The History of Alternative Medicine

A New Fad or Steeped in Ancient History?

You may be new to using alternative medicine or perhaps you have already seen the amazing benefits alternative medicine and alternative therapies can bring to your life. But do you know how long its been practiced and where it originated? Well let me take you on a journey into the fascinating history of alternative medicine.

The history of Alternative Medicine is an interesting one and has links with many different cultures. However it’s difficult to say exactly when Alternative Medicine began, in part because up until recently the practices that fall under this term were the conventional medical practices of their time. But if we go back in history and trace several of the forms of healing that are now labelled as alternative we find that their origins go back as much as 5000 years.

From Eastern Philosophy to Widely used Western Alternatives

One of the oldest forms of alternative medicine can be traced back through Chinese history. The ancient Chinese, in much the same way as alternative medicine is used today, based their healing on the importance of the body and spirit being in balance. Much of the philosophy of Chinese Medicine is based on Taoist and Buddhist principals and the belief that a person and their environment are closely interlinked. The widely known principles of Yin and Yang come from Chinese Medicine and are integral to its practice. Yin and Yang explains how opposing forces are integral to each other and how for harmony within the body to take place, these must be in balance. When these are out of balance, disease occurs.

Chinese Medicine works at restoring balance in various ways including herbal medicine, acupuncture, breathing and movement (Tai Chi and Qigong) and also through diet. The practitioner looked at the patient’s health and life in detail to ascertain where their life force or Qi (pronounced Chi) was out of balance. Various methods would then be used to restore the patient back to health. Such was the effectiveness of Chinese Traditional Medicine that it still forms a large part of modern health care in the East. It’s not unusual for these “alternative” practices to be used in hospitals alongside western medicine.

The other Eastern Culture that has a long history of alternative medicine is India. Ayurvedic medicine dates back as far as 6000 years ago and like Chinese Medicine also has links with Buddhism. Ayurveda comes from 2 Sanskrit words – Ayu meaning life and veda meaning knowledge of. It is a system of medicine that keeps a persons body, mind and spirit in tune with nature in order to maintain good health.

When in Rome …..

In the West, the History of Alternative Medicine goes back around 3000 years. Treatments such as hydrotherapy were popular with the Romans and Greeks. The Ancient Greeks who were greatly influenced by the Babylonians and to a lesser extent by India and China brought herbalism into the West. Hippocrates (c. 460-377 BC), a Greek physician commonly referred to as the Father of Medicine, practiced herbal medicine.

During the Middle Ages, Monks in Europe studied and grew medicinal plants and translated many works on the subject from Arabic. Folk Healers also passed on their knowledge of healing through word of mouth, from Master to Apprentice. The understanding of the power different plants have is ingrained in many native civilisations and has allowed man to understand and thrive in often challenging environments. When the Europeans settled in America they found that the Native Americans had an extensive knowledge of the healing power of their indigenous herbs. Likewise the Aborigines in Australia understood the power of plants found in their environment.

Moving forward in time towards the 19th Century, before the rise of Western Medicine, as we now know it, medical practitioners were more like today’s naturopaths. They would take a detailed medical history paying particular attention to the patient’s lifestyle. They would then suggest ways to improve this by changes in diet, environment and would also prescribe herbal remedies.

How a Bit of Mould Turned the Tables on Alternative Medicine

The widespread use of alternative medicine in its various forms decreased during the 20th Century. Treatment of patients became more focused on the use of hospitals, and developments in modern medicine lead to the widespread use of Pharmaceutical Drugs to treat disease. The discovery of Penicillin and its development into a drug that could treat bacterial infections in the 1940’s revolutionised health care and alternative medicine lost favour with most medical practitioners.

Although many Doctors let go of what they considered to be outdated treatments such as homeopathy, herbalism and traditional Chinese Medicine many patients still sort them out, especially when conventional medicine didn’t appear to be working for them.

No Longer An Alternative, Now Another Choice for Achieving Better Health

The result now is that Alternative Medicine is on the increase. Practices such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, aromatherapy and healing are kept alive by practitioners who specialise in one of more alternative form of treatment. Frequently alternatives are used alongside modern medical treatments, which have led to alternatives being given the term complimentary medicine.

