Alternative medicine describes practices used in place of conventional medical treatments. People increasingly prefer alternative to conventional medicine. The reasons for this are pretty simple – it is safe and it works! And USA is not an exception. It is estimated, by none other than the Harvard Medical School, that one out of every two persons in the United States between the ages of 35 and 49 years used at least one alternative therapy in 1997.
Alternative medicine actually encompasses a very large array of different systems and therapies ranging from ayurvedic medicine to vitamin therapy.
Ayurvedic medicine is a very comprehensive system that places equal emphasis on body, mind, and spirit and uses a highly personalized approach to return an individual to a state where he or she is again in harmony with their environment. Ayurvedic medicine uses diet, exercise, yoga, meditation, massage, herbs, and medication and, despite its long lineage, is as applicable today as it was 5000 years ago.
Traditional Chinese medicine combines the use of medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and the use of therapeutic exercises such as Qi Gong. It has proven to be effective in the treatment of many chronic diseases including cancer, allergies, heart disease and AIDS. Homeopathy is a low-cost, non-toxic health care system now used by hundreds of millions of people around the world.
Chiropracty primarily involves the adjustment of spine and joints to alleviate pain and improve general health. Naturopathic medicine also strongly believes in the body’s inherent ability to heal itself. Vitamin therapy or orthomolecular medicine uses vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to return a diseased body to wellness. Biofeedback, body work, massage therapy, reflexology, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, and various other forms of energy medicine round out the vast spectrum of alternative medicine modalities. More then 50 % of Americans use some kind of alternative medicine.
Actually, it may happen so, that in future alternative medicine will totally displace allopathic medical remedies. But nowadays almost 40% of people still visit their doctors.
Benedetti, F., Maggi, G., & Lopiano, L. (2003). Open Versus Hidden Medical Treatments: The Patient’s Knowledge About a Therapy Affects the Therapy Outcome. Prevention & Treatment, 6, 1, 23-27.