Alternative Medicine Definition

An alternative medicine definition gives hope for not only alternative medicine but also for alternative health.

alternative medicine definition

It is necessary to have an alternative medicine definition before you decide that this type of healing practice is for you.

The term “alternative medicine” is relative depending on what types of medicine is considered “normal” in your thinking and culture. The adjective alternative means “affording a choice of two or more things, propositions, or courses of action” or “employing or following nontraditional or unconventional ideas and methods.” The term medicine is defined as “any remedy used to treat illness or disease.” An alternative medicine definition based on the meanings of each of the words may therefore be something like “a nontraditional choice of remedy used to treat illnesses.” According to Medicine a definition of alternative medicine is: “Healing arts not taught in traditional Western medical schools that promote options to conventional medicine that is taught in these schools.”

The term “alternative medicine” is a Western or European civilization term. Generally speaking, medicine in this civilization has be reduced to two interventions: surgery and/or drugs. Alternative medicine, in all of its forms, uses neither. Alternative medicine is a medical choice that is different than the therapeutic norm, which primarily involves surgery and drugs.

Alternative Medicine Vs. Conventional Medicine Appraoch to Cancer

Here is an example of the different approach of conventional and alternative medicine protocol.

A patient is diagnosed with cancer. Cancer is abnormal cells growing out of control. Conventional medical therapy would include planning some sort of surgery to cut out the cancer and with it, some of the unaffected cells, to make sure all of the cancer is gone. Several accompanying drugs (chemicals) are also prescribed to further kill the cancer. These drugs have harmful side effects. The thought behind the chemicals is that, although they are introducing harm to the patient, the benefits outweighs the harm. Nevertheless, these chemicals are still harming the patient.

Alternative medicine takes a far different approach to the problem of cancer. No matter which one of the types of alternative medicine you choose, all will somehow seek to strengthen the body. If the body is strengthened, it will be strong enough to both kill the cancer and prevent it from coming back while health and wellness is restored. All of this is accomplished without surgery or potentially harmful drugs.

The promise and hope of an extremely effective, but gentle treatment is enticing. Alternative medicine also puts a great deal of emphasis on prevention. It is reasonable to correctly assume that what cures will also prevent. Alternative medicine seeks to benefit the wellness of the entire body, including the mind and spirit.

Conventional medicine cannot offer drugs or surgery as preventive measures. It only extends hope for a tolerable quality of life after a patient is diagnosed with the disease, especially, cancer. The power and promise contained in the many types of alternative medicine is a great lure because alternative medicine offers not only a cure, but also vital wellness and longevity.

Types of Alternative Medicine

There are many types of alternative medicine. Some examples of healing that would fall under the alternative medicine definition are naturopathy, herbalism, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), yoga, biofeedback, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), acupuncture, chiropractic, Ayurveda, nutritional-based therapies, hypnosis, massage, aromatherapy, Quantum Reflex Analysis (QRA) and iridology to name a few. Many of these alternative medicine practices overlap with each other. For example, a chiropractor may not only align your spine, but also use massage, acupuncture, aromatherapy and prescribe herbs and nutritional supplements.

Classifications of Alternative Medicine

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has classified alternative medicine into five major groups,however there is much overlap in these groups.

These five groups are:

1. Whole Medical Systems- These are coherent systems of medical theory and medical practice. Examples include TCM, naturopathy and Ayurveda medicine.

2. Mind-Body Medicine- This approach explores the interconnection between the body, mind and spirit. The mind affects the body. Examples of this type of alternative medicine include meditation, prayer, EFT. and/or yoga. This type of therapy may also include art, music or dance therapies. Learn how your mind can actually help heal your body at the Healing Mind.

3. Biologically-Based Practices- This type of alternative medicine uses substances found in nature such as herbs, foods, vitamins and minerals. The key to any effective biological supplement is to make sure it is “living sourced.” Many of the other classifications of alternative medicine employ natural substances in addition to their unique practices.

4. Manipulation and Body-Based Practices- This type of alternative medicine features manipulation or movement of body parts. Examples are massage therapy, Bowen therapy, chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation.

5. Energy Medicine- Energy medicine use the energy fields that surround every living object. Examples include crystals, healing magnet therapy and QRA as a diagnostic tool.

Alternative Medicine -- Closing Thoughts

No matter what alternative medicine definition you prefer, whether a superior method of healing or a collection of medical quackery, one thing all types of medicine has in common is that there are no guarantees.

The practice of medicine by whatever practitioner is not perfect. The choice of what type of practitioner you choose for either your wellness or to combat an illness is a very personal one. The care of your body is ultimately your responsibility. Your health and how you care for yourself is a personal decision. There is no single, superior method of medicine. There may not even be any wrong choices in choosing how you take care of your body. Maybe there are just better choices, maybe even alternative choices.

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