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Defining Alternative Medicines

What is “Alternative Medicine”? It is exactly what the words say and mean, alternative medicine. It is the use of techniques or products outside the norm, those often not currently accepted by conventional medical practitioners. Alternative medicines or therapies are the unusual, the “not proven” by science, the alternatives to conventional treatments. They can be complementary to modern medicine, but are sometimes totaly different.

Alternative medicine can include many things such as acupuncture, magnets for realigning the electrical flow of the body, or reiki for helping with everything from back pain to breathing problems. It can include using scorpion stings to cure cancer or herbal plants to increase blood flow. The term “alternative therapies” encompasses a wide range of ideas and concepts, many of which can work and actually have practical basis.

Alternative medicine is not always “quackery” and, ironically, much conventional medicine was originally classified as alternatives by some group of people or culture. Many African Tribal Medicines are now produced commercially as prescription drugs. Chinese Herbal folklore given rise to the development of many enhancers of the body, making people feel better and heal faster. People mixing those roots and leaves it seemsdid know what they were doing after all. In several cases it took Europeans and Americans a long time to realize this.

Alternative medicines aren’t just used for extreme cases, when there is no other choice. Echinacea and Golden Seal help with colds, but they are considered by physicians as “alternatives”. People use them, and many alternative medicines, because they feel more comfortable with natural products and trust them better than the commercial extracts. The natural has always been more accepted by most people.

Is trust in alternative medicines or therapies valid? Yes it is, as many do work. Of course if it is a “miracle cure”, the miracle will be if it does work, there are still snake oil salesmen out there, but don’t distrust all new ideas. As stated previously, they are where tomorrow’s conventional medicines and practices will come from, though often after numerous changes.

Many alternative medicines and therapies have a sound, scientific basis. They just have yet to be proven. The poison from the scorpion in the blood destroys certain types of rapidly growing cells; with some types of cancer it works, the drug is being developed. American Indians chewed willow bark to help with joint pain, there is now aspirin.

Alternative medicines are alternatives, and one should always consider all the options, especially when dealing with your health!