Alternative vs Conventional Medicine

Topics: Alternative medicine, Physician, Medicine Pages: 5 (1475 words) Published: February 3, 2014


Alternative Medicine vs. Conventional Medicine

Abstract
The paper discusses the differences and similarities between conventional medicine and alternative medicine. The major differences concern the educational level, attitude to diseases, theoretical support and researches, patient participation, time, and cost. The main similarities include healing purpose, the human factor, and some common methods used.

Keywords: alternative medicine, conventional medicine, approach, patients

Alternative Medicine vs. Conventional Medicine
Sooner or later, every person deals with conventional or alternative medicine. It is interesting to consider the difference between these two approaches to understand which approach is more effective. According to the World Health Organization, alternative medicine is “a broad set of health care practices that are not part of the country’s own tradition and are not integrated into the dominant health care system” (Medicines, 2013, Page 1). Conventional medicine is a traditional scientific approach based on evidence and research; it relies on tests, theories, and analysis. There are several considerable differences between conventional and alternative medicine that concern scientific proof, the level of education, economics, treatment focus, and other factors. Conventional medicine is a conservative approach which everyone has experienced going to hospitals and polyclinics. Conventional medicine has two main directions: surgical intervention and pharmaceutical treatment. Alternative medicine involves numerous practices concerning diet and nutrition, herbal remedies, manual healing methods, acupuncture, mind/body intervention, pharmacological and biological treatment, and others (Steyer, 2010). First, the conventional approach implies taking into account efficacy studies for treatments. On the contrary, alternative medicine does not consider scientific proof to be necessary. In this light, it appears to be illogical that so many people turn to alternative methods where there is no proven evidence. There is an opinion that all positive results gained from alternative therapies can be attributed to the placebo effect. Second, specialists in alternative medicine usually focus on the state of the whole body, while conventional medicine doctors mostly treat a specific area of a patient’s body. For instance, various kinds of meditation and massages give a calming effect helping to relieve pain. Conventional medicine mostly treats the problem of a specific body area applying the symptomatic approach. If a patient has a sore throat, some special medication for the throat can be used. Consequently, the conventional approach is often criticized for hiding symptoms instead of performing a deep analysis. However, this criticism is not always adequate because, in most cases, conventional specialists carry out research (for instance, tests to reveal the type of infection) that helps to determine the cause of the disease. Alternative medicine has a different view of illness in comparison to conventional medicine. It is common for alternative medicine practitioners to consider a disease as some kind of imbalance in the person’s vital energy. Generally, alternative medicine specialists look for some complex causes of a health problem, while conventional doctors usually treat symptoms. Thereby, the alternative approach affects the lifestyle as a whole concentrating on healthy nutrition, a balanced emotional state, and a proper correlation between physical exercises and rest. Alternative medicine pays much attention to preventative and health maintaining practices. The level of education and licensure among conventional practitioners is higher than practitioners of alternative medicine. This factor makes conventional medicine more credible than alternative medicine. Doctors study many years at a University, plus residency in order to...


References: Medicines (2013). World health organization. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/medicines/areas/traditional/definitions/en/index.html
Steyer, T.E. (2001). Complementary and alternative medicine: A primer. American Association of Family Physicians. Retrieved from http://www.aafp.org/fpm/2001/0300/p37.html
What is complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)? (n.d.). National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Retrieved from: http://cim.ucdavis.edu/clubs/camsig/whatiscam.pdf
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