This brief history of alternative medicine shows that many of the practices used today have been with us for thousands of years. Given the rising popularity of using alternative medicine to deal with health issues today, it’s likely that these practices will be around for many more

Alternative Medicine Colleges: Making the Grade

Find Alternative Medicine Colleges in the United States and Canada. If you are drawn to complementary and alternative medicine, you are not alone. Alternative medicine colleges are growing in demand as “36 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 years and over use some form of complementary and alternative medicine.” [1] Alternative and complementary medicine therapies that are most commonly sought after include acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine, and nutritional [2] therapies. These professions are frequently taught to students in a number of alternative medicine colleges.

Before registering in the wide expand of alternative medicine colleges, you should first determine which alternative medicine practice you would like to enter. For example, if you interested in chiropractic, be sure that the selection of alternative medicine colleges in which you choose to enroll offer this course of study. Some alternative medicine colleges provide training in a diverse range of health therapies including education in pathology-specific treatments, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Studies offered through alternative medicine colleges in this area may include diverse curriculums in botanical or herbal medicine, supplements and vitamins, hydrotherapy, mind-body therapies, Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, homeopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture and other massage therapies.

Other courses provided through alternative medicine colleges may be designed for the future homeopathic practitioner or professionally certified massage therapist. However, there are so many fields of study from which to choose, the potential to attaining a quality education at one of several alternative medicine colleges is virtually unlimited.

Currently, a number of alternative medicine colleges provide undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral and independent career training programs. Students who are interested in naturopathic medicine or holistic medicine can gain a comprehensive education and skills through accredited alternative medicine colleges, as well as other complementary medicine schools. Students seeking certification or diploma programs can frequently achieve these goals at alternative medicine colleges, too. For instance, some alternative medicine colleges specifically provide certification courses in massage, herbal medicine and reflexology. Again, the diverse options in education are quite compelling.

Students, who have successfully graduated from one of several alternative medicine colleges, can go onto lucrative and personally rewarding careers that are mutually beneficial in helping patients and clients from all walks of life.

If you (or someone you know) are interested in enrolling in one of several alternative medicine colleges to help find your dream job, let education within fast-growing industries like massage therapy, cosmetology, acupuncture, oriental medicine, Reiki, and others get you started! Explore career school programs near you.

Alternative Medicine: What Is It?

What is alternative medicine? It is a phrase that has been tossed around more and more in the media, the bookstores, and increasingly, the doctor’s office, but how often does anyone say what alternative medicine is?

Theoretically, alternative medicine is any form of medicine that does not fit with in the scientific framework of western medicine. Once a form of medicine has been proven scientifically effective, and a theory has been determined to explain in the language of western medicine why it is effective, it should no longer be considered alternative

Unfortunately, after the theory comes the politics. In reality, in the United States, alternative medicine is any form of medicine that has not been accepted as scientifically valid by the American Medical Association and the United States Government. In other countries different official bodies will determine what is and is not alternative medicine. In the United States, massage is alternative medicine. In Canada massage is conventional medicine, and as such, highly regulated.

Would you believe that according the US government’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vitamins are a complementary or alternative medicine (depending on how they are used) that have not yet been proven to have any greater effect on the human body then a placebo? Personally, I’d like to know if they would like to be treated for scurvy with a placebo. I’ll stick with vitamin C. There are theoretical uses for vitamins that have not yet been fully proven, but that does not make the proven effects any less scientifically valid.

At the same time, just because someone claims what they offer is medicine does not make it true. Herbal supplements are not regulated, and may not fully disclose their ingredients. They certainly will not tell you about any dangerous interaction with your heart medication!

Of course, you can ask an expert, but keep in mind that there are many kinds of alternative medicine, an acupuncturist is not necessarily trained in herbs, and your primary care physician probably won’t be trained in any of them.

If you are interested in using alternative medicine, either for a specific problem, or simply improve your overall health, it’s probably best to first research what kinds of alternative medicine you are interested in, and speak with you doctor about whether or not she will be willing to work with an alternative medicine practitioner. Then find a practitioner who has had training in that specific area of alternative medicine. Most forms of alternative medicine are not licensed in the United States, so ask where they went to school, and how long they have been practicing. Then they can work with your doctor to make sure you get the care you need, without any unexpected side effects.

Some forms of alternative medicine that might be worth looking into are:

Oriental medicine: Oriental medicine is the only form of alternative medicine that is truly comparably to western medicine as a complete system of medicine. Oriental medicine is based on several theories developed thousands of years ago and first elaborated on in the Yellow Emperor’s Classic, between three and five thousand years ago. Oriental medicine includes the practices of massage, acupuncture, herbal therapy, qi gong, and several others. Tradition Chinese Medicine is a variant of oriental medicine specific to China. It is the only variant of oriental medicine the can be found with relative ease in the United States. In many parts of Asia, oriental medicine is still considered the standard of medical care and western medicine is ‘alternative.’

