History reveals that people of different races and communities have relied on what medical practitioners today termed as alternative medicine. The term alternative medicine covers a broad range of healing methodologies, philosophies, and therapies. It generally describes those treatments and health care practices, which are outside mainstream health care. People use these treatments and therapies in a numerous ways. Alternative therapies used alone are often referred to as alternative; when used in combination with other alternative therapies, or in addition to conventional therapies they are referred to as complementary. Some therapies are far outside the realm of accepted medical theory and practice, but some, like chiropractic treatments, are now established in mainstream medicine.
All over the world, about ten to thirty per cent of human health care is delivered by conventional, biomedical-oriented practitioners. The remaining seventy to ninety per cent ranges from self-care according to folk principles, to care given in an organized health care system on alternative therapies. Many cultures have folk medicine traditions that include the use of plants and plant products. In ancient cultures, people methodically collect information on herbs and developed well-defined herbal pharmacopoeias.
A few decades back, acupuncture, guided imagery, and therapeutic touch were considered outright quackery. Now, however, in clinics and hospitals around the country, non-traditional therapies are gaining wider an acceptance as testimonials and studies reports success using them to treat such president problems as back pain and arthritis.
With an increase in the number of medical institutions researching alternatives therapies increases, the legitimacy of at least some alternative therapies will also increase. Does all this recent medical establishment attention mean that the non-conventional therapies really work? Some experts say a definitive scientific answer must await well-designed experiments involving many patients. Up to now, most of the studies have relied on personal observation and anecdotal testimony from satisfied patients.
Some alternative treatments, such as acupuncture and herbal medicine, have impressive histories dating back thousands of years. Traditional oriental medicine and naturopathic medicine, for example, use herbal remedies, acupuncture, and mind body control. However, some alternative systems, such as environmental medicine and homeopathic medicine and district and separate.
Some of the famous which people generally uses are examined ahead. Acupuncture is a therapy once considered weird which has some scientific basis. An integral part of Chinese medicine for thousands of years, it is based on the belief that energy, which the Chinese call “Qi” (pronounced ‘chee’), circulates along meridians in the body in the same way that blood flows. A diagram of the meridian system looks similar to those of our circulatory and nervous systems. When the flow of energy becomes blocked, an imbalance is created, resulting in pain or disease.
To restore the right balance and energy flow, acupuncturists stimulate specific points of the body along these meridians by puncturing the skin with a needle or with finger-pressure. Research shows that acupuncture releases naturally produced, morphine-like substances called endorphins. In addition to releasing endorphins, doctors and clinicians know that acupuncture can provide at least short-term relief for a wide range of pains by inhibiting the transmission of pain impulses through the nerves. Furthermore, recent studies also show acupuncture to be effective in alleviating bronchial asthma, bronchitis, and stroke- included paralysis.
Then there is Mind-Body Healing Relaxation techniques like meditation and biofeedback—which teach patients to control heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and other involuntary functions through concentration—have also given respectability to alternative medicine and are routinely taught to patients and medical students. The fundamental of mind-body medicine is that the power of the mind can be used to help heal the body by improving the person’s attitude and also, as recent research has shown, by direct effects on the immune, endocrine, and nervous systems.
Although many of the biochemical and physiological mechanisms remain to be identified an increasing body of evidence is showing that the healthy mind is indeed capable of mobilizing the immune system and that the troubled mind can dampen the functioning of the immune system and contributes to physical disease. There is little doubt that state of mind and physiological processes are closely linked. In additions, experience shows that relaxation techniques can help patients enormously.
Homeopathy is another popular alternative that is drawing increased attention. It is based on the idea that “like cures lie”; that micro-doses of substances, known in large amounts to cause illness, can treat that illness by stimulating the body’s own natural defenses and curative powers. In some respects, treatment with homeopathic medicines, non-toxic compounds derived from plants, animals and minerals, is akin to immunization or allergy treatments in which similar substances are introduced into the body to bolster immunity.
Though these therapies do not have scientific basis still these therapies gives people a broad platform to combat their chronic diseases.