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It is without doubt that conventional medicine plays an important and lifesaving part in the healthcare process, as without conventional medicine, if you were to have an accident or life threatening injury there’s little chance you would make it.
That said, conventional medicine when it comes to treating chronic conditions, for instance arthritis, leaves much to be desired.The reason for this is that conventional medicine tends to treat the symptoms rather than the cause.
If you consider the main treatment for osteoarthritis, for instance, you will see that it mostly consists of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (i.e. reducing inflammation within the joint) and painkillers. Unfortunately, these drugs tend to deal with the symptoms rather than the cause.
In the case of osteoarthritis, there are many topical pain relieving creams people can use that consist of either heat or cooling agents – yet, this is again symptomatic relief rather than a remedy, per se.
However, if we look to complementary medicine, for instance naturopathy or chinese medicine, the focus shifts to treating the underlying cause, in this case, the reason for the inflammation around the joints – such as the fact the synovial fluid that surrounds the joint capsule is less viscous and the cartilage is worn down.
Alternative medicine looks more to dealing with lubricating the joint and repairing cartilage. In this sense, it is less about the symptoms of a condition and more about treating the root cause of the problem.
Many people, of course, would argue that it’s all too little too late when it comes to remedying such issues, and alternative medicine is often viewed as a preventative measure rather than a “cure” – yet, complementary therapies and alternative medicine often have many advantageous effects when treating illness and disease.
There’s a wide range of alternative medicine available, from energetic healing such as Reiki, or the more spiritual healing focus to crystals, bach flower remedies and aromatherapy oils. In addition, some would argue that treatments such as chiropractic and osteopathic interventions are considered a form of complementary medicine.
Indeed, some could even argue counselling and psychotherapy is an alternative medicine – though this is being much more accepted into the mainstream today, as is chiropractic and physio based treatments.
The biggest challenge when it comes to alternative medicine is that whilst it can be “common sense” it isn’t always common practice, and a doctor, for instance, might not recommend something that can do you the world of good – such as drinking Aloe Vera to improve your immune system.
In fact, Aloe Vera has been proven by research fellows at Cambridge University to be an immuno-regulator, meaning it could be beneficial to treating autoimmune disorders where the body’s immune system starts to attack itself. Yet, the majority of conventional GP’s aren’t aware of the benefits of nutritional medicine, and therefore, rely on the drug therapy touted by pharmaceutical companies that make a huge profit in terms of the remedies they sell. In most cases, the “remedies” aren’t remedial; they merely mask or manage the symptoms of a condition.
This is where alternative medicine can come in, as it tends to tackle the root cause of the issue, and treats the person holistically, as a whole – rather than as a set of symptoms