Herbal therapy: Herbal therapy is probably the most common form of alternative medicine found in the United States, and quite possibly one of the riskiest. While most of the conventional medicines doctors prescribe today were derived from herbs, the herbal supplements commonly on sale have no common dosages, mat contain fillers, and will rarely warn of side effects. While herbs can be used to treat everything that medication can, and possibly quite a bit more, make sure you speak with a trained herbalist before taking any. They can tell you what dosage is safe, what suppliers are worth using, and any potential side effects.

Homeopathy: Homeopathy was developed in the 1800’s by two doctors who noticed that quinine, the only medicine capable of treated malaria, caused symptoms of malaria in healthy people who were given it. They theorized that like would cure like, so caffeine which normally causes wakefulness, would be used to help someone who was not sleeping through the night, sleep better. Homeopathy is probably the only alternative medicine that is safe to try without speaking with an expert, because the active substance is so dilute that it is not possible to over dose, or incur side effects on the amounts in the local health food store, never mind the few bottles you would keep in your home. At the same time, it is still best to consult a homeopath to be sure that what your taking will work for what you need.

Massage: Massage is the use of hands or tools to manipulate the muscles and tendons. The two most common uses of massage are to ease aches and pains, and for stress relief. While there are many conditions that massage will obviously not help with (diabetes, for instance), there are many that it is surprisingly effective on, such as eating disorders, fibromyalgia, and carpal tunnel syndrome. In addition, almost any muscular injury can be treated with massage to prevent scar build up, speed healing, and increase a restricted range of motion. There are many different forms of massage therapy, including Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Pre-Natal Massage, Shiatsu, Thai Massage, Lomi Lomi, Medical Massage, Chair Massage, Aromatherapy Massage and Hot Stone Massage. If you go to a massage therapist for a medical condition, make sure they are trained in Medical Massage. Some states have licensing programs for massage therapists now, as do most European countries. If you live in an area that has licensing, make sure the therapist you go to is licensed.

The Alternative Medicine Review For Your Assistance

The alternative medicines are most widely and successfully used in the recent times as an alternative program to the conventional medicines. Magnetic therapy as an alternative therapy has been in use for a long time. Magnetic therapy is very effective in dealing with pains and aches, sprains and wounds. Often people who are suffering from arthritis choose to have magnetic bands and chains attached to their bodies rather than visit the physician millions of times and get lists of medicines that simply clutter their immune system and yet offer no satisfactory results.

One great factor about magnetic therapy as an alternative therapy is the fact that magnetic therapies are absolutely safe without any side effects or long-term hazards. Alternative medicine review of most medicines depict that the alternative therapy are effectual and do not have unfavorable side effects. It has also been seen that most of the alternative medicines work in conjunction and under the dictates of conventional medicine and thus, they are not a remote branch of medicine at all.

Alternative medicines are generally natural methods of treatment and hence they are considered to be pure and safe. Medicine of any type affect different people in different methods and at times alternative therapy treatment can affect a patient fatally as much as conventional medicine can. However, it is generally seen that alternative therapy, being natural, does not have negative effects on the patient. Since the magnetic therapy constitutes the use of magnets and the magnetic field to cure pains, it is safe to read the guidelines before administering the magnet to the skin.

At times, men and women who benefit from a small treatment that they undergo in alternative therapy, care to believe that all major treatments in alternative medicine are also as effective. Well it might be but again there are chances of the major illnesses being not cured as effectively as the small problem. This is a case that is common to all medicines and one can resort to other methods if alternative medicine does not work. This is one of the greatest aspects about alternative medicines as one can jump to mainstream medicine if this branch fails to work.

Also as the alternative medicine review says, the money spent in alternative medicines is comparatively lesser than the amount that is generally spent in mainstream medicine. Alternative medicines treatment might take a period to effect the results. The magnet therapy works wonders only if you give it some time to function properly. So if you are a name who expects relief to come your way with the snap of your fingers then alternative medicine is not an approach that you should try.

Alternative medicine review talks about alternative medicine as being one of the best options to choose for treatment if you dislike hospitals and too many medicines. The magnetic therapy for curing pain is safe and easy method for permanent relief.