Alternative Medicine

Today more then ever alternative medicine is becoming more accepted and widely used as regular medicine. Alternative medicine is considered the use of any medicine out of the normal of what is considered conventional. “Alternative medicine was once considered the domain of snake oil charlatans and gullible consumers”(Waltman, et al 1). As the growing popularity of alternative medicines has increased, so has the number of groups and organizations set up to discover more about these medicines.

One group that is set up to discover new findings in this field is the National Center for Complementary and Alterative Medicine and was started by a congressional mandate as a part on National Institutes of Health (Waltman, and et al 2). This group began in 1993 with two million dollars and now is at fifty million dollars in 1999(Waltman, and et al 2). As a result many new discoveries have been found and have helped in a new wave of medicine. It is important to now look elsewhere when conventional medicines fail and to try alternative medicines because they are apart of the lives of many doctors and patients already.

The types and uses of alternative medicines are numerous as well as varied. They come in many different forms for different purposes. There are cranial therapies that consist of massaging the head which adherents say boost health in helping the bone go back into place (Monroe 4). The chelation and crystal methods of healing in which chelation is the administration of strong chemicals to leach toxins out of the body and crystals are used to focus energy and clear blockages of universal energy (Monroe 4). Another famous type of medication is the use of flotation tanks where the person floats in warm, salty water and the person sits in the dark as a sort of meditation (Monroe 5).

Along with flotation tank, reflexology is the use of massaging certain points in the hands and feet to address ills elsewhere to clear energy blockages allowing healing (Monroe 5). A famous Chinese healing technique is acupuncture. Acupuncture is similar to acupressure but it incorporates needles and is believed to restore the flow of life energy in the body (Monroe 6). Two methods of therapy that are not recognized as alternative are the use of prayer and food (Monroe 7). Lately more then ever music is being realized as a form of medicine and it is used as a relaxing agent as a stress release prior to surgery (Marti and Hine 17). The way alternative medicines work is if a person can find a need for something there is usually a cure or remedy out in the world.

With alternative medicine being more and more a part of everyday life, doctors are beginning to use alternative as their main practice. Dr. Ken Bock says ” with the advent of managed care, the average doctor visit is now seven minutes and people are turning to alternative practitioners to get the care they need”(Crone 2). This is helping because people are learning that they can find cures and solutions to their ailments that they once thought incurable. “As people learn to take health into their own hands, however, they still need guidance from science. After all, herbal remedies are still unregulated by the FDA, and little is known about their long-term effects”(Crone 2). ” For medical doctors currently caring for patients with back problems, anxiety, depression or chronic pain, the odds are greater than one in three that a patient is simultaneously using unconventional therapy for these medical problems without disclosing this fact”(Monroe 3).

Sometimes the person doesn’t have to be healed to be affected by alternative medicine. Evidence shows that unorthodox medicine does help people feel better, even when it does not really cure the infection or disease (Monroe 3). One alternative advocate named Dossey states “these concepts are going to cause an immense amount of intellectual indigestion in our profession, but it’s not necessary to make a choice and pick a path in which you do science and intellectual development or you choose to do spiritual development and religiosity. I believe that these two roads can come together” (Monroe 4). As the paths of alternative and conventional medicines parallel and cross chiropractics is by far the most popular mix of the two. Chiropractics is the most widely accepted and is based on a belief that humans are the universe’s perfect organization and also spine manipulation is to correct spinal-nerve interference (Monroe 5). The only way that alternative medicine will ever be that of equal to conventional is if it continues to push its way into the market.

With every struggle and success there is always problems that were faced along the way. Some problems that usually occur are money and resources. One agency dealing with the money problem is the National Institutes of Health and their proposed studies for unorthodox medicine. There totals for American spend age was thirteen billion a year (Kowalski 1). Some doctors actually attack ideas and the ground work for the study of alternative medicine. One doctor stated that ” iridology and reflexology are not magical. They do not call on the supernatural, and are just plain nonsense marketed in pseudoscientific jargon” (Crone 42). Another problem with alternative medicine is the lack of recourses for cures. One time a group of scientists found a tree in the rain forest that was immune to the HIV aids virus and when they went back to get it the tree had been cut down and there were none like it around anywhere (Thomas 104). This point just stresses how important it is to be careful of the things around in nature and that it might be a useful remedy.

There a many doctors out in the fields involving alternative medicines and each one of them has their own opinion. Dr. Jacobs says, ” we’re trying the shotgun approach, there are a lot of different areas, and you can’t just choose one”(Kowalski 2). Jacobs also adds,” the trend is caused not only by a growing mistrust of medical science but also by what’s missing from conventional medicine” (Kowalski 2). Another doctor from Florida named Rubin says people who want to try nutrition, herbs, or other lingering health problems often look at the alternative medicines because they are tired of dealing with conventional medicines that are not working. With this growing interest, people are spending out-of-pocket just as much as conventional therapies.

The amount people are spending on alternative medicine as almost the exact same on conventional where they spend about twenty-seven million on alternative and twenty-nine million on conventional (Waltman, and et al 2). Alternative is constantly increasing and is beginning to be come a higher demand then conventional medicine. As people head into a new era they still are faced with an old and ancient for of alternative medicine called acupuncture. It is almost completely the same as acupressure except needles are used (Kowalski 49). It is one of the oldest forms of alternative medicine. It is supposed to bring together the Ying and Yang of the vital energy called chi. It was the starting point of its own healing power much in the same that many powers are being started everyday.

Works Cited

Crone, Hugh. ” Alternative medicines: Science or magic?” Australasian Science Jan/Feb. 2001: 42. ProquestDirect. 5 Feb. 2001 <>.
Kowalski, Kathiann M, Alternative Medicine: Is It for You? Springfield: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 1998.
Marti, James, and Andrea Hine. The Alternative Health and Medicine Encyclopedia. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1995.
Monroe, Linda Roach.” A Closer Look at Alternative Medicine.” The Miami Herald 23 may 1993: 1J+. SIRS Knowledge Source: Researcher. 5 Jan. 2001<>.
Thomas, Peggy. Medicines from Nature. New York: Twenty-First Century Books, 1997.
Waltman, Alicia Brooks, and Camille Chatterjee. “Alternative Medicine Goes Mainstream.” Psychology Today March-April 2000:38. MasterFILE Premier on-line. EBSCO Publishing. 6 Feb. 2001 <>.