Medicine has come a long way since it was first created; it has helped cure many illnesses and extended one’s average life span. Throughout the last couple of years, alternative medicine has attracted plenty of attention towards itself. This is due to the fact that new ideas and styles are being introduced into the world each day. Regardless of all its growing popularity, what do we really know about medicine? Is it safe? What studies have been conducted to prove its efficacy and validity in a generation where people are looking for a change and living life to the fullest?
Are these new methods of medicine the answer to illnesses that the world has been seeking? Conventional medical practitioners say that this new style of medicine is fake and is potentially dangerous because there is not much, if any, evidence to support it’s effectiveness and that it is actually successful and beneficial. On the other hand, alternative medical doctors state that this kind of medicine cures more efficiently without the use of pills, drugs, surgery or shots that conventional medicine uses. Medicine’s efficiency has enhanced over the last couple of years and continues to enhance due to the continuous funding and research.
Cultures around the world have developed and continue to develop, different ways to treat the same illnesses or injuries. Nowadays two very common types of medicine can be found: alternative medicine and conventional medicine. However, which one is the better one? Some people are afraid of getting big pointy needles stuck inside of them, while others do not like the idea of having to go through any kind of surgery. For example, “I’m not going to have a needle stuck in my vertebrae, I’m going to find a different way” (Hamilton).
Since Pam Hamilton did not like the idea of getting an injection or surgery, she took it upon herself to research alternative ways online and found another way to treat it. A clear example of alternative medicine’s advantages is Katie Pugliese, whom suffered from chronic neck, back pain and headaches for several years. She eventually was recommended to try acupuncture treatments by her physician. Pugliese said that it has helped her significantly. She also maintains a strict exercise routine and gets massage therapy on a regular basis. The result?
She no longer gets the debilitating headaches that she used to get. “I know how hard it is to undo years of tension,” she says. “It was really quite miraculous”. I don’t know how else to explain it” (Pugliese). She explains that she felt better afterwards and that she had not expected great results but is happy she got them. The results that alternative medicine has had on some of its participants, have been successful, helping cure those patients. Soldiers that were getting back home from war used alternative medicines, like acupuncture and meditation, to treat PTSD.
Dan Cherkin stated, “ A growing body of research supports the effectiveness of chiropractic, massage therapy, yoga and acupuncture in treating most back pain”. This means that these treatments have been effective at times with some people. They used several alternative medicines and have found that they do wonders for them, it helps them relax and get over the post war trauma. Healing touch and guided imagery, which was used by having soldiers listen to a CD that enhanced relaxation and reduced negative emotions, are used to treat PTSD.
These treatments focus on the whole person, which helps the individual heal and helps the military by keeping the soldiers performing well. Alternative medicines can be very helpful and are great treatment methods but at the same time they can fail and/or be very dangerous. Some people choose alternative medicines because the medicines that they were prescribed by doctors don’t end up working, they are just afraid to get injections or they don’t like the side effects that those medicines produce.
Another reason why alternative medicine is chosen over conventional medicine is because some people’s immune system becomes immune to antibiotics and it is much cheaper than traditional medicine. People take one’s word that alternative medicine can help produce better results than conventional medicine. However, alternative medicine just does not have the same solutions as the conventional one. According to Dr. Paul Offit, “Some alternative therapies have terrible sides effects”.
Offit also pointed out at that herb kava kava may cause liver toxicity (Baker, 744). He is saying that some of those alternative medicines might work but there is a chance that the person using it will get harmed. Offit says, “The hospital’s like a restaurant: The patient’s a customer, and the doctor is a waiter. It’s a marketplace. ” In other words, the patient is choosing what treatment they want instead of the doctors recommending them treatments. The doctors do not like this because they are the ones that are educated in medicine and they know what treatment or medicine their patient needs.
The patient is not as educated as them in the field of medicine. Basically, the doctors know what is best for their patients/customers and so they should be the ones choosing the treatments for the patients not the patients themselves. There has been an increased demand for alternative medicines and it has resulted in a growth of funding for research studies. While the demand for it is growing, there is still insufficient evidence that it works better than traditional medical methods.
When selling alternative medicines, marketers attempt to make people think that the words “natural” and “safe” have the same meaning when in reality they do not. Just because it is natural it does not necessarily mean that it is safe. Supplements and herbs, which are alternatives, have the ability to mix with prescription and over-the-counter medicines and result in harm to one’s health. Conventional medicines may have a few side effects but so do these so called “natural” medicines. Alternative medicines are also not one-hundred percent reliable.
One may be told by whoever sells you it, that it is completely reliable and that it is guaranteed to cure the consumer. This is told to everyone to help them make money off of people. Everyone has their own opinions on whether alternative medicine is better than conventional medicine or not. To add to it though, there is also complementary medicine. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is basically different kinds of medicines or treatments being put together to cure or better the condition of a person.
People use this type of medicine to treat long term health problems and/or to stay healthy. Some people feel like they are more in control when they are further involved in their own health. Most complementary medicine focuses on the connection that intervenes the mind and body, which results in many people feeling better. It works more toward inclusive wellness, instead of just focusing on the relief from a single problem. Complementary medicine is an increasing component of healthcare practice, but substantial confusion remains about what explicitly it is.