Outline and Evaluate the Reasons for the Growing Popularity of Alternative Medicine

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Outline and evaluate the reasons for the growing popularity of alternative medicine

Alternative medicine is a term that is used to describe medical practices that are different from accepted forms and is used instead of orthodox medicine (Hunt and Lightly, 1999). This term was given to these types of medical practices by the bio-medical model which reflects their power. However, recently it has been become ‘Complementary’ which shows the increasing acceptance of this type of medicine; this now marks a shift from seeing alternatives as in opposition to modern medicine to recognising that they can support orthodox treatment. This type of medicine has a Holistic approach, meaning that it treats the mind as well as the body, unlike the bio-medical model which could be a reason as to why more and more people use certain forms of complementary medicine. Alternative medicine has always been popular in Eastern societies; for example, treatments like Fire Cupping originate from China and over time have becoming increasingly popular in the West. According to a study in 2007, Britons spent £191 million on alternative medicine in that year alone and has been suggested that that figure has gone up by 32% in the past five years. Another reason as to why this form of medicine has become largely more popular in Western societies is that GPs and hospitals will often refer people to them if they feel that the bio-medical model can’t help them. Similarly, the NHS will refer to this form of medicine as ‘Complementary’, which shows that they no longer see it as a threat to their form of health care. According to Sharma (1992) the most popular forms on Complementary medicine are Herbalism, Osteopathy and Homeopathy. This could be down to the fact that these ones are the most successful in their treatment, or on the other hand it could be that celebrities have made it into some form of ‘Popular Culture’ in which the masses feel they should also try out. There are a significant...
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