A Look At Alternative Medicine
Staying happy and healthy is a fairly universal goal for people. It is about ensuring that we get the most out of our lives even in the face of inevitable illness and bad luck. We can safeguard ourselves against a lot of things though. Some major negative life events are inevitable, but most of the time you can at least manage not to get ill too often by managing various aspects of your life. We turn to medicine to help us with that part of our health. As a section of science, modern medicine continually strives to create, find, and refine treatments for various ailments to ensure people have both a larger quantity of life as well as enjoying a higher quality of life for longer. Despite this, not everyone actually fully trust modern medicine. There are also people who simply look for an alternative means to supplement standard treatments. This is where “alternative medicine” comes in with promises of a better way. We’re going to take a closer look at it to see if it is actually worth your while.
What Is Alternative Medicine?
Pinning down what exactly alternative medicine means is a little hard as it tends to be a professionally loose term. However, it serves our interests best to actually narrow the scope some to ensure that we know what we’re going to be talking about. This means for the purpose of this article we’re going to consider alternative medicine to be treatments outside of modern medicine that claim to take a novel, natural, or spiritual approach to medical treatment. Novel treatments encompass using products of modern science, like vitamins or other derived compounds, in ways different from standard treatments. By contrast, natural treatments try to avoid processed compounds to find health and healing in nature. Spiritual treatments eschew all physical means entirely and strive to utilize unknown energies or prayers to influence an individual’s health and well-being. There are a great deal of minor divisions in alternative medicine, but these three broad categories should provide at least a decent overview.
“Alt Med” has grown in popularity in the last couple of decades as modern life seems to be altogether too overwhelming for many of us. People often feel unsatisfied if there are non-conventional treatments that can help them and end up reaching out towards what feels like endless potential. This isn’t helped by the fact that a lot of alternative medicine claims to hold the secrets to health and wellness that “they”, whoever “they” are, don’t want you to know about. This is often paired with claims that the medical establishment refuses to investigate a given treatment because they supposedly know it works and letting people know a treatment works would cut into medicine’s overall profits. All of these tend to be, bluntly put, entirely baseless. Medical science has actually investigated alternative medicine’s claims to see if there were better courses of treatment. The hope of all medicine is to find simple, easy, and safe treatments for all. Spiritual medicine relies on mechanisms that don’t appear to work or supernatural powers that have no evidence. Novel treatments frequently end up hurting those who try them. Natural treatments frequently display a lack of understanding of the compounds they claim will help. “Alt med” does very little good for anyone’s health in the long run and has lead to many deaths.
It is important to note that people get hurt or die under the care of modern medicine as well. The fear of this is, more often than not, what drives alternative medicine forward. People want gentle, effective treatments and will often settle for gentle treatments even if they aren’t effective. This is particularly true of natural treatments. After all, if it is in nature, it shouldn’t hurt you right? Why not chew willow bark rather than take some acetaminophen? Treatments like that are actually often retreating from the refined modern counterpart of a treatment because it feels mentally safer. In truth, chewing willow bark is far less effective than a tablet of acetaminophen. Acetaminophen was isolated from the willow bark to improve its effectiveness and minimize the ingestion of other compounds that might be harsher on the body. Even modern medicine is still pulling from nature’s wellspring of treatments. Modern medicine is simply more targeted and it can be harder to see.
Alternative medicine is certainly well-meaning. Proponents of it typically want to genuinely improve people’s lives with the exception of con artists here and there. Unfortunately, few alternative treatments have even the barest actual evidence for them. The ones that do typically already have medical techniques similar to them or the compound used has already been isolated and made more effective by modern medicine. There is no denying there is something intuitively attractive about alternative medicine. You should do your best to ignore this though as it is at point where your intuition won’t serve you. Alternative medicine will, at best, do very little for you, or, at worst, cause you great harm.