Alternative Medicine: What does it mean? and is it really effective?

Alternative Medicine“, “Natural Medicine” or “Unconventional Medicine“, People call it different names, however, it is still the same thing.

Alternative medicine is just a type of medicine that replaces the conventional or main stream medicine.

Even though alternative medicine exists since the 70s. However, it is one of the topics that has a lot of debates over it until today.

What is Alternative Medicine?

Alternative medicine is medically defined as: “The term for medical products and practices that are not part of standard care“.

Standard care is what medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, and allied health professionals, such as nurses and physical therapists practice.

Alternative medicine is used instead of the standard medical care.

Examples of Alternative Medicine:

Alternative medicine is classified into different categories.

Also, each category contains different ways to treat using alternative medicine. These ways include:

1. Homeopathy


Like cures like.” This is the basic belief behind homeopathy.

Like cures like simply means that a substance that is capable of causing is also capable of curing.

In other words, When you take a substance in large amounts, it can cause a problem as a result.

But, if you took the same exact substance in small amounts, it can treat the same problem.

Homeopathy is not usually used to treat serious diseases. On the contrary, it can be used to treat diseases like:

  • Headaches
  • Toothaches
  • Nausea
  • Colds

2. Diets

A diet is defined as: “A special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, either to lose weight or for medical reasons”.

Therefore, from the previous definition, diets can be used as treatments. From diseases that can be treated by following a diet:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Some types of cancer
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure

3. Herbal Medicine


Actually, just from its name, you can easily conclude what herbal medicine is.

Herbal Medicine is the art or practice of using herbs and herbal preparations to maintain health, also it can be used to prevent, alleviate,or cure disease.

The reason behind this is that some herbs have the ability to work as medications.

From these herbs:

  • Garlic
  • Chamomile
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Ginger

On the other hand, diseases that can be treated using herbs include:

  • Immune system diseases
  • Cramps
  • Indigestion
  • Burns
  • Heart diseases
  • Colds
  • Urinary tract infections

4. Massage


Massage is simply the action of rubbing muscles and joints of the body with the hands.

The target of massage is mainly to relieve tension or pain, massage therapy can deal with a lot of diseases indeed. It can treat:

  • General muscle tensions
  • Athletic injuries
  • Headaches
  • Frozen shoulders
  • Stress
  • Respiratory problems
  • Lower back pain

5. Yoga


Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in ancient India.

It is most often associated with the physical practice of stretching exercises to build flexibility and relax the body.

In addition to being an interesting activity, yoga is able to treat and prevent several diseases. These diseases are like:

  • Indigestion
  • Back pain
  • Anxiety
  • Heart diseases
  • Obesity
  • Low concentration

6. Meditation


Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing their mind on a particular object,thought or activity.

This is in order to train attention and awareness. Also, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.

In addition to this, meditation can cure some diseases and also prevent some as well. For example:

  • Sleeping problems
  • Negative thoughts
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Heart diseases

7. Art, dance and music


Art, dance and music are not just hobbies, but, there are complete therapies that totally depend on them.

Actually, the idea of expressing feelings and thoughts with people is great.

Especially, when they share you the same interests, these types of therapies are really effective in treating a lot of diseases like:

  • General stress
  • Anxieties
  • Speech impediments
  • Emotional problems
  • Mental disorders
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Does Alternative Medicine really work?

A lot of people do not believe in the effectiveness of alternative medicine.

They think that it is not scientifically proven or evidence based, as a result, they always depend on conventional medicine.

But, this is not true. We can not say that alternative medicine is able to totally replace conventional medicine.

In contrast, in a lot of cases, it can not do anything! However, it does not stop it from being effective in other cases.

Sometimes, situations are not too serious or life threatening to require conventional medicine.

Accordingly, alternative medicine is not better than conventional medicine at all, but, each of them has its own benefits.

Benefits of Alternative Medicine:

Alternative medicine has several benefits that do not exist conventional medicine.

So, it makes it a better go to when it is possible.

1. Saving money

Unfortunately, a lot of medications cost too much money, on the other hand, alternative medicine might not cost any money.

Since alternative medicine can be applied through herbs that already exist at every home.

Also, it can be applied through activities that you already do, therefore, it is really a money saver.

So, if alternative medicine is effective to treat your condition, do not hesitate to depend on it.

It will treat you and save your money, both at the same time.

2. Causing less side effects

Why would herbs, meditation or art cause you side effects? It is not logical, is it?

Even though medications are mostly accompanied with side effects, but, on the contrary, alternative medicine can rarely cause any side effects.

3. Preventing diseases, not only treating them

In addition to treating diseases, alternative medicine also works on preventing them.

Actually, you might rely on alternative medicine to get rid of a certain disease.

However, at the same time and without noticing, you are also strengthening your body against infections.

Common myths about alternative medicine

Since people are confused about alternative medicines, they started spreading myths about it between them.

Therefore, a lot of people believed these myths which cause troubles to them.

1. Alternative medicine is always safe

Even if it is true that natural products are not mostly dangerous, however, it does not mean that they are hundred percent safe.

So, always put in consideration that in some cases, alternative medicine can hurt you.

2. There is no problem to depend on alternative medicine and conventional medicine at the same time

This statement is completely wrong, and unfortunately a lot of people believe it is true.

Actually, alternative medicine alone can work, also, conventional medicine alone can work, but, do not expect pleasant result from both of them together.

As a matter of fact, some natural products can cancel the effect of chemical medications., also, it can hurt your body as well.

3. Alternative Medicine is not scientifically proven

This myth is from the most common ones., additionally, it makes a lot of people totally ignore alternative medicine.

However, it is actually scientifically proven and evidence based in a lot of researches and experiments.

4. Alternative medicine is expensive

Honestly, having a massage or practicing yoga might be costly, on the other hand, buying certain types of herbs or practicing your favorite hobby do not cost you a lot of money at all.

Also, some medications are cheap, and some medications are really expensive.

So, it is the same idea in both types of medicine, however, it does not make it an expensive type of medicine in general.

Final tips:

alternative medicine

  • Make sure that your disease does not really need conventional medicine. Then, go for alternative medicine after that.
  • Do not set extremely high expectations from alternative medicine, it is not magic after all.
  • Understand your body’s nature and stay away from herbs, diets or activities that do not match you.
  • Finally, do not follow myths without checking if they are really correct.

To wrap up

The battle that is happening between alternative medicine and conventional medicine does not seem to stop soon.

However, they are both effective types of medicine that work when used properly.

The whole idea is about understanding your condition and knowing how to correctly treat it.

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