What Is Alternative Health Care, And How Can It Protect My Health?
There is a paradigm shift going on in the field of medicine today. Alternative Health Care, or Alternative Medicine, is commonly defined in Western Countries as any practice of medicine (the art and science of healing) that is not considered conventional(commonly accepted as standard practice).
Alternative Medicine may also be referred to as Integrative Medicine or IM. This refers to a field of medicine that integrates two fields of thinking.
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This may be a more accurate definition, since this refers to the combined application of conventional and alternative health practices, without excluding the former.
When you integrate two things, you combine them together, thus the term Integrative Medicine is becoming more commonly used.
The term Holistic Medicine derives from the idea of treating the whole person, not just their disease, and is also used interchangeably with Alternative Medicine.
Another term used to describe this is Complementary Medicine, emphasizing the complementary role that each form of medicine plays (conventional and alternative) to complete the whole health care picture.
You may have even heard the term Conventional and Alternative Medicine or CAM. Confused? Don't be. All of these terms basically refer to the same idea defined at the outset. So you will see them used interchangeably throughout this page.
Regardless of the term used, the result is that the patient becomes the focus of all stages of care, and he or she is responsible for taking charge of the guidance that is given to them in order to make positive changes in their life and health.
Because of the role the patient plays in the state of their health, patient education and follow-up is essential. In some cases, a health coach may be offered for additional motivation and training.
You already have access to two online health coaches right here! Please be sure to
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how we can best assist you in your alternative health care journey.
Alternative Health Care : Paradigm Shift
Alternative health care is growing in popularity. Since attitudes towards health and health care are changing, what is commonly accepted as standard practice is also changing.
As many as one in three of us have probably used some form of alternative health care at some point in our lives. One of the hallmarks of this type of health care is a strong partnership between the patient and doctor, in order to treat not just the body, but the mind, emotions, and spirit as well.
With this approach, the emphasis is not just on curing disease, but on preventing it, and helping the patient achieve an optimal level of health through many means. Some practitioners offer a tailor-made approach, for the individual that they can then implement and follow up periodically at regular intervals to measure progress.
Some common examples of alternative health care may include Naturopathy, Chiropractic, Herbalism, Chinese Medicine, Homeopathy, Holistic Medicine, and Acupuncture, to name a few.
Some more common examples of Integrative Medicine that you may already be using are
fitness and stress reduction. Alternative Medicine practices are diverse both in their foundations and in their methods of use, and it would be impossible to cover them all in detail here.
Alternative Health Care : A Growing Trend
While many have never heard of Alternative Medicine, this is changing. You can now see evidence of this with the approaches being taught in American Universities and medical schools, and also with the treatments being offered in medical offices and hospitals around the country.
The hospitals that offer Integrative Medicine have doubled in number in the last decade, and more hospitals are joining the list of those that plan to offer it in the future. People like yourself are demanding this type of treatment at a growing pace, and as a result it is being provided to them.
One of the reasons for the growing move toward alternative health care is because of the void left by many conventional treatments. Many are frustrated that the conventional treatments they use often ignore the underlying cause, and treat the symptom only.
Many today are often rushed through their doctor visits, and may feel that the physician doesn't have the complete picture before making a diagnosis.
Another drawback to the conventional approach is that people are often made to feel as if they are defined by their disease. Those that seek out alternative health care are looking for a broader approach that gives them more time and attention for their specific situation.
Imagine leaving your doctor's office feeling energized and refreshed for the changes ahead, rather than wondering "What will the drug that was just prescribed do for me, as well as to me?"
If this scenario isn't familiar to you, maybe you don't watch much television. Just watch the evening news tonight. Take note of all the drug commercials that are on the airwaves now for everything from depression to high cholesterol. Take careful note of the list of side effects that are offered to you to help you with your health challenge. Is the treatment worth the risk of side effects?
Many of us are left wondering, am I better off using this conventional approach, or combining it with alternative medicine?
Some of the obstacles faced by this type of health care is trying to determine what really works, called efficacy, through solid research. It is important to have this information.
As a result, research into this field is on the increase and the search for answers is promising. As a result, the overall best care for patients can hopefully be found, using Integrative Medicine based on solid research for the best quality patient care. One of the fastest emerging categories in alternative health care is in the field of nutraceuticals.
Alternative Health Care : Nutraceuticals
There is now a growing field of supplements used in Integrative Medicine referred to as nutraceuticals. Nutraceuticals integrate two common words,
and pharmaceuticals (drugs). The term was coined by Stephen DeFelice, the founder of the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine in 1989.
Thus, they fall somewhere in between a medicine and a food. These utilize bioactive (able to interact with your living tissues, organs, or systems) substances taken from food in higher amounts than could be achieved from eating the food alone as part of a regular diet.
In this way, they have a medicinal effect on human health. They may be sold as powders, tablets, or capsules.
Many find these to be an attractive choice, because often the list of side effects is very minor or non existent, due to the fact that they are based on foods.
The popularity of nutraceuticals is on the rise, due to concerns about
in our foods, drugs, and environment today. For many, using something "natural" sounds much more appealing than a remedy that has been manufactured or synthetic.
But just because something is termed natural doesn't mean it is safe either.
As with pharmaceuticals, one should always do their own research and consult with their health care provider when considering adding nutraceuticals to their regimen.
Some nutraceuticals have published results proving their efficacy, others do not.
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In conclusion, what have we learned about Alternative Health Care?
Whether it is called Integrative, Holistic, Alternative, or Complementary, the field of health care and medicine expands the choices available for medical treatment for you and I today.
This is a reflection of a paradigm shift in thinking today when it comes to health care choices.
By combining conventional and proven alternative health care, doing due diligence on your research, and seeking out competent medical care with a professional, the playing field has now been leveled for you and your family.
It is our wish that by exploring these options available to you, you may find the best health care available to you today.
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So have a sense of humor, don't take life too seriously, and roll with the punches. Try to find the positive aspects of any challenging health situation you or your loved ones may be in.
You may do much to improve your chances of living a longer, happier, and healthier life. There's my personal medical advice!