There are several advantages of alternative medicine, especially when combined with Western medical treatment. When you choose to add alternative treatments to a Western treatment plan for a specific health situation, the process is referred to as complementary alternative medicine because the alternative treatments are working in conjunction with the primary health care plan, and the treatments complement each other. It's important to communicate with all health care providers to make sure the treatments work together, but as long as proper communication is established, you may benefit greatly from combining treatments.
The following list provides five reasons to add complementary alternative medical treatments to your primary health care plan.
Some Alternative Treatments are Holistic in Nature
Many alternative medical practices are more holistic-meaning all-encompassing-than Western medical treatments. While Western doctors do place some emphasis on preventative medicine, alternative treatments such as ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine are much more encompassing, examining your emotional, spiritual and physical health. The health advice you may get from these alternative doctors may reveal some interconnected aspect of your health that was overlooked by a Western doctor.
Many Alternative Treatments Have Been Proven Over Centuries
Several of the more popular alternative treatments-ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture-have been in practice for thousands of years. The wisdom of these lengthy practices should not be ignored, since these treatments have proven themselves over time.
Medicine is Not an Exact Science
While we'd all like to believe doctors know the answers to everything, the truth is that science is always changing. Studies may point us in the right direction, but nothing is proven to work all the time for everyone. Alternative treatments may not be considered conventional now, but the very practices that sound a little crazy today may be widely accepted in a decade. While you will want to proceed with caution when trying alternative treatments, you just may be one of the first to experience success with a new treatment that will later become standard.
Complementary Alternative Medicine Often Uses Natural Methods
Most complementary alternative medicine is based off natural methods of restoring health. Many people find the idea of using natural products and stimuli appealing and intuitive, since the idea that the earth provided everything we need to remain healthy is an appealing philosophy. Naturopaths use herbal remedies, massage therapists use therapeutic touch to heal, and yogi use breathing patterns, body poses, and meditation to bring comfort and relief to people. All of these natural remedies can supplement a Western care plan without clashing.
Alternative Treatments Can Reduce the Number of Prescription Drugs You Need
Tired of being on an anti-depressant because you don't like the side effects? Don't want to manage your pain with drugs? Many alternative treatments offer relief without drugs. Yoga, meditation and lifestyle changes such as dietary changes and exercise can relieve mild depression without the need for drugs; acupuncture can relieve pain. You may want to work together with your Western doctor to see if you can use alternative treatments in place of some of the drugs you have been prescribed.
Western vs alternative medicine comparison yields very different philosophies to medicine.
The healing benefits of alternative medicine are not only celebrated by patients. Even Western doctors are starting to recommend a blend of traditional and alternative methods.