Side Effects of Alternative Therapy in the Medical Community

Alternative therapies have grown popular as primary forms of therapy. This popularity is expected to double in the near future as many people believe that alternative medicine is natural, safe and free of side effects.

Alternative therapy is different from conventional therapy. Alternative medicine, as utilised in the modern Western world, covers every healing practise that does not fall in the domain of conventional medicine. These practises may be based on traditional medicine, spiritual beliefs, folk knowledge, or newly perceived approaches to healing. Commonly mentioned examples are herbalism, chiropractics, naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, yoga, Ayurveda, biofeedback, meditation, homoeopathy, hypnosis, acupuncture, and diet-based therapies.

Alternative therapies are generally not acknowledged by the medical community because they tend to lack evidence to prove their safety and efficacy. The fact that alternative medicines are less risky than conventional drugs is not substantial enough to erase the risk of side effects that may occur because of such methods. The increase in popularity of alternative therapy and its continuous attempt to intensify its practises and therapeutic efficacy also increases the risk of side effects on every person who uses them. These possible side effects include toxicity, allergic reactions, and possible mutagenic reactions. In a 1998 systematic review of studies, 13 countries assumed that about 31 percent of cancer patients use alternative medicine as a substitute to conventional drugs.

Alternative treatments are usually not subjected to any controlled tests, whereas conventional treatments are studied to determine undesired side effects before being given to pharmaceutical distributors.

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