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August 22, 2010 at 12:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Why Choose Alternative Medicine?

By Helen More Blogs by This Author

Should any type of medicine or therapy that can alleviate pain and discomfort for a patient be denied to that patient? Should patients blindly accept what the medical world tells them? Should physicians turn a blind eye to alternative medications that might work for their patients? The answer to all of these is "no."

Conventional Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

While the fight to bring, or in many cases, return alternative medicine to the medical community is often filled with controversy, many health care providers and practitioners have begun to take notice of alternative medicine, and rightly so. When alternative medicine manages pain better or as well as conventional medication, patients should have the option to choose how their ailments are treated. And choosing alternative medicine is very often the right choice.

Why Choose Alternative Medicine?

According to scientific findings in a 12-month survey conducted in 2007-2008 by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the National Center for Health Statistics, alternative medicines, used with (complementary) and without conventional medicines, often work. Ongoing research in this area is expected to discover why some therapies work for some individuals and not for others, as well as whether certainalternative therapies are both effective and safe enough for continued use.

Natural Remedies vs. Drugs

Some of the most frequently used natural products include fish oil, also known as omega-3, and glucosamine. Omega-3 is an effective anti-inflammatory agent and is used for a variety of conditions, including arthritis, fibromyalgia and certain heart conditions. Glucosamine is a product the body uses to create and repair cartilage in the joints. Found in the fluid surrounding the joints, natural glucosamine is abundant in shellfish, flaxseed and echinacea flowers. These natural cures are widely used. For instance, properties in flaxseed are being used to reduce cholesterol, and a compound found in echinacea is used to reduce inflammation; both are also high in Omega 3. The drugs used in conventional medicine target, and often help, many of the same conditions, but they come with a host of side effects. In addition, they require a prescription and are generally expensive. Alternative medicines most often consist of natural products and methods such as meditation, massage, acupressure and acupuncture and/or deep breathing exercises. Many of these procedures can be learned by the patient. Once the patient is proficient and understands the value of such therapies, the patient is able to conduct self-therapy at home. This is significant in that some patients may not have the finances to continue CAM therapy due to HMOs not yet covering alternative medicine and/or patients who may have mobility restrictions due to illnesses or injuries.

Alternative Medicine is Time-Tested

People often turn to alternative medicine because of a long-standing illness or issue that conventional medication has not been able to cure. This is particularly true of people who suffer from chronic ailments or diseases, such as cancer. For instance, acupuncture is able to shrink cancer tumors in some patients without the added nausea associated with chemotherapy. Though some conventional modern medicines work as well or better than some alternative medicines, hands-on healing treatments have been around for centuries, and used extensively with great results. Many of these hands-on treatments, often called outside mainstream medicines, have been shown to work time and time again, both with conventional medicines and without. This is a perfect reason for individuals who are experiencing pain or impairment of any type to consider at least checking into alternative medicine, especially when conventional medicine does not seem to be working for them. Sources: http://nccam.nih.gov/news/camstats/2007/camsurvey_fs1.htm http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/echinacea-000239.htm http://www.healthcastle.com/flax.shtml http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/medical_care/alternative_medicine.html http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/about-cancer/treatment/complementary-alternative/about/why-people-use-complementary-or-alternative-therapies http://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/fibromyalgia-pain-8/default.htm

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