Several terms have been associated when it comes to the art of treating body illnesses; there is standard care, complementary and alternative medicines. Standard care refers to the scientific medical practice of professional physicians and other allied health professionals and whose practice is considered good and acceptable. Alternative medicine on the other hand denotes the initiated practices of treating diseases like the use of herbs, acupuncture, and the like but whose practice is yet to be proven scientifically.
Complementary medicine is used alongside with alternative and standard medicine, from the word complimentary, it is used to enhance the effects of either standard or alternative medicine.Significantly, alternative medical practices have not been tested with clinical trials.
There may be case study information available but these case studies do not control for variables hence, it is still within the stage of trial and error. Because pharmaceutical companies provide the majority of the financial backing for clinical research, and because most alternative and complementary medicine practices do not involve the purchase of pharmaceutical drugs, these companies do not have a financial stake in supporting million-dollar research programs to demonstrate that products freely available in a health food store will perform as claimed.Notably, alternative medicine practices are estimated to be a business of around $15 billion per year. This may be attributed to the fact that more and more individuals are turning to alternative practices in controlling or preventing diseases since it involves less intake of drugs.
It must be noted though that majority of insurance companies do not include alternative medicine costs however; there is a growing trend to include these treatment protocols and policies once high deductibles are met.The insurance companies that seem to buck the trends are American Western Life Insurance Company and Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company.
The latter has reimbursed clients for the cost of nonsurgical alternative therapy for heart disease in patients being treated by the Director of Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito. The insurance company was quick to state that although they were not opening the door to covering all forms of alternative therapies they did consider this treatment protocol to have been effective method in dealing with heart disease because it included methods which were known to health and the prevention of the disease such as vegetarian diet, meditation and exercise.The National Institute of Health’s Office of Alternative Medicine have supported a number of research studies investigating such unorthodox treatments such as using shark cartilage to treat cancer or the effectiveness of bee pollen in treating allergies.
There have been very few high-caliber scientific studies done by alternative practitioners and if studies are done at all they rarely use control groups or have adequate size samples. Methods used to blind the researchers or to increase the study size samples isn’t cost effective and may not result in the desired outcome.The list of alternative medicine therapies is only as long as a practitioner’s imagination. New practices are being developed almost every year or two, some of which are based in theory of other alternative practices while others seem to come out of thin air.
There are complementary medical practices and alternative practices which have great positive benefit in the overall health and well-being of individuals.It is still the individual’s critical responsibility to check the efficacy and safety of the medical practice they would like to try in alleviating whatever pain or discomfort they are feeling. Without regard to either safety, efficacy, effectiveness or scientific research behind the theory, some of the alternative and complementary medicine practices are: applied kinesiology, Astros therapy, Angel therapy, allopathy, acupuncture, bio harmonics, chiropractic, craniosacral therapy, coning, detoxification therapies, chelation, holistic medicine, healing touch, homeopathy, integrative medicine, intuitive healer, magnet therapy, neuro linguistic programming, osteopathy, psychic surgery, Reiki, Rolfing, urine therapy and therapeutic touch.
There are still a lot more of alternative practices one can find by just a click of the finger over the internet.RESOURCESnational center for Complementary and Alternative MedicineAmerican Public Health Association: Alternative and Complementary Health Practice