Alternative medicine is a range of medicine therapies that are not regarded as orthodox by the medical profession. It includes any of the healing systems not included in the traditional medical curricula. The examples of alternative medicine include chiropractic, herbal medicines, homeopathy, faith healing, meditation, massage, aromatherapy, hypnosis and acupuncture. Modern medicine refers to the conventional medicines that are based on the western model of evidence-based practice for diagnosing and treating diseases.
People from all over the world are lying on the power of medicine, whether it is modern or alternative medicine. Modern medicine is one of the biggest industries in the world but the traditional medicines and other forms of alternative medicines are also growing in popularity. The argument of which method is better between the modern and alternative medicine is a topic that continues to generate a lot of debate.
One of the areas that have been discussed on when debating about the better method is the issue of safety and effectiveness. Modern medicines are generally said to be better than the traditional medicine because it has been tested and regulated by the medical bodies in charge to ensure its fit for human use before it is released into the market. Clinical trials are the best way to use to determine the safety and effectiveness of a treatment. This is because each person has different symptoms and the best way to determine effectiveness is to test it on a large number of people. When it comes to the alternative medicines very little, if any, scientific study has been carried out to assess their safety and effectiveness. Several issues concerning the purity and possible interactions of herbal medicines with other substances make people to avoid their use. Carefully designed medical trials are the best way of determining the safety and effectiveness of a treatment and the potential side effects that the medicine may pose to the person who uses it.
When debating on which method is better between modern and alternative medicine, the issue of the cost of using each method has also been raised. Traditional medicines are generally believed to be better than the modern medicine when it comes to cost effectiveness. Traditional methods like using herbal medicine will be cheaper since they are naturally found in the environment. The cost that is put into developing the medicine also makes most people favor the use of alternative methods. A lot of materials and effort are put into the development and testing of modern medicines. This directly translates to the cost that the drugs will be available at. Alternative medicines on the other hand are naturally found and no expense goes into its development as they are mostly taken in their raw form. However, since most of the alternative treatments are not reimbursed by health insurance providers people will opt for the modern medicines.
The time it takes for the medicine to take effect is a factor that makes people to favor modern medicine. People love the quick fix and desire for quick results and that is what the modern medicines offer. Alternative medicines take longer before the results can be seen. Human beings are normally attracted to testimonials about drugs that worked as quickly as possible and the modern medicine sector has taken advantage of this fact when advertising their products. Due to the issue of time, alternative medicine are considered not to be effective in the treatment of critical conditions and also the diseases that require quick and urgent treatments.
Alternative medicines operate with a holistic concept of health. It considers the physical, mental, social and spiritual well being of the individual. By taking alternative medicines the patients are expected to receive more benefits rather than just alleviating the painful side. Some may increase energy and the physical performance of the individual while methods like mediation, yoga and chiropractic helps the patient to be relieved from stress that may be as a result of the disease. Another benefit of alternative medicines is the boost of the immune system. Modern medicines on the other hand only focus on eliminating the disease and do not put into consideration the other conditions that may be as a result of the disease.
The side effects of each method of medicine is another factor that people put into consideration before deciding on which method they want to use. Chemicals may be used in the development of traditional medicines. Some of this chemicals cause harmful side effects when continuously used. Some of the complications that have in the past been caused by the use of modern medicines include hair loss, miscarriage, dry mouth, constipation, weight loss or gain and night sweats. Alternative medicines on the other hand have little or no side effects on the person using which makes it preferable.
Alternative medicines are more consistent in its treatment of diseases. This is mainly because alternative medicines follow the course on nature. It gives the patients body a chance to heal itself back to its natural states. Modern medicine on the other hand is not very consistent this is because as one continues to consistently use a drug they may develop resistance to them. Drug resistance is the ability of the disease causing microorganisms to withstand a drug that once stalled or killed them. When a person develops resistance to a drug the drug can no longer work as effectively as it did before. It may take longer for the medicine to fight off the disease and in other cases the patient may be required to change medication and use other alternative medications available. Such cases are however rarely heard of when dealing with alternative medicines.
