Complementary and Alternative Medicine

The number of Complementary and Alterative medicine (CAM) consumer is constantly increasing. According to the National Health Information survey in 2004, nearly 40% of American adults used some form of alternative therapies and spend around 30 billion dollars per year on unconventional medicine (Kayne 2008, p. 93). The term “alternative medicine” refers to all the therapeutic practice that is not part of the conventional medicine such as: herbal medicine, acupuncture and yoga (Hirsch, 2009).

Allopathic medicine is based on scientific knowledge that has already been proven efficient whereas most of homeopathic treatments are based on tradition and beliefs in spiritual energies. It will be argued that although logical issues and concerns dealing with the unconventional therapy, the various advantages of homeopathic methods outweigh any potential inconveniences if it is well practiced and complementary.

This is essay will examine the various drawbacks and benefits of this therapeutical approach. First of all, on the disadvantage side alternative medicine usually does not heal the patient instantly. Indeed herbal treatments for instance can take weeks before a real improvement appeared. Sometimes numerous acupuncture sessions or massages are required for a long lasting result. As a consequence the one concerned can get impatient and decided to switch to a more conventional healing.

Moreover, according to Dr. Hirsch (2009) to adopt CAM it demands to invest a considerable amount of time, energy and money (as it is rarely covered by health insurance). Furthermore, doctor denounces the fact that some people choose to treat some severe disease primarily with alternative therapies whereas it should only be in addition to conventional medicine. Under those circumstances, damage can be done beyond repair by the time the patient realize that the treatment do not work at all.

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Besides, CAM practices can meddle with conventional medication, for example herbal supplements can interfere with treatments like birth-control pills. Above all, Dr. Hirsch (2009) states that CAM users must keep in mind that contrary to conventional medical doctors, there is only few trained and licensed CAM practitioners. As an illustration, practice such as yoga can be dangerous if the movement are not done properly with a professional. Finally few scientists like Kaptchuk. (2002) note that placebo effect may enhance results from alternative remedy.

As the CAM users believe for instance, that healing ritual such as acupuncture is good for their mind and body it will then have true benefits on the patients for some specific illness as emotional state can influence the immune system. Although this may be true that CAM practice must be done with carefulness and awareness it is not true that the demerits brought by CAM prevail over the merits. First thing to remember in the advantage side, as stated by Buzescu (2011, p. 130) alternative therapies have almost no side effects as it works with the body instead of eliminating symptoms like the conventional medicine.

The scientist also holds the views that it is a green friendly practice; natural substances are applied and the modus operandi is quiet simple. In the same way this searcher believes that users may feel reassured that they will probably not found dangerous and polluted chemicals in their products. In addition, it is important to realize that millions of underprivileged families heal themselves and rely only on unconventional medicine thanks to the fact that it not expensive, contrarily to the modern drugs.

Moreover the complementary healing approach is becoming increasingly successful for its aptitude to diagnosticate and focus on the real nature of the disease. It pays more attention to the mental and emotional symptoms. As a matter of fact practitioners have the knowledge and are engaged to encourage the mind-body connection. Consequently they give to others the aptitude to bear their sickness through various resources, techniques and natural remedies. Buzescu (2011, p. 30) goes on to say that the main goal of complementary medicine is to “help or complete classical treatment methods”. In other words CAM is used in addition to conventional healing treatments, to deal with symptoms or side effects that had not been yet cured. In this case, it has been suggested to patients to discuss with the conventional doctor about their intentions to add complementary healing techniques to their previous treatment and more especially if it involves herbal therapies Malbley(1998).

Likewise, this practice is becoming more accepted and approved by the conventional doctors, but keep in mind that it can only works as a complement and not as an alternative, a complement should not lead to a total replacement Dawson (2008). Indeed there is finally a theory that CAM treatment can be use for disease like cancer, as it procures some reliefs from signs and symptoms (Tovey, Chatwin and Broom, 2007). To conclude, in recent years CAM healing approach have risen in popularity among industrialized countries.

One the one hand, it shows some disadvantages as it may be a long-term treatment that demand a lot of personal investment and which is sometimes taken without a full knowledge of the facts that it may only rely on the placebo effect. On the other hand it merits such as the fact that there is no side effect, it is a cost effective and green approach that focus on the core of the disease to heal, largely compensate the demerits if it is used as a complement. However it is obvious that in order to avoid any abuse, governments should implement laws and regulations toward CAM practice.

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