Alternative Medicine

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Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine refers to a healing practice or process of medicine that does not follow the standard of diagnoses and treatment option of conventional medicine and is not based on evidence gathered through scientific research methods.

The beginning of the practice of alternative medicine does not have a clear historical date as the practice has been undertaken for several centuries in eastern Asia, Western Europe and among the Native Americans. However, its increased use in the health spheres was noted in 1970s as it was unverified by biomedical science but many patients were considering it as one of the best options for treatment.

The basic types of alternative medicine are Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, herbs, diet and vitamins, mind body therapies, homeopathy, naturopathy, and energy therapies. Alternative medicine is beneficial for spiritual and emotional conditions that are not handled well by conventional medicine. There are some alternative medicine treatment option such as vitamins and diet offer effective preventive measures against many diseases (Rosenblum).

Although alternative medicine has been effective in treatment of different ailments, it has several problems and risks that accompany it. Most of the treatment options have not been studied effectively by medical experts   and they may have detrimental effects on the patients. Examples of the negative effects are toxicity, several side effects, negative drug interaction especially in cases of herbals usage and overdose of the treatment substances. Alternative medicine is not as well regulated as the conventional medicine. As such, there has been emergence of numerous alternative medicine practitioners leading to quackery, a fact that has led to many cases of wrong diagnosis and treatment hence risking the lives of the patients. There is minimal funding for alternative medicine and so effective research is not achieves as a result, which prevents the opportunities for the treatment of emerging diseases and evolving illnesses (Rosenblum).

There is minimal health insurance coverage for alternative medicine treatment options. Although some expenses of using treatment such as chiropractic and acupuncture are reimbursed through insurance, most of alternative treatments are not covered. Most of the treatments are not verified as few research studies have been conducted on them hence raising the risk of causing detrimental effects on the patients. As such, health insurers avoid them. Further, since the field is not fully regulated, the risks that accompany them cause insurers to shun them (Rosenbl.............


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