Researchers and developers of modern medicine have been able to come up with medicines and methods that enable the early detection and better treatments of diseases that were previously considered to be fatal. Such diseases include cancer and AIDS. This has helped increase the survival rates of people that have been infected by the diseases. This makes modern medicines triumph over the alternative methods. The alternative medicine has not been able to come up with methods of enabling early detection of diseases.
When using alternative methods, physicians spend more time with the patient and can develop a bond with the practitioner. Steven Novella said that creating a bond between the practitioner and a patient is most likely to get the patients to adapt to the healthier lifestyles that may be pointed out. He went ahead and said that patients do feel better when the practitioners actively try to help them deal with their conditions. This means that the practitioners who use alternative medicine are more likely to help the patients completely change their lifestyles which might be the reason behind their ailments. Diseases such as heart attack, stress and cancer may be caused by the unhealthy lifestyles of people. By encouraging the patients to change their lifestyle they are able to reduce the possibility of occurrence of such in the future. This makes the alternative medicines a better choice. In modern medicine there is little contact between the practitioner and the patient. Most medicines are purchased over the counter and in case there is need to have a consultation session with practitioner the patient is expected to pay extra for the sessions.
Diagnosing of symptoms is much more developed in the field of modern medicine. A medical practitioner is able to specifically diagnose a disease based on the experiments and examinations that will be carried out on the patient. This is set to bring out accurate results and help a practitioner to prescribe the right medicine for every situation. This makes it more suitable than the alternative medicine where the symptoms are based on experience of the practitioner and the symptoms that the patient has. This may be tricky because symptoms may be similar for different ailments and basing the analysis on the symptoms was lead to a wrong diagnosis.
Strength of modern medicine also lies in its application of science. It has the capacity to grow and adopt interventions and ideas from other areas of healthcare as evidence comes to light showing that they are effective unlike the alternative medicine. This makes it easier for experts in the field of modern medicine to come up with new treatments that may be effective in the treatment of diseases. This can be supported by the improvement by medical experts that have been introduced in the treatment of cancer and AIDS. Tremendous improvements have been realized in developing a cure for this diseases and the mortality rate from these two has also significantly dropped. The life expectancy of people who have been diagnosed with these ailments has been increased.
Modern medicine field is controlled by a body of medical experts who are put in place to control the production and sale of medicines. They also control the actions of medical practitioners. This helps in reducing the incidence of wrong diagnosis or the sale of harmful drugs. Their main function is to ensure that medical practitioners carry out their duties in an ethical manner. This makes people believe in modern medicines over the alternative medicine. Most practitioners in the field of alternative medicine work under no supervision. This makes them free to exaggerate claims or offer ungrounded advice just so that they can get financial benefits (salzberg).
Alternative medicine has been able to come up with solutions to emotional and spiritual needs unlike the modern medicine. Mediation, massage and aromatherapy are some of the methods that alternative methods have come up to attend to the emotional and spiritual needs of the patients. There for patients who are seeking for emotional or spiritual healing will prefer using alternative medicine.
When it comes to the debate between alternative medicine and modern medicine there is no definite answer. The advantages of using modern medicine or the alternative medicine are numerous and so are the disadvantages. Each method has situations in which its suitable. Modern medicine is suitable for ailments that require urgent medical attention while the alternative method is suitable for emotional and spiritual needs. Choosing which method to use will depend on the conditions of the disease.
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Alternate vs Modern Medicine Life123. 2015. Alternate vs Modern medicine Life123. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.life123.com/health/natural-remedies/natural-medicines/alternative-vs-modern-medicine.shtml. [Accessed 23 April 2015].
Complementary & Alternative Medicines: National Multiple Sclerosis Society. 2015. Complementary & Alternative Medicines: National Multiple Sclerosis Society. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/Treating-MS/Complementary-Alternative-Medicine. [Accessed 23 April 2015].
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