiar to them are musculoskeletal problems such as back, neck, or joint pain.
Now people start looks for alternative treatments for many conditions such as:
- Allergy, Arthritis/Osteoarthritis, Asthma, Attention Deficit, Autism,
- Birth Defects, Cancer, Chronic Fatigue, Cognitive Dysfunction, Colds and Influenza,
- Depression, Detoxification, Diabetes, Digestive Disorders,
- Eating Disorders, Epilepsy, Erectile Dysfunction,
- Heart Disease, Hepatitis C, Hypertension,
- Immune System, Infertility, Inflammatory Bowel, Insomnia, Interstitial Cystitis,
- Liver Disease, Neuro-degeneration, Ocular (Eye) Disorders, Osteoporosis,
- Parkinson's Disease, Peripheral Neuropathy, Prostate Cancer, Prostate Disease, Psoriasis,
- Restless Leg Syndrome, Seasonal Affective, Stress, and the list are endless.
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