Understanding Alternative Medicine

3304 Words7 Pages

Understanding Alternative Medicine

Modern medicine is in a period of profound change. Everyday, more and more ideas from other cultures are being transferred and integrated into our society. Many treatments that people are now familiar with have come from other traditions. Aspirin and quinine are two familiar examples of treatments that have been “westernized” by science. Alternative medical traditions will not replace western medicine, but instead are adding a new dimension of treatment that will only strengthen modern medicine. Western medicine is the clear leader in infectious disease, some cancers, heart disease, surgery, emergency medicine and trauma care. However, for the ordinary complaints of everyday life, the aches and pains of joints, bones and muscles, alternative medicine is the best choice of remedy.

Scientific medicine does save many lives through surgery or pharmacology drugs, but all of the advances of western medicine have inadvertently led to new problems. For example, living longer allows more time for development of chronic and degenerative diseases. “Iatrogenic” problems (illness caused by the medicine itself) as well as chronic illnesses have forced people to turn toward other dimensions of care. Conventional medicine is learning much about the complexity of human biology, but it is also learning less about how to handle difficult situations and adapt to crises arising from alternative treatments. Natural, non-invasive therapies, manipulative therapies and mind/body approaches are coming of age and taking on a partnership role with western medicine, affecting it for the better. Alternative treatments can no longer be considered suspect because the evidence of their contributions to the health care sy...

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