Alternative Medicine

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Here are some definitions of alternative medicine you could find on the Web:

  • Any form of therapy used alone, without recommended standard/conventional treatment.
  • Any treatment outside the usually accepted medical therapies for disease processes.
  • Practices not generally recognized by the medical community as standard or conventional medical approaches and used instead of standard treatments.
  • Health care services outside the traditional medical practice, this type of care can include such therapies as: acupuncture, holistic medicine, homeopathy, non-medical massage therapