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Understanding Medicine – Alternative Medicine

alternative health & medicineAlternative medicine is seen as an alternative to what most would refer to as conventional medicine. Conventional medicine is based on scientific research whereas alternative medicine is based more on cultural and historical traditions.

This does not mean it is not respected, many medical professionals agree that alternative medicine can successfully assist in the recovery of some patients and they recommend them where appropriate. While a lot of people may not believe in the abilities of alternative medicine, it is a fascinating subject with many success stories of its own.

Types of Alternative Medicine

The branches of alternative medicine are tricky to classify, but they mostly fall into one of the following groups:

• Traditional Chinese medicine, naturopathy, homeopathy and Ayurveda
• Energy medicines
• Biology-based medicines (herbs, foods, vitamins etc.)
• Holistic whole-body approaches
• Physical manipulation of body parts

The type of alternative medicine suitable to a patient will depend on a variety of factors including their particular condition, the severity of that condition and personal preference. For example, acupuncture is widely reported to have very impressive results, but some people are not keen on the procedure due to a fear of needles.

A good place to start is with your GP. There, you can discuss your condition and receive a diagnosis based on your symptoms and it allows the GP to rule out any serious illness that simply demands conventional medical intervention. From there, the choice is yours on how you manage your condition and you may find that your GP is able to refer you to a respected alternative medicine practitioner. Your alternative medicine therapist will require full information about your condition before commencing any therapy so take along any notes that your GP has given you.

Finding an Alternative Medicine Practitioner

Do plenty of research to find out as much about your options as possible. From there, you will be able to choose an appropriate therapy and therapist. When you make contact with a therapist, make sure you find out whether they are regulated, what training and experience they have, whether they have insurance, how much they charge and how you should prepare for your treatment. Be sure that you are comfortable with your choice before committing to a course of treatment.

Alternative therapists are well-trained professionals and should be able to prove their training and ongoing development with ease. Some therapies are self-regulated whereas others are regulated by law (such as osteopathy and chiropractic therapies). Self-regulation is undertaken by several associations and the therapist will need to register with these associations to receive accreditation.

Alternative Medicines and Cancer

One particular area of alternative medicine that requires particular mention is that of alternative cancer treatments. Recent surveys have reported that almost a third of cancer patients choose to use alternative medicine to deal with the symptoms and problems associated with their condition. Patients can suffer some life changing side effects such as nausea, pain and fatigue and some alternative medicine such as acupuncture, chiropractic treatment and herbal medicines are used widely across the world.

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Updated: December 17, 2012 — 1:55 am

Site Disclaimer: This site is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services.
If you feel that you have a health problem, you should seek the advice of your Physician or health care Practitioner.

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