Alternative Medicine & Health Tourism
Alternative medicine is a generic title that refers to any approach to treat or cure a physical ailment or disease that may not be considered to fall within the realms of conventional medicine. While alternative and conventional medicines are often at odds with one another, some factions within the field accept the validity of certain alternative approaches.
Common alternative medical approaches include chiropractic, homeopathic, naturopathic and herbal medicine, while also rapidly gaining recognition in the west are eastern approaches such as the Chinese medicine procedure acupuncture and Ayurvedic medicine, first developed in the Indian subcontinent.
Among the essential differences between alternative and conventional medicine is the belief that the former can treat the cause of the complaint as opposed to only the symptom. Tied in with this is the belief that treatment must consider the workings of the entire body as opposed to only the area symptomatically affected. What we often refer to a holistic medicine is also based on this philosophy, along with the notion that the mind is strongly associated with an individual’s medical condition and his/her capacity for recovery.
Alternative medical practitioners are often dismissed as frauds as their techniques may lack in scientific evidence of their efficacy. However, many approaches, philosophies or belief systems are considerably older than those of conventional medicine and therefore accounts of their success in treating patients may stretch back centuries.
Many of the herbal medicines that make it onto the shelves of western health shops are derived from tropical plants that have been used as medicines by natives in South America and Southeast Asia for hundreds of years.
In Europe and North America, alternative medicine has gained popularity among those disillusioned or frustrated by the limits of conventional medicine. Unfortunately, regulation of the alternative medicine industry is not on a par with that of conventional medicine and consequently it can be difficult for patients to find practitioners who are genuinely qualified and experienced in the field they represent.