Traditional versus alternative medicine is an issue that requires a great deal of inspection and assumption. The purpose of both types of medicine is to have a healthy, strong, and fit body. Specialists differ in their opinions on this topic and their views are based on the advantages and disadvantages of both types of medicine. This essay will define in clearer terms how Alternative medicine differs from Traditional medicine in its definition, approaches, and advantages. Traditional medicine can be defined as conventional or contemporary health science, medical technology, surgery, and related practices.
It is based on the scientific study of diagnosing, treating, or preventing a disease (MacIntosh). Alternative medicine, on the other hand, is the aggregate of knowledge based on age old skills and practices (Magar). This knowledge is derived from the theories and beliefs of different cultures and societies for maintaining health. Thus, alternative medicines use unconventional methods for the prevention, diagnosis, improvement, and treatment of any form of disease. Practices such as massage therapy, aroma therapy, herbal medicines and acupuncture are included in alternative medicine and are not typically considered traditional.
Traditional medicine is also referred to as contemporary or western medicine. This approach concentrates on the cause of the illness and the attempts to describe the factors that result in the disease, how to prevent it, and what its remedial measures are. Traditional medicine usually uses dosages of synthetic drugs and surgical practices. Such types of medical practices treat each body part as a separate entity and are based on the theory that by studying each body part independently, an understanding of the body as a whole can be achieved.
Traditional medicine is referred to as the educational approach, where what is learned through years of schooling is applied. Alternative medicine is a healing process. Traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, yoga, and Chiropractic care are some popular examples of alternative medicine. This approach uses non-synthetic remedial measures such as herbs. The idea behind this approach is purification of the whole system, rather than eliminating the exact reason of concern based just on one body part. This treatment provides a complete remedy for the body, mind, and spirit.
Both of these types of medicines have their advantages and disadvantages and are often used in conjunction with each other. Traditional medicine is far superior in the case of life saving practices since it gives immediate results. For example, in a case of an accident that requires urgent surgery; traditional medicine has an upper hand and would be used far more often than alternative medicine. The field of medicine is incomplete without X-rays. CT scanning, surgeries ECT. on which alternative school of thought has little substitute.
Alternative medicine takes its time to show proper results and may not be suitable for cases that require immediate medical attention or life threatening incidents. However, alternative medicine has an edge on problems due to psychological factors where the body, as a whole, can benefit from treatment. Modern ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease, migraines, and stress related disorders have a healthier cure with the alternative system. A great benefit to alternative medicine is that the side effects are a lot less severe than that of conventional medicine treatments.
The intensive use of antibiotics and other synthetic drugs have sometimes been proven to cause more side effects than actually cure the problem. If we take the example of the most often complained about medical problem worldwide—the headache, and consider it in both systems of medicine under debate, we will conclude that in traditional approach, no satisfactory solution for this problem has come forward to be able to provide permanent relief from it. Very often, aspirin and other pain killers have caused more stomach disorders, than remedy for headaches. When over the counter remedies don’t work, prescription drugs called triptans are used.
(Hildreth) On the other hand, some practices of alternative medicine such as yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture, and the practice of “tai chi” can help alleviate the pain from headaches without any sort of side effects. In fact, the entire body is revived and invigorated through these types of sessions. Other than being a slower process of treatment, the use of alternative medicine practices has other shortcomings as well. If a person is on a traditional medicine plan already, the alternative plan can actually interfere with the treatment and vice versa.
This can result in the treatments having different outcomes in different conditions. Another problem with this approach is that the credibility of alternative medicine practitioners can be questionable, as their practices are handed down from beliefs, cultures, and theories, rather than proven scientific methods. Very little alternative medicine therapies are backed up by scientific confirmation and this is often the reason insurance companies refuse to pay for these types of treatments. This does not mean theses therapies do not work, it just means that experts have not studied them enough to know for sure that they do.
(Hirsch). Traditional medicine is backed by studies and scientific proof and many years of studying to enter into the field of traditional medicine. The major paradox arising in this modern era is that with the advancements in medical practices and drugs, the number of ailments are also increasing. The main purpose of both, traditional and alternative medicine, is to provide relief from illness and pains. However, with the development of every new measure of controlling a disease, a new disease emerges. Today, more people than ever are on various types of chronic medications. A healthy lifestyle seems harder and harder to achieve.
- Hildreth, Caroln J. The Journal of the American Medical Association Migraine Heachache Vol 301, No. 24 JAMA 24 June 2009. Web. 26 September 2011.
- Hirsch, Larissa. Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Teens Health. N. p. , Novemeber 2009. Web. 21 September 2011.
- MacIntosh, Anna. Conventional, Alternative, Complimentary, Integrative and Natural Medicine:The Grisanti Report. Townsend Letter. July 13, 2002. Web. 21 September 2011.
- Magar, Prashant. Traditional Vs. Alternative Medicine. N. p. n. d. Web. 21 September 2011.
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Conventional Medicine Vs. Alternative Medicine Essay
The dictionary states that conventional medicine is offered by hospitals and practiced by those who have a medical doctor degree; it is also called western medicine. The opposite of conventional medicine is called complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Complementary and Alternative medicine can be considered holistic medicine, which is usually not prescribed by physicians a part of hospitals. There has been an increase in those that have an aversion to conventional medicine that is offered by hospitals (Astin, 1998). There are multiple reasons as to why people dislike conventional medicine. Some reasons for this increase is that “alternative treatments are thought to offer more control over health care decisions, and alternatives are seen as more compatible with the patient’s values, worldview, beliefs regarding the nature and meaning of illness and health” or a person truly believes that they can be cured of their ailment by the use of only CAM treatments (Astin, 1998). Another reason as to why people turn toward complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is that one might have an aversion to doctors. Some CAM treatments include; therapies, herbal medicine, and acupuncture (Collinge, 1996).
In the early life of medicine, what is now thought of as complementary and alternative medicine was all that there was for healing. The history of complementary and alternative medical treatments can be traced back centuries ago. The first written documents of it start during the Han Dynasty in China; this is why people believe that the Chinese started complementary and alternative medical (CAM) treatments but, there is no definite proof (Collinge 1996). The very first type of CAM treatment that was known was herbal medicines. Herbal medicine includes treatments that are all made from natural and organic plants; the herbs can be used as dietary supplements, and aroma therapy (Eisenberg, 1997). Other common complementary and alternative treatments can include; acupuncture, chiropractors, yoga, tai chi and homeopathies (Eisenberg, 1997). Since CAM treatments were all that were known back in the day, they were considered godsends. However, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the witch trials began. These trials changed the belief that CAM treatments were good until recent times (Alsleben and Donsbach, 1992). The respect of CAM treatments was lost during the witch trials because all those that were thought of as being witches used herbal medicine and in general complementary and alternative medicine. The history of conventional medical treatments started after complementary and alternative medical treatments stopped being respected (Alsleben and Donsbach, 1992). It is believed, that conventional treatments branched off of CAM treatments because of when they started being in use.
There is some research or knowledge about complementary and alternative medical treatments; however, more needs to be done. More research needs to be done so that a...
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