Alternative Medical practices are groups

IMPACT OF ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE Alternative Medical practices are groups of different medical products, systems, and practices which are considered not to be included in conventional medicine. However, alternative medicines have been undergoing improvement and becoming accepted in mainstream healthcare practices. Alternative medicine dates back to 200B.C. In fact countries such as Japan, Korea, Vietnam, India, and China have developed their versions of alternative medicine. Alternative medicine is also often classified with complementary medicine. More specifically, alternative medicine is referred to as therapeutic approaches taken in place of traditional medicine and used to treat or ameliorate disease. Example of alternative medicine is Ayurveda that have been known to exist for more than 5,000 years in India. Ayurveda is a health system which emphasized that there is a unique cure for each disease. Treatments which are included in Ayurveda are diet, meditation, yoga, massage, and herbs. It involves homeopathy where minute dose of substance is used for stimulating self-healing response of the body. It also includes naturopathy where there are non-invasive treatments given to help the body heal itself. Alternative medicines include Chinese, American Indian, Pacific Islander, Asian, and Tibetan practices. There are major differences between alternative medicine and conventional medicine. Conventional medicine is reliant upon methods which through research and trials had been proven to be effective and safe. However, most alternative treatments do not have solid research. The dangers and potential benefits of many alternative medical practices however have not been proved. There are some common elements shared between alternative medicine and conventional medicine. The two systems believe that the body is able to heal itself and that healing involves putting together different techniques that involve mind, body, and spirit. Treatments in both cases depend on presenting symptoms and are thus individualized. There appear to be increase in the use of alternative medicine. For example, in United States of America, there is increase in use of alternative medicine from 33.8% to 42.1% in 1997 (Astin, 1998). Common alternative medicines used in United States are herbalism, meditation, breathing meditation, prayer, body work, yoga, chiropractic medicine, diet-based therapy, visualization, mega-vitamin therapy and progressive relaxation. In United Kingdom also, there is increase in the use of alternative medicine though there are limited data to support this idea. In fact, there is increase in the number medical colleges that have started offering alternative medicine as a course. For example, there is increase in number of accredited Naturopathic universities in USA. However, UK has no conventional medical universities offering teaching of alternative medicine in clinical practice. Many unconventional schools however teach alternative medicine as part of the curriculum. Almost two-thirds of patients with cancer make use of alternative medicine in their cancer treatment. Initially, it was believed that alternative medicine is used by patient that became dissatisfied with conventional treatment, research had proved that alternative medicine is used frequently alongside mainstream medicine. The rationale behind the use of alternative medicine for cancer is to promote wellness, symptom management, and disease prevention. Of recent, researchers are turning their focus to spiritual and psychological reasons for using alternative medicine. It was explained that the need to do something and lessen feelings of helplessness to manage persistent symptoms or to potentially influence future cancer risk appears to be particularly important in the period following chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Improved physical and emotional wellbeing was reported in cancer patients that engage in active coping strategies. Alternative medicine can be seen as a form of active coping.

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