Saturday, May 9, 2009

Alternative Medicine Versus Traditional Western Medicine

Often when people seek out alternative medicine, they've reached a point in their care where they're dissatisfied with the results and ready to abandon traditional Western medicine in search of something better. But the truth is ... these two apparently diverse approaches can actually work well together.

Alternative medicine covers a wide variety of disciplines. These can include holistic medicine, homeopathy, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, reflexology, yoga, Ayurveda, and more. They all tend to be less invasive, turn to natural solutions instead of pharmaceutical solutions, and look at a person's health from a whole-body perspective instead of managing symptoms as they pop up.

Traditional Western medicine relies heavily on invasive procedures such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and prescription drugs that all have consequences and side-effects of their own. In addition, these approaches tend to be focused on a specific symptom or illness while ignoring the other physical and psychological conditions of the patient. And finally, Western doctors tend to be under a time restraint ... trying to see as many patients as possible, while at the same time trying to keep up with the latest developments and the never-ending barrage of insurance and government red tape.

The advantage of Western medicine is that it's very high-tech. It uses the latest tools for diagnosing what's wrong with a particular area of the body. It can provide views of the internal systems that are absolutely astonishing. It's also very effective in emergency situations that demand a quick reaction and immediate care. These are its strengths.

Alternative medicine, on the other hand, is based on ancient practices. The treatments have been in existence for generations. They don't require the newest advances or the newest technologies. They're time proven. These approaches are not generally helpful in emergency situations. They require time for the body to heal itself. They address not just the apparent symptoms, but the body, mind and spirit as a whole.

Working Together

More and more, these two disciplines are discovering that they don't have to be mutually exclusive. Western physicians are openly encouraging the exploration of alternative medicine not as a replacement for their knowledge and skills but as a complement to them. Controlling chronic pain, for example, can incorporate yoga or massage or even hypnosis along with a regimen of prescribed medications.

Of course, your physician needs to know what you're doing. Some herbs, for example, can counteract some medications, or in even make them more potent. So if you're interested in adding an alternative medicine approach to what your doctor had already prescribed for you, make sure you consult him first.

More than likely, he'll be supportive of your efforts and make sure that you embark down a safe and healthy path.

Learn more about homeopathy by visiting: And learn more about all the various alternative medicine disciplines by visiting:

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