Advances in the medical research field have allowed new and different forms of medical treatment to become an option for patients. One of these new ‘types’ of medicine is alternative medicine. Like all medical treatments though, it is not for everyone and has both advantages and disadvantages.
What is alternative medicine?
Alternative medicine, while might seem kind of obvious, consists of alternative medical treatments instead of standard medical treatments. Although commonly interchanged, alternative medicine is different than complementary medicine. While complementary medicine is used to supplement traditional medical methods, alternative medicine is intended to entirely replace standard medicine as part of a patient’s treatment process. Some alternative medical approaches include:
– Herbal Remedies
– Dietary supplements
– Vitamin Regime
– Massage Therapy
– Spiritual Healing
– Chiropractic Care
Pros of alternative medicine
1.) Root cause analysis
One of the biggest reasons there has been a major push for alternative medicine in the past few years is because it aims to identify and treat the root cause of a patient’s symptoms. Conventional medicine typically treats the symptoms of a person’s disease, which usually only further masks the underlying issue.
2.) Treats the whole person, not the disease
Unlike conventional medicine, which only treats the symptoms of a patient’s disease, alternative medicine treats the patient as a whole person. ‘A person is more than their disease’ is a common mantra among alternative medicine practitioners. This means a person’s disease could be stemming from a purely physical cause, but could also come from their mental and/or spiritual health. Alternative medicine does not rule out any factors right away but rather takes a detailed look at the patient’s daily routine, diet, mental, spiritual and physical health as well as any environmental factors that might contribute to a patient’s illness.
3.) Holistic and natural approach
Alternative medicine emphasizes the power and strength that comes with natural and holistic remedies. Standard medical treatments rely on prescription and over the counter drugs to cure a patient’s illness instead of exhausting all natural treatment options first. Alternative medicine searches to find sustainable and holistic remedies for a person’s sickness instead of prescribing a pill. Now, sometimes the only treatment for someone’s illness is in fact prescription medication but wouldn’t you rather know that is your only option before being prescribed a pill for the rest of your life?
Cons of alternative medicine
1.) Research is lacking
Due to the rather recent introduction of alternative medicine there is not as much research on this treatment method as there is for conventional medicine. While new research is being discovered every day, compared to standard medicine the research surrounding alternative medicine is rather limited. Equally, it is much harder to collect data for alternative medicine because of its holistic and full-service approach. Standard medicine has much more definitive data to support whether or not a drug or treatment is effective.
2.) Possible side effects
Alternative medicine is not as classically scientific as conventional medicine is which makes it more of an individual basis treatment method. Each patient is treated separately from the next, which means not all treatment methods react well or even work with every patient. Everyone has his or her own unique biological makeup so there is no telling how a patient will react, or not react, to each alternative medical treatment.
If you think alternative medicine might be the right path for you, make sure you mention it to your health care provider. For more information on alternative medicine in Denver check out Peak Health.