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Alternative Medicine and Natural Healing

  • Published: 2009-01-15 (Revised/Updated 2013-03-24) : Author: Adam Brenner
  • Synopsis: More people than ever are becoming interested in natural medicine and a natural alternative to drugs and surgery for certain health conditions.

Main Document

"Recent statistics from the NIH shows that as many as 36% of the American adult population relies on one or more forms of alternative medicine to ward off sickness or derive other health benefits."

More and more people than ever before are becoming interested in natural medicine and a more natural alternative to drugs and surgery for certain health conditions.

The already huge market is ever expanding with everything from essential oil therapy to nutritional supplements.

So, why are so many people choosing alternative medicine, as it is widely known? Or, to be more direct, what is the definition of alternative medicine? Basically, alternative medicine is known simply as a healing practice that does not fit into the defined methods or traditional or allopathic medicine, or conventional western medicine as it is also known.

Everything from "old folk remedies" to "Native American remedies" as well as Homeopathy, Chinese Herbs, Bach Flower Remedies, Acupuncture and Chiropractic to name a few would fall into the category of "Alternative Medicine."

A recent statistics from the NIH shows that as many as 36% of the American adult population relies on one or more forms of alternative medicine to ward off sickness or derive other health benefits. The study doesn't limit the use of alternative medicine to this specific population and shows that women, college students, former smokers and people who have undergone previous hospitalization are also using alternative medicine practices. The sheer holistic nature of alternative medicine is what draws people to it, but despite its widespread use and popularity, it remains relatively understudied.

Some of the most widely used alternative therapies in the US include biologically based practices, mind-body medicine, manipulative and body-based practices, and alternative herbal medicine, Ayurveda, naturopathy, homeopathy and energy medicine.

But, what is the meaning of alternative medicine

The fact is that, in actuality, for much of history, what is known today as alternative medicine was simply known as simply medicine. From many of the "medical home remedies" or old fashion home remedies came the basis for many of today's modern pharmaceuticals. The earliest synthetic drugs were often based on the well-known medicinal properties of common botanicals, flowers and herbs.

There are many different types of alternative medicine available today and there is an ever-growing interest in everything from a homeopathic remedy for arthritis to finding qualified complementary alternative medical practitioners in a particular area. People want to know things like what is the best detoxification program and things like what are the best nutrients for treating and preventing certain conditions.

So many people are becoming interested in how holistic healing works as an alternative to prescribed drugs, many of which treat symptoms rather than deal with the underlying causes of disease. Even prescription drugs that are aimed at eliminating the cause of the ailment have serious side-effects that sometimes outweigh the benefits.

One simple example of alternative medicine in the area of coronary artery disease is the use of garlic in the diet as a supplement. There are numerous clinical studies that can be found that show that Garlic can lower triglycerides, inhibit platelet aggregation, lower blood pressure and more.

Honey was used as a treatment for wounds and raw un-pasteurized honey has wonderful healing qualities including anti-bacterial properties.

So, where did alternative medicine start

Many of the practices that are widely known today have their origins based in ancient cultures from different parts of the world. Some of the oldest healing practices come from Chinese Medicine and Chinese healing herbs and are over 5000 years old. Ayurvedic Medicine from the East also has a history dating back around 6000 years. Hippocrates (c. 460-377 BC), a Greek physician frequently referred to as the Father of Medicine, practiced herbal medicine and was known for saying "let thy medicine be thy food and they food be thy medicine."

Adam Brenner is a New Jersey native and writes about a number of topics and has a particular interest in natural healing arts and wellness. He is also a saxophonist and composer and has had an article published in Downbeat magazine about saxophonist Joe Henderson (Website Down Last Check)

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