Alternative and Complementary Medicine

Alternative and Complementary Medicine: Ancient Medicine, Current Synergies

by Howard Tiano

The phrases alternative medicine and complementary medicine are often incorrectly used as synonyms. Really, the designation alternative medicine refers to medicine systems like Auyerveda or homeopathy , that are practiced to replace conventional medicine, while complementary medicine refers to those therapies like holistic medicine that are used in harmony with conventional, or allopathic medicine.

Both end up performing the same function in several western countries, who are beginning to concur that that these medicinal therapies are an essential ingredient of healing. That is why in popular parlance, alternative medicine is commonly referred to as complementary medicine.

Interestingly, a significant aspect of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is that it concentrates on the individual as a whole. The treatment is based not only on the person's physical symptoms, but also on the individual's lifestyle, surroundings, nutrition, mental and emotional health; sometimes even their spiritual well-being . Thus alternative medicine is considered holistic medicine.

Most devotees recognize acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic, Ayurveda, homeopathy and herbal medicine as the most significant kinds of alternative and complementary medicine.

Not including homeopathy, a large majority of the alternative and complementary medicine disciplines have their roots in ancient times in nations like Egypt, Tibet, Persia and the Far East. Some countries, notably India and China, are employing their expertise in alternative and complementary medicine to promote what has come to be known as medical tourism. A substantial number of westerners are journeying to these Asian Countries to look for holistic cures. In the West too, a significant amount of women are using aromatherapy and massage, while men are moving towards alternative and complementary medicine to recover from sports injuries or back discomfort.

The other medical matters for which practitioners are turning to CAM are chronic ailments like arthritis, cystitis, asthma or chronic fatigue. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) has acknowledged the value of holistic treatments. Among the ailments that WHO considers can be remedied with these approaches are asthma, eczema, digestive disorders and headaches.

This growing acceptance of alternative and complementary medicine is a healthy signal for the globe, because the Synergies that have been so created are helping to tackle many incurable diseases. In the final analysis, we should not forget that alternative and complementary medicine systems started thousands of years ago, and have been successful in treating millions of people through the ages.

Copyright © 2005 Howard Tiano, has studied optimum health techniques for three decades, and came to alternative medicine through a family health crises. was created to inform visitors of available treatments beyond standard medical solutions, and cut through the politics and hype! Know your options, and optimize your health!