The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Alternative Medicine as ‘any of various systems of healing or treating disease (such as chiropractic, homeopathy, or faith healing) not included in the traditional medical curricula of the U.S. and Britain’. Essentially, Alternative Therapy is using non-standard forms of treatment in place of conventional treatment. It differs from Complementary Therapy, which is using non-standard forms of treatment along with standard practices.
The medical community, now more than ever, is opening up to the diverse range of alternative medicines out there. Studies have shown that over half of the adults in the United States say that they use alternative medicine in one form or the other. There is no clear set that defines what methods or procedures fall under the category of alternative medicine but the most popular ones include acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, and essential oils.
These days, if people wish to avoid colds, stimulate brains, burn fat, reduce stress, extend life, or eliminate pain, all they need to do is walk into an alternative medicine store and they’ll find products that claim to achieve all of the above. With more and more people looking into alternative medicine as a real way to cure/prevent illnesses, the question – Does it really work? – is becoming most critical by the day.
The hefty claims
Looking at most of the studies conducted around the claims of alternative medicine to cure dementia, Alzheimer’s, joint pain, liver damage, prostate enlargement or heart disease, it is quite clear that it does fall short. The methods of alternative medicine are often found to crumble under scrutiny and evidence-based research. Perhaps the biggest danger of all, of the growing popularity of alternative medicine, is that people who take this therapy stop going to their general practitioners entirely. In some severe cases, this may be life-threatening and could delay the onset of much-needed standard treatment.
Not all bad
However, there is a consensus that some forms of alternative medicine have shown to improve conditions such as back pain, anxiety, depression, nausea, headaches and allergies although there is a serious lack of study showing that alternative therapies do indeed work. While this form of ‘medicine’ is given out freely, without being proven to be effective or safe, there are inevitably dangers for the user’s health and well-being.
Do you think alternative medicine could be the solution to diseases plaguing mankind? Or do you think it is a hoax created by sellers to draw in more cash? Let us know your views on the widespread adoption of alternative medicine in the comments section below. Feel free to discuss if you are currently using or thinking about using any forms of alternative therapy.
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