Alternative medicine is the medicine of many different names. The therapies that this medicine encompasses are constantly shifting and dependent on opinion and perspective. Consider the following list: acupuncture; biofeedback training; chiropractic; exercise; energy healing; herbal remedies; homeopathic treatment; hypnosis; imagery or relaxation techniques; massage therapy; nutritional/dietary advice; spiritual healing or prayer; traditional medicine (for example, Chinese or Indian medicine); meditation, vitamin therapy, and yoga. It is difficult to coin one term, which covers this entire list of diverse practices.
Some practitioners prefer the term Natural medicine. This term, however, can be somewhat misleading. While many of the products that are used in this type of medicine come from nature, many do not. For example, S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe), a typical CAM remedy, doesn’t grow on a tree but is found circulating in our blood. However, it must be manufactured/synthesized in large quantities in a laboratory before it can be used as a natural medicine therapy. Likewise, how natural is it to supplement with vitamins and minerals, which are also manufactured products? In addition, the term “Natural Medicine” does not capture practices such as acupuncture, massage, light therapy and many other common CAM treatments.
Other practitioners prefer the term Complementary medicine. This word suggests a type of medicine, which ...
Continue Reading This Article