Under alternative treatments, or alternative medicine, we can call any practice which has the healing effects of contemporary medicine, as we know it, but it’s not based on scientific evidences gathered via various scientific methods. Such health care practices, therapies and products are practiced all around the world, mostly as naturopathy, homeopathy, energy medicine, chiropractic, acupuncture varieties, Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and even Christian faith healing. Such treatments are not the part of conventional, contemporary medicine which is based on scientific facts.
On the other hand, a type of alternative medicine called complementary medicine, is used together with the contemporary and conventional medical treatment, in order to complement the medical treatment even though there may not be proved scientific methods. And, as a combination of methods and practices of alternative and conventional medicine, integrative is present.
Even though alternative medicine is popular nowadays, it is not learned in medical schools or even used in contemporary medicine, where the treatment is based on scientifically proven theory and practice. Usually, alternative medicine is based on tradition, superstition, religion, pseudoscience and other types of social beliefs and explanations. It shouldn’t be used instead of conventional medicine, but should be practice in combination with proven scientific methods in order to heal an individual.
Such system of alternative medicine is based on the doctrine where “like cures like”. This means that, when a certain substance causes the symptoms of illness, that the same substance will act as a cure in order to treat the sick people. It is considered a pseudoscience, but many and many preparations are available and supported by pharmaceuticals.
The remedies of homeopathy are prepared by repeated dilution of a chosen substance in distilled water or alcohol, then followed by a forceful striking of an elastic body. Dilution usually goes beyond the point where the molecules of original substance are not present. A practitioners of homeopathy, called homeopaths, select certain remedies in consultation with a book known as repertories. In consideration are taken symptoms of a patient, psychological and physical state, personal traits and life’s history.
It does lack the biological plausibility and some axioms may be contradicted by the scientific facts, but patients report that homeopathy works for them. It may be a placebo effect, as science says that such mechanism of action is implausible. Some clinical trials, though, produce a positive result.
Naturopathy represents a special form of alternative medicine where various natural treatments are used in the practice. It includes herbalism, acupuncture, homeopathy and lifestyle and diet counselling. Naturopaths prefer the holistic approach with non-invasive treatments and avoid the use of drugs and surgeries. The philosophy of such practice is based on the belief in self-healing and the practitioners of naturopathy use the treatments that are not compatible with medicine based on evidence.
The practice is usually based on the belief that human body is completely able to heal itself via specific vital energy, also known as the force which guides the body processes internally. Treatment and diagnosis concern the alternative therapies and certain natural methods, where naturopaths promote the natural ability of body to heal itself. The focus is on holistic approach, without any additional use of drugs and surgery. By reducing stress and changing the lifestyle and diet, naturopaths aim to stop the diseases, often ignoring the methods used by medicine based on scientific facts.
Traditional ethnic systems
The traditional ethnic systems are developed by each country and each people group on their own, according to their beliefs and practices which last for thousands of years. Some people groups base their traditional ethnic systems on certain drugs which they’re using, while others prefer to use the methods in order to enhance the body’s ability to heal itself and overcome the illness. Probably the most representative traditional ethnic systems are the traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine from India.
Traditional Chinese medicine
It represents a broad term of different medicine practices which are shared by the same concept made developed in China and it’s based on the Chinese tradition which lasts for more than 2 000 years. The various methods set in this principle can include the various forms of acupuncture, massage, herbal medicine, dietary therapy and exercise. It is widely used in China, as well as the western countries, as a complementary form of alternative medicine.
According to the traditional Chinese medicine theory, a body has the vital energy called qi or chi, which circulates through certain channels, called meridians, and they branch to the organs in our body and other functions. Such concept is recognized as superstitious and pre-scientific, similar to previous European humoral theory. The practice of traditional Chinese medicine is not based on pure scientific knowledge, and the practitioners of such practice believe that diagnosis and treatments are not necessary to be used for each patient.
Such practice still remains poorly documented and researched, so there are no true evidence that traditional Chinese medicine is efficient as its practitioners may believe it is. The number of toxic plants, minerals and animals parts used in such practice are still of great concern. Additionally, a needed cost-effectiveness research for such practice is absent. The pharmaceuticals have tried to develop new drugs from traditional remedies, but have had few significant successes, as scientific public believes that traditional Chinese medicine represents a pseudoscience and that it doesn’t have a reasonable mechanism of action for the majority of the treatments.
The presented alternative treatments have yet to be discovered and well researched in order to be accepted by the public scientific beliefs. Nevertheless, some of these treatments are present in medicine and are used as a treatment solely or in combination with contemporary methods. It is recommended not to avoid the axioms which contemporary medicine has given and to base the treatment solely on alternative methods. A true combination of both approaches can give and outstanding results, both to your mind and body. For the complete experience, please consult the experts and several approaches before starting any of the treatments.