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Who Else Wants To Know About Alternative Medicine?
By Themedica on July 21, 2008 10:26 AM |
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Alternative medicine refers to any healing practice that falls outside the scope of conventional medicine. Some examples include naturopathy, chiropractic, herbalism, traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, meditation, yoga, biofeedback, hypnosis, bodywork, homeopathy and diet-based therapies and many other practices.
A related term called complementary medicine refers to the same set of therapies and treatments but when they are used alongside mainstream/conventional techniques.

There is a large variety of Alternative medicine practices in existence today and they are highly diverse based on their foundations and methodologies. Alternative medicine practices are often derived from, or based on traditional medicine, folk knowledge, spiritual beliefs or newly conceived methods to heal.

Laws regulating alternative medical practices vary around the world. Often the claims made by alternative medicine practitioners aren't accepted by the medical community at large because many of them lack evidence-based assessments. However, off late and with the increasing popularity of this form of medication many scientific studies are being carried out and some of which have indeed supported their efficacy in healing and treating diseases.

Types of Alternative Medicines

The practices of alternative medicines are as different and myriad as their foundations. Some popular alternative medicine approaches are explained below.

This type of alternative medicine makes use of volatile liquid plant materials, termed as essential oils (EOs) in addition to several other aromatic compounds that are believed to have an effect on a person's mood and health. Sometimes aromatherapy refers to any of the several traditions that use of essential oils coupled with other alternative spiritual beliefs and medical practices. Today, there are many products available which are popularly used in aromatherapy. These products are available as include massaging products, medicine, or any topical application that have essential oils as their main component.


Ayurveda is a complete medical system with origins in India, the objective of which is to integrate the body, mindayurveda.jpgand spirit in order to prevent and treat disease. Ayurvedic therapies include herbs, massage, and yoga. The medicinal compounds in Ayurveda are derived from herbs.

The word Ayurveda combines two Sanskrit words -- ayur, meaning life, and veda, which means science or knowledge. Thus the term Ayurveda implies "the science of life." The ancient Ayurvedic texts cover a range of different branches of medicine including, Internal medicine, Pediatrics, Psychology/Psychiatry, Ears, eyes, nose and throat,Toxicology, Rejuvenation, Fertility Therapy, etc.


Homeopathy, implying "similar to disease," is a form of alternative medicine based on an underlaying philosophy that an ill person can be treated by consuming a substance that produces, symptoms similar to those of the illness in a healthy person. Homeopaths believe that consecutive dilution of such substances, coupled with shaking between each dilution, removes the toxin, while it retains the remedial essence.

Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is the practice of manipulating soft body tissues with physical and mechanical aids for medical/therapeutic, and psychological purposes and goals. A typical massage regimen entails acting on and manipulating the patient's body with pressure, tension, motion, or vibration done either manually or through mechanical devices. The massage could be directed on to muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, joints, or other connective tissue, as well as lymphatic vessels, and/or organs of the gastrointestinal system.

Magnetic Therapy
Known by several different terms like magnetic therapy, Magnet therapy, or magnetotherapy is a type ofan alternative medicine practice that uses static magnetic fields to provide relief. The underlying belief is that when body parts are subjected to magnetic fields, they are healed and undergo beneficial health effects.

Buying Tips

When It’s about medicinal formulations and medical aids for use in alternative therapies, it's quality which determines how effective and safe the treatments will be. The importance of the quality of Alternative medicines can’t be overemphasized. The following tips would help you to procure quality Alternative medicine supplies.

1.Establish the integrity of the source prior placing the order

2.Establish a list of approved suppliers.

3.Require that any alternative source of supply provides the following as a minimum:
    a. A pedigree back to the previous source
    b. Certification that it is not a diverted product
   c. Certification that any actions by the alternative source will not alter any original manufacture warranties or guarantees
    d.Certification that the product has been stored and handled consistent with product labeling requirements

4.Be wary if a product is being offered at an unusually cheap price.

5.Check for signs of a removed or switched product label

6.Check for subtle changes in the product’s package (compare with previously purchased products), notwithstanding legitimate parallel imported products

7. Look for variations in the size of the container (compare with previously purchased products), notwithstanding legitimate parallel imported products

8.Look for differences in container length, diameters and shapes.

9.Examine for variations in diameters of bottle openings or lids.

10.Examine for variations in the thickness of glass or plastic containers and for variations in container color tints.

11.Compare the physical characteristics of the product

Industry Overview

Alternative medicine, or Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) has become quite popular over the years. In the US for instance, the sales of complementary and alternative remedies (CAM) reached about $5 billion in 2005. Further, close to 62% of U.S. adults used some form of CAM for preventing and managing chronic disease, the same year. In now is an integral constituent of the medical industry.

The widespread use of complimentary and alternative medicine can be further gauged by the fact that 74.6% of Americans have used CAM, and that the average American spent $60 on various remedies in 2005, base on the estimates of the Centers for Disease Control.

The industry, according to projections is worth at least a $30 billion-a-year.  Different industry products and services entail diet-based therapies, natural products, prayer, deep breathing exercises, yoga, acupuncture and massage therapy.

A large number of people (Over 100 million ) in the European Union (EU) too use complementary and alternative medicine. In the UK alone, there were about 90,000 complementary therapy practitioners in 2006.

Similarly the prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine in Asian and the African continents is high. In fact many of the therapies such as Ayurveda and the traditional Chinese medicine have their origins in these regions.

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