What Is Alternative Medicine?

Looking up at trees — an alternative viewpoint.

Natural. Organic. Whole Food. Alternative. Today, these words and others like them are thrown around in a variety of different statements and promises. Promising an easier way to be healthy. Enticing consumers with interesting solutions to their problems. Caring for the environment in a fun way.

In the case of alternative medicine, it promises answers to puzzling health and wellness problems.

The appeal of this promise is by no means underestimated. Popular “treatments” and “solutions” abound on the Internet, most of them with only a scrap of truth hidden in the words. Some are even dangerous!

So, what is alternative medicine? Is it worth trying out? And if so, where is a good starting point?

What Is Alternative Medicine?

Accurately defined, alternative medicine is a term that is generally used for all unconventional therapies and remedies. It can include everything from medically-approved supplements and diets to “snake oil” remedies. Charming!

What is important to understand is that many of these alternative methods were mainstream medicine well into the 20th century. Then, advances in medical science created spectacular results. Vaccines, anesthesia, antibiotics and much more catapulted human health and wellness to new heights.

This guided the West in particular to a technical and intervention-based health care system. The older medical methods simply did not produce the results that people now demanded. As a result, many schools simply stopped teaching the old, time-consuming and partially ineffective ways of doing things.

Alternative medicine can be thought of as the old mainstream medicine and any methods that are considered unorthodox by the general medical community. Many of the methods are still used in other parts of the world as conventional medicine.

Is Alternative Medicine Worth Trying?

When convention medicine comes to a halt, alternative medicine does offer another way. Many more options open up. Alternative medicine can work with conventional medicine, ease painful symptoms and improve a suffer’s general outlook on life. For these and other reasons, many Americans are trying out some alternative form of treatment.

Depending on personal needs and desires, “trying it out” can be as simple as substituting out different foods in your diet or adding a new kind of tea to your morning. A mid level investment of a starter pack of essential oils and a diffuser will require more research.

And at the far end of the spectrum, alternative medicine can be as complicated as going to a chiropractor for years and years.

The personal stories and testimonies abound, some more believable than others. While the professional research is small, it does exist. In addition, alternative medicine’s effectiveness is highly based on the person using it. Some things work for some people, while others don’t understand why they do not obtain the same results.

With prudence and common sense, trying out simple supplements and lifestyle changes does not need to come with any risk beyond what you have in daily life.

Remember: Decisions don’t have to limit your options for a healthier, happier you.

Where Do I Start?

As with any health decision, start with research. Even though alternative medicine and options have not had the benefit of massive studies and professional research, the information still exists in the community and world.

With Google, it’s never been easier to get the short answer; however, do explore beyond the fast articles and the loud pitches. See what the greater community has to say. Ask your friends and family. Read up on blogs, personal and professional.

See what appeals to you, fits your needs, and/or what has worked for others. Try things out! Alternative medicine, by its nature, is, well, alternative. Different. Individualized.

And your start will be too.

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