and alternative medicine is any practice, approach, medication or
treatment that is not considered a part of conventional medicine
today. These alternative approaches to medicine are constantly changing,
and something that is considered unconventional this year might be
considered conventional next year. There are two different types
of alternative medicine. Complementary medicine is an unconventional
form of medicine used in conjunction with a more traditional or conventional
form of medicine or treatment. When unconventional practices are
used on their own, or in place of conventional medicine, this is
called alternative medicine.
A medication, treatment or procedure
is considered conventional when it is fully tested and reviewed
in the medical field, taught in medical
schools, and has been established for a period of time. Unconventional
alternative medicines are not tested by the FDA before they are
put on the market, and do not have to be prescribed or administered
a licensed healthcare professional. If you are interested in any
type of complementary or alternative medicine, it is really important
to research your options and look into any tests or studies that
might have been conducted on the particular alternative. You should
also notify your provider and any other healthcare providers you see
about any alternative medicine you are taking. Your provider needs
to know about all medicines you take in order to come up with a
comprehensive diagnosis. In fact, your provider will also be able
to give you sound
advice about alternative medicines that you might be interested
in. He or she can tell you if that alternative is right for you.
provider may also be able to refer you to an alternative medicine
practitioner who is respectable and has credentials. Because many
alternative medicine practitioners are not required to be licensed,
you run the risk of visiting an unqualified person when you seek
Remember that all medication, including “natural” and
alternative medicine and treatments, work differently for different
people. That’s why it isn’t a good idea to try a medicine
just because a friend or acquaintance says it works for them. Sometimes,
alternative medicine is advertised on fancy websites or in magazine
ads, and with phrases like “miracle cure,” “secret
formula,” or “new discovery.” These terms are
usually misleading and can cause you to buy something that is more
of a scam
than a cure.
There are many types of alternative medicine available
to you. If you are confused about what falls under the category
and alternative medicine,” don’t worry. The options
vary from acupuncture to vitamin C pills, and everything in between.
is a list of the basic forms of complementary and alternative medicine.
- Homeopathic medicine: A type of medication that aims to stimulate
and aid a person’s immune defense system through the use
of plants, animal products and minerals.
- Alternative medical systems:
An entire system of theory and practice that defines an overall
approach to health and life. Many of
these systems are developed in non-Western cultures, such as
of which acupuncture is a critical component among specific diet,
exercise and mental health practices.
- Manipulative body-based
methods: Focuses on moving specific parts of the body in order
to realign the body and to alleviate
examples include chiropractors and masseuses.
- Mind-body methods:
Certain practices are based on the belief that the body’s
health is directly affected by the mind. These practices focus
on relaxation and meditation and promoting
a healthy mind,
and examples include hypnosis and yoga. There are also related
fields such as music therapy and art therapy.
- Biologically based
therapies: These treatments use natural substances such as herbs,
foods and vitamins to treat conditions
or to promote
a healthy lifestyle, examples include taking a multivitamin or
use of Echinacea.
- Energy therapies: This form of therapy uses
energy fields, either biofield (naturally occurring “energy” found
in the body) or bioelectromagnetic-based fields (external magnetic,
current fields) as a form of treatment.