Alternative medicine is a term that covers a variety of health-care practices, having in common a disagreement with conventional, allopathic medicine and its emphasis on treating symptoms with drugs and other invasive and unnatural substances and methods, instead of addressing the cause of one's problem.
Its practitioners don't disregard symptoms; in fact, they often succeed in overcoming them where conventional doctors fail. But their main focus is on the underlying cause of the symptoms, and getting the body, and generally the whole person, into a state in which the symptoms don't recur.
Alternative medicine generally regards health, even vibrant health, as normal and natural, and considers that anything short of that is usually due to some intentional or unintentional deviation from a natural diet,
Life-style or attitude which would otherwise keep us healthy.
Conventional medicine, in contrast, generally pays less attention to causes of illness, accepting the illness as if IT were natural, and relying on un-natural means, most commonly drugs, to suppress or placate the symptoms. It is not a coincidence that, in the dictionary, "medicine"
refers both to the mainstream system of health care, and the drugs that are almost automatically prescribed for virtually every condition by the practitioners of that mainstream philosophy.
Alternative medicine encompasses many forms of health care, including naturopathy, chiropractic, nutritional counseling, acupuncture, therapeutic massage, colonics, Detoxification, herbalism, and aromatherapy. Many practitioners incorporate a variety of these as well as other naturally-oriented methods in treating their patients. All of these are based on the conviction that no disease was ever caused by a "drug deficiency", and that health can be regained and strengthened by learning what helps and what hinders our natural inclination toward wellness, and acting accordingly.
In the process, often manufactured supplements are used, but these are products which contain natural nutrients, and are selected with the intention of addressing the patient's individual needs and optimal levels of nutrients to produce the best possible results in keeping with the way our bodies were designed to work.
Alternative medicine has faced many forms of unfair opposition. These include outright government suppression in many forms, distortions of facts by the medical/pharmaceutical establishment and elements of the news media that mislead people into believing that mainstream, drug-oriented medicine is the only true "scientific" form of health care, and an insurance industry so slanted toward mainstream medicine and against alternative medicine that even many people who have studied both sides and prefer an alternative approach opt for conventional care even though it is replete with unpleasant side-effects and costs more in real terms, simply because their insurance will pay for that and not for the less-expensive alternatives.
Alternative medicine has survived and continues to prosper and grow even in the face of these challenges, simply because it is based on truth and sound reasoning, and it works! Obviously not every "alternative" will work for everyone in every situation; by the same token, a substance or treatment isn't "unscientific" or not helpful in restoring health simply because it is too natural to be patented by a drug company!
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