The Basics of Complementary and Alternative Medicine


You may have come across the term of complementary medicine or alternative medicine a lot of times. Especially,  if you were hunting for a particular home remedy or a treatment approach on the internet.

If you’re wondering exactly what it is, here’s a quick guide to get you there. Here, we’ve discussed in brief the basics of complementary and alternative medicine. Read on…

What is complementary and alternative medicine



What is Alternative Medicine?

Alternative medicine comprises of a range of therapies and approaches that are believed to relieve health problems without causing any side effects. These therapies usually aim at helping the body heal itself naturally. It disapproves the use of medications and drugs.

Some common alternative medicine approaches include-

  • Homeopathy
  • Naturopathy
  • Pet therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Energy medicine
  • Chiropractic
  • Unani medicine
  • Ayurveda
  • Herbal medicine


What is Complementary Medicine?

Complementary medicine is an approach that combines the use of both alternative medicine and conventional medicine. Basically, it works on the principle that these approaches ‘complement’ the general treatment option and speed up healing and recovery.


The Controversies

Alternative medicine has been under a lot of controversies due to the fact that it is not backed up by any valid scientific theory. Most of these therapies come from the ancient times. These  have been used as a treatment option in developing nations since centuries.

Though there is evidence to support their efficiency in dealing with a lot of health conditions, the reason behind their functioning is not yet understood. This is why, most of these therapies are often believed to be a placebo. They are thought to work just because the patient believes that they work.


How Do They Help?

Alternative medicine techniques aim at improving self awareness. It uses natural approaches to handle a particular health issue. This is why, they offer many health benefits.

  • When it comes to alternative and complementary medicine, the patient becomes an active participant in the healing process. He is much aware of his progress, and can make active decisions based on his condition.
  • This form of therapy is minimally invasive- it does use any surgical approaches.
  • The therapies also harness the body’s natural healing power using certain approaches. It aims to help the body itself fight against the disease.
  • Since most of the approaches are completely natural, they do not involve any side effects associated with their long term use.
  • These therapies look at the disease as a combination of physical, mental, and spiritual factors.
  • Unlike conservative medicine, these approaches do not just aim to relieve pain and other symptoms, but also help tackle the condition from its very roots.
  • Most of these therapies are not just limited to relieving the body of the disease, but also work towards promoting overall health.


Now that you’ve understood the basics of  alternative and complementary medicine, its time to find out how exactly you can put them to use on yourself.

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