Complementary and Alternative Medicine

The long battle between alternative medicine and scientific medicine appears to be over with the appearance of complementary medicine. Complementary medicine tries to combine the best of both worlds by putting the health of the patient ahead of medical philosophy.

The term “alternative medicine” refers to traditional and other methods of treatments for which there is no discernible scientific basis. The term “scientific medicine” which is also called modern medicine, conventional or Western medicine refers to methods of medical treatment based purely or largely on science.

Traditionally practitioners of scientific medicine looked down upon alternative treatments as unscientific. At the same time, many alternate healers dismissed practitioners of scientific medicine as arrogant, aloof and uncompassionate.

Today the two sides appear to have signed a truce and are attempting to find common ground. This common ground consists of a compromise called complementary medicine. In complementary medical treatment, medical professors allow alternative practices as long as they do not harm the patient.

Complementary Medicine Means Respect for Patient

An example of complementary medicine would be for a surgeon to allow a patient to meditate or use an energy therapy before and after surgery. These therapies don’t interfere in the surgery and they often contribute to the psychological well being of the patient.

Much of the rise of complementary medicine can be attributed to the increased knowledge of non Western cultures such as China and the growing respect for their values and traditions. Many the treatments and techniques in alternate medicine are taken from Chinese, Indian and other Asian culture.

Another reason why complementary medicine has become popular is the changing attitude towards patients on the part of doctors and other health professionals. In countries like the United States, Britain and Germany doctors were considered as all wise and all knowing experts on health matters until recent decades. This attitude meant that many doctors held their patients thoughts and opinions in contempt.

Today doctors and other health professionals are taught to respect their patients and their opinions. Part of the reason for this respect is the growing number of women doctors. Women are often more empathetic and understanding than men are. Until quite recently most doctors were men and they were taught to boss their patients around.

Since doctors have to respect their patients opinions they have to listen to their ideas about medicine. This means doctors are forced to take patients beliefs into account and respect them.

Complementary Medicine Equals Opportunity

The spread of complementary medicine is creating many opportunities for alternative healthcare professionals. Many medical clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities are now employing chiropractors, herbalists, acupuncturists and other alternate medical practitioners.

Some medical facilities now have such professionals on staff and offer many alternate treatments to their patients on a regular basis. It is very common for chiropractors and massage therapists to be involved in physical therapy and patient rehabilitation for example.

Many practitioners of conventional medicine also rec

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Complementary & Alternative Medicine (CAM)

Going to the doctor is not like it used to be. In olden times doctors visits were more personalized and in depth. Now traditional medicine is very impersonal and doctors send you home with up to 5 prescriptions that you need to start taking right away. The only problem is you will return next week because of all the side affects that you have from all the medicine the doctor prescribed you in the first place and your original problem still won’t be solved. Unfortunately, the reason behind all the new prescriptions is because of all the kickbacks that doctors get for prescribing them. Although, these medications don’t help the patients and will undoubtedly cause more symptoms. So many Americans have started looking towards complementary and alternative medicine.

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a group of diverse medical practices that are not generally accepted by conventional medicine, conventional medicine being medicine practiced by an M.D., D.O., psychologist, registered nurse, or physical therapist. This group of medicine is continually changing and types of medicine are very broad, however the ultimate goal of this type of medicine is find whole body health and wellness. The principals and guidelines for each individual type of CAM although diverse are based on holistic properties, whereby treating the body as a whole and resolving the underlying problems are far more important in the long run rather than just reducing the symptoms.

CAM involves the connection between the mind and body and not only relieves symptoms but works to resolve the underlying problems as well. Although, used in conjunction with one another, complementary and alternative medicines are two completely different groups of medicine. Complementary medicine unlike its cohort is used in conjunction with traditional medicine. Therefore the treatment or medicine complements conventional means of resolving pain, disease or illness. Where as alternative medicine, is used in place of conventional medicine to promote self-healing, and preventative medicine.

In the past, CAM was not accepted due to its lack of scientific basis and evidence. However, because many CAM practices are deeply rooted in Eastern history and are based upon traditional medicine, folk knowledge, and spiritual beliefs people are now turning to this type of medicine. Not to mention that patients are seeing and feeling results from CAM. There is no greater influence than someone else’s testimonial, which is causing the rise in CAM. Western medicine, although still hesitant, is just beginning to use some alternative medicines as complements to their conventional methods. Additionally insurances have turned the corner and started allowing several alternative medicines as part of their covered benefits. That’s not to say that CAM is completely accepted by the medical community, it is a long way off. However it has opened the door for new approaches to healing some of which are old ideas with new methods.

Due to the diversity of available CAM’s, it is easier to group them together to understand what type of medicine and treatment is rendered. The categories include natural products, mind-body medicine, and manipulative and body-based practices. Natural products include a variety of herbal medicines, vitamins, minerals and other “natural products”. Products considered natural can include dietary supplementation, herbal or botanical, and probiotics. Mind-body medicine focuses on the connection between the mind and the body to heal and promote health. These practices include meditation, yoga, acupuncture, deep-breathing, guided imagery, hypnotherapy, and tai chi. Lastly manipulative and body-based practices focus on the body systems and their structures. Spinal manipulation from chiropractic care and massage therapy are two commonly used body-based practices.

Before you choose a CAM it is best to research and ask your friends and coworkers for suggestions. It is normal to be nervous or apprehensive because it is not mainstream, however with the popularity and growth that it continues to receive, CAM’s are the next group of conventional medicine.

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