Alternative Medicine: Does it Actually Beat the Alternatives?
It seems that one of the most popular trends in medicine today is the idea of alternative or holistic practices. We all have that one friend that swears by herbal remedies, meditation, or crystal energy and is all too eager to tell you all about it – unless you happen to be this person in your situation. While many proponents of modern medicine may view these practices as a step backwards, others argue that if it worked in the past, why should we reinvent the wheel?
Many holistic or alternative health practices have been around for ages. Acupuncture has been traced back to ancient China, maybe even as far back as the Stone Age. Like acupuncture, many alternative practices are based upon traditions or superstitions that still play a large role in a given culture. The core beliefs behind the majority of these practices are based upon the idea of a perceived imbalance of energy or spirit – the Japanese concept of Reiki, the Hindu concept of Chakras, and the Chinese qi are a few examples. Proponents of these practices argue that these ancient tactics work just as well or even better than modern medicine in treating and curing disease or illness – after all, why would such a practice still exist if it were obsolete?
The prevalence of alternative medicine is still on the rise and some reports indicate that more and more people seek doctors or specialists that offer these types of treatments; the trend is even stronger for parents seeking holistic care for their children. While there is no harm in trying acupuncture, herbal remedies, meditation, or yoga, we must simply keep in mind that there are in fact, alternatives to alternative medicine. Many herbal supplements and remedies are not FDA approved and are generally frowned upon due to the lack of scientific evidence to back their lofty claims – but this doesn’t mean that it won’t benefit a single individual somewhere out there.
Medicine is ever-evolving and growing, branching out and even looking back into it’s own past in order to look for answers. If alternative medicine appeals to you, try it but keep in mind that there are people taking advantage of this trend and are more than willing to rip you off with a fraudulent claim and a flawed product. Lastly, try to seek out somebody that practices CAM, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, as this practice combines alternative methods with evidence-based methods, giving you a look at both sides of this coin.