Name any of a range of medical therapies that the medical profession does not consider orthodox, such as herbalism, homeopathy, and acupuncture. Alternative medicine is a term that describes medical treatments that are used instead of traditional (conventional) therapies. Some people also refer to it as “integrative” or “complementary” medicine. We've all seen the words “complementary”, alternative and “integrating”, but what do they really mean? This fact sheet analyzes these terms to help you better understand them and gives you a brief picture of the mission and role of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) in this area of research.
The terms “complementary”, “alternative” and “integrative” are continually evolving, along with the field, but the descriptions of these terms below are as we currently define them at the National Institutes of Health. In addition to the terms complementary and alternative, you may also hear the term “functional medicine”. This term sometimes refers to a concept similar to integrative health (described below), but it can also refer to an approach that more closely resembles naturopathy (a medical system that has evolved from a combination of traditional practices and healthcare approaches popular in Europe during the 19th century). Alternative medicine is a broad term that encompasses a variety of medical modalities.
They are usually backed by tradition and are rarely taught in a Western medical setting. These modalities range from ancient oriental acupuncture and Tai chi practices, to herbal medicine, Reiki, chiropractic manipulation and more. These services are often used interchangeably with the term alternative medicine, a designation created in the 19th century that distinguished these modalities as “alternative to allopathic medicine.”. Allopathic medicine is also commonly known as Western medicine, evidence-based medicine, conventional or conventional medicine.
In the 19th century, allopathic medicine was based on the practice of opposites, while the alternative branch suggested that “like was cured as. The current differences remain, but tend to revolve around a disease-centered approach (allopathic) versus a whole-body (alternative) approach. Alternative practices focus on stimulating the body's ability to heal itself through energy alignment, herbal supplementation, and other balancing techniques. In contrast, allopathic medicine focuses on the specific treatment of symptoms, usually with pharmacological or invasive methods to eliminate the causative agent.
With old registries supporting alternative modalities and rigorous clinical trials supporting allopathic modalities, there remains disagreement over which method has been shown to be beneficial and safe. Today, many physicians are embracing the beneficial aspects of both types of medicine through the practice of Integrative Medicine in which they combine alternative and allopathic techniques appropriate to the patient, symptoms and circumstances. In addition, large trials that attempt to solidify evidence of the anecdotal benefits of alternative medicine are increasing in popularity. For example, alternative approaches lend themselves to treating vague symptoms for which Western medicine lacks definitive treatment options, such as fatigue, “cold” or flu symptoms, widespread gastrointestinal problems, and so on.
In the United States, increasing funding for alternative medicine research is the purpose of the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). UU. The terms alternative medicine, complementary medicine, integrative medicine, holistic medicine, natural medicine, unorthodox medicine, marginal medicine, non-conventional medicine and new age medicine are used interchangeably because they have the same meaning and are almost synonymous in most contexts.
The meaning of the term alternative in the term alternative medicine is not that it is an effective alternative to medical science, although some promoters of alternative medicine may use looser terminology to give the appearance of effectiveness. While alternative modalities are rooted in thousands of years of tradition, there are still associated security problems. Critics say the term is misleading because it implies that there is an effective alternative to science-based medicine, and that complementarity is misleading because it implies that treatment increases the effectiveness of (complements) science-based medicine, while alternative medicines that have been tested almost do not always have a measurable positive effect compared to a placebo. The use of alternative medicine in the West began to increase after the counterculture movement of the 1960s, as part of the growing new age movement of the 1970s.
A US agency, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), has created a classification system for the branches of complementary and alternative medicine that divides them into five main groups. Alternative medicine is distinct from scientific medicine, which employs the scientific method to test plausible therapies through responsible and ethical clinical trials, producing evidence of effect or absence of effect. Government agencies in the United States and other countries have published information or guidance on alternative medicine. It should be noted that many drugs use purified botanical agents and are under strict government regulation for potency and clarity reasons, and can be used as an alternative to herbal supplements.
But what types of therapies are considered alternatives? The definition changes as doctors perform tests and move more of them into the mainstream. In Latin America, inequalities against BIPOC communities keep them tied to their traditional practices and, therefore, it is often these communities that make up the majority of users of alternative medicine. Many alternative therapies are based on the basic belief system coined by Ayurveda, which supports health promotion through the balance of mind, body and spirit. .