Alternative and Complementary Medicine: Old Medicine, New Synergies

The terms alternative medicine and complementary medicine are often wrongly used as synonyms. Actually, the term alternative medicine refers to medicine systems like Ayurveda or Acupuncture that are used in place of conventional medicine, while complementary medicine refers to those therapies like massage that are used in conjunction with conventional medicine.

However, both end up performing the same role in several western countries. That is why in popular parlance alternative medicine has come to be known as complementary medicine, giving birth to the term alternative and complementary medicine.

Most practitioners recognize acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic, Ayurveda, Homeopathy and herbal medicine as the most important forms of alternative and complementary medicine.

These may be the major alternative therapies but the list of alternative and complementary medicine does not end here. The other medicinal systems that can be included in this grouping are naturopathy, nutritional medicine, aromatherapy, massage, crystal healing and different types of energy medicine. Barring Homeopathy, most of the alternative and complementary medicine systems evolved in ancient times in countries like India, China, Egypt, Tibet and Persia.

An important aspect of alternative and complementary medicine is that it focuses on the person as a whole. The medicine is therefore based not only on the patient's physical symptoms but also on the individual's lifestyle, environment, diet, mental and emotional health; sometimes even the spiritual health. That is why alternative medicine is called holistic medicine.

Interestingly, alternative and complementary medicine is no longer limited to the mystic Orient. But the western world to is recognizing these medicinal therapies as an important component of healing.

Countries like India and China are using their knowledge of alternative and complementary medicine to promote what has come to be known as medical tourism. A large number of westerners are flying to these Asian countries to look for holistic cures.

In the West too, a large number of women are using aromatherapy and massage while men are turning to alternative and complementary medicine to recover from sports injuries or back pain.

The other medical problems for which practitioners are turning to alternative and complementary medicine are chronic ailments like arthritis, cystitis, asthma or chronic fatigue. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized the value of holistic treatments. Among the diseases that WHO believes can be cured with these approaches are asthma, eczema, digestive disorders and headaches.

This growing acceptance of alternative and complementary medicine is a healthy sign for the world, because the synergies that have been so created are helping to tackle many incurable diseases. In the ultimate analysis, we should not forget that alternative and complementary medicine systems originated thousands of years ago, and have been successful in treating millions of people across the ages.

Howard Tiano, has studied optimum health techniques for three decades, and came to alternative medicine through a family health crises. Sign up for the free 7 part series, "Dietary Supplements; Truth or Consequences" at:
http://www.alternative-medicine-resource.com .

In The News:

Shaping talent for alternative cinema  The New Indian Express

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