Alternative medicine is defined as any health practice that takes the place of, or is incompatible with, conventional Western medicine. Distinction must be made between alternative medicine and complementary medicine. Complementary medicine may involve nontraditional medical practices, but is undertaken along with traditional healing approaches. Alternative medicine implies using only nontraditional methods.
Alternative medicine includes a broad range of practices. Some healing therapies are based on Ancient Chinese beliefs, like acupuncture and the use of certain herbal compounds. Others focus on Hindu, or Ayurvedic, therapies including diet changes, the practice of yoga, and emphasizing the connection of mind, body and spirit.
There are reasons why people chose alternative medicine. According to The World Health Origination(WHO), in an article published in December 2008 states, “In many developed countries, 70% to 80% of the population has used some form of alternative or complementary medicine”. Alternative medicine is safer than standard health treatments and usually works. It's true that it can't be used in severe conditions like car accidents or other severe emergencies, but be that as it may, there are enough situations in which alternative medicine is recommended. When it comes to emotional and spiritual needs, non-conventional medicine may come up with the solution. Furthermore, it's better for preventing illnesses than standard medicine. More and more physicians nowadays agree upon the benefits of alternative medicine and also even advise their clients to choose the best natural treatment for them. “More than 100 countries have regulations for herbal medicines”, according to the WHO article.
One of the advantages of alternative medicine is that it incorporates a broad range of therapies, treatments and homeopathic products, the search for obtaining positive results doesn't flow on a narrow path at all. Even though the expenses of using acupuncture or chiropractic treatments are sometimes covered by health insurances, the majority of alternative treatments are not reimbursed.
“Insurance usually won't cover them, so Americans are spending more than $30 billion a year out of pocket to get them”, says Stuart Bondurant, a dean at Georgetown University Medical Center. He chaired the Institute of Medicine expert panel asked to report on key research and policy questions by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, according to an online article published on USA Today.com January 12, 2005.
There are certain risks that come along with the use of natural remedies. Despite the use of herbs throughout the years and even ancient times, not all of them have been studied regarding their safety and efficiency. There are issues concerning their purity and their possible interaction with other substances related to conventional medicine. In the same USA Today article, it goes on to say; “Alternative therapies also should be held to the same standards for effectiveness as