Where Alternative and Traditional Therapies Unite

Alternative medicine or therapy is any practise of healing that is not included in the conventional medicine of the contemporary western world. Sometimes, it is referred to as quackery by its opponents. Common examples of alternative medicine are herbalism, meditation, naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, yoga, homoeopathy, diet-based therapies, acupuncture, chiropractic, biofeedback, Ayurveda, and hypnosis. Some treatments represent knowledge developed centuries before the period of modern medicine. They are used as a supplement to traditional medicine. Included in these practises are Ayurvedic medicine, herbal medicine, Unani medicine, Siddha Medicine, spinal manipulation, acupuncture, Yoruba Ifá, traditional Chinese medicine and South African Muti.

The practise of alternative medicine is diverse. It sometimes incorporates or bases itself on traditional medicine, folk knowledge, or spiritual beliefs. This makes some medical professionals doubt the effectiveness of alternative medicine. However, when used in conjunction with traditional medicines, some alternative therapies are beneficial in treating patients. For instance, alternative medicine can be used to complement traditional therapies for arthritis. A study also shows that alternative medicine can reduce the symptoms of cancer or ease the side effects of traditional therapies. Chinese herbs and acupuncture, for example, can lessen nauseous side effects of chemotherapy.

Despite the evidence that reveals that many alternative medicines or therapies are beneficial to patients, extensive research is still needed to determine the efficacy of non-traditional medicines. One must remember that some alternative approaches raise questions concerning their safety and efficacy.

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