Definition Of Alternative Medicines

Alternative medicine, a term which is used in the western world, encompasses every healing practice which would not fall within the realm of the conventional medicine. Most common examples would include naturopathy, chiropractic, herbalism, traditional Chinese medicine, Unani, Ayurveda, meditation, yoga, biofeedback, hypnosis, homeopathy, acupuncture, and diet-based therapies which can be added to various other practices.

It is mostly grouped with complementary medicine which would refer generally to the same interventions when used in a conjunction with mainstream techniques, falling under the umbrella term ‘complementary and alternative medicine' or more popularly known as CAM. A few important researchers within the alternative medicine would oppose this grouping and would prefer to emphasize the differences of approach but still use the term complementary and alternative medicine which is now become standard. Under a broad spectrum, alternative medicine has mainly concentrated on a systems approach. This would lead to the meaning that a doctor or even a physician would more likely have to look at the person completely while conducting a treatment or the judgments made at that time.

These doctors and physicians take a great amount of pain to find out how a body system would influence the other one. As a matter of fact this form of a medicine is actually a more traditional form of health care as it is extremely old. It is mostly based on the Chinese medicine as well as the meridian system. Most areas of alternative healthcare would be massage, acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic care, applied kinesiology, touch for health, homeopathy, diet, and herbal medicine. This kind of a medicine is actually a medicine of health and it would concentrate on balancing the health even before it reaches the limit of dysfunction.

The alternative medicines are generally as diverse in their foundations as they are in their methodologies. The practices may base or incorporate themselves on the traditional medicine, spiritual beliefs, folk knowledge, and even newly conceived approaches to healing. Places or jurisdictions where alternative medical practices are more than widespread may license and regulate them as well.

Most claims that are made mostly by the alternative medicine practitioners are generally not accepted by the medical community as because the evidence based assessment of safety and also the efficacy is either not at all available or has not been performed for most of these practices. If only scientific investigations can establish the safety as well as the effectiveness of an alternative medical practice, it could then be possibly be adopted by conventional practitioners. As the alternative techniques would lack in evidence then some would advocate defining it as non evidence based medicine or perhaps not on medicine at all.

A few researchers would state that the evidence based approach to define the complementary and alternative medicine may be quite problematic because some complementary and alternative medicine is tested and the research done on those tests would suggest that many mainstream medical techniques tend to lack solid evidence. In 1998 a systematic review was taken which showed that almost 31% of the cancer patients would use some sort of complementary and alternative medicine. These alternative medicines tend to vary from country to country.