Alternative medicine, or alternative healthcare, is the practice of methods useful for healing or preventing certain disease conditions by stimulating the body’s own processes or by advocating other natural means of treatment. The practice of alternative healthcare is becoming popular in most parts of the world, especially as the number of patients suffering from chronic forms of diseases rises and the tolerance towards chemical forms of medicine gradually depletes. However, not all alternative healthcare practices can be backed up by enough scientific evidence or are being regulated by recognized accreditation mechanisms.
Among the alternative healthcare professions that are in existence, acupuncture is perhaps one of the oldest and one of the most popular. It practices the use of tiny needles to stimulate the body systems through a process of identifying and mapping up locations in the body with relevance to specific organs or specific conditions. It is a safe practice and has a large number of followers both in Asian countries as well as in the Western world. In order to practice as an acupuncturist one needs to obtain a degree in acupuncture from a recognized degree-awarding institute. In some instances, one should also apply and obtain accreditation or become a member of a recognized professional body before starting a practice in acupuncture at a particular location.
Homeopathy is another alternative healthcare profession that is gradually gaining a substantial number of followers due to its non-invasive treatment strategies. It relies on harnessing the energy of certain natural medicines diluted until the molecular composition of the original substance becomes almost negligible. The practice has grown over 200 years and at present many institutes provide recognized homeopathic training to thousands of potential practitioners.
Naturopathic medical practitioners
Naturopathic medicine is the practice of multiple modalities of healthcare practices from both alternative and traditional medicines. There are recognized universities in the US, which provide doctoral degrees in naturopathic medicine, and those who qualify with such degrees could gain accreditation through organizations such as the American Alternative Medical Association.
Another growing form of alternative healthcare practice is the practice of massage therapy, which has attracted a huge number of followers in all parts of the world. However, its practice requires a formal training through a recognized training institute. At the same time, it should be emphasized that massage therapy differs from the practice of physiotherapy in many different ways.
In the past decade, a growing number of researchers have looked into the effectiveness of using music therapy as a form of treating certain disease conditions and the results so far have been rather positive. Thus, the potential for music therapy to become a successful alternative healthcare practice is high. However, it requires a training that is somewhat different to other forms of healthcare practices.
In addition, many other alternative healthcare professions are gradually becoming popular in the western world. Recognizing this pattern, many training institutes are vying to win the competition to become the best training institute for such practices. However, when making a decision as to what school to attend in order to obtain the necessary qualification, a potential candidate should look for the recognition gained by the said school from the educational authorities as well as from the professional accreditation agencies, if available, pertaining to a particular profession.