Traditional Medicine : Alternative And Complementary Therapies

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Alternative and Complementary Therapies As children, the majority of us enjoy good health and the ability to bounce back quickly from minor illnesses and the inevitable bumps, falls and scrapes of childhood. As we get older, many of us face issues prevalent in our society such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. These and many other diagnoses typically lead to prescribed medications that have unwanted side effects ranging from annoying to potentially dangerous. Although medical doctors often advise lifestyle changes such as increased exercise and perhaps might refer patients to a dietitian for nutritional advice, there is a heavy dependence on these drugs as the primary method of care. A more holistic approach, one where we consider the whole person and seek to improve health while minimizing the use of prescription drugs, would be beneficial to many people. Traditional medicine is primarily concerned with the body while a holistic approach to health is concerned with all aspects of a person: mind, body and spirit. In traditional medicine, the main deciding factor when prescribing drugs is the physician’s interpretation of results from laboratory tests along with a very brief consultation with the patient. A naturopathic doctor will also look at lab results but will typically spend more time talking with the patient than a traditional physician will. The naturopathic doctor aims to gather information about overall health, daily habits, nutrition, stress levels, sleep habits and so forth. Mental and spiritual health are just as important as physical health. According to Spar and Muñoz “spirituality is intimately related to health, wholeness, and well-being” (68). Because of this, the naturopath will... ... middle of paper ... ...eatment, the support or rejection of the medical profession is ultimately less important than the results achieved by first-hand experience. In fact, many patients that seek alternative or complementary treatments do so because traditional medicine could not give them the results they want. As people face health problems, the last thing they need is to take drugs that will treat that problem while also bringing on a host of undesirable side effects. Of course, it does not mean that alternative and complementary approaches could not also have risks and side effects as this can certainly happen, especially when a person takes various herbs or supplements without expert guidance. If we had more widespread and affordable access to integrative practitioners, we could reduce some of the dependence on prescription drugs while avoiding many of the dangerous side effects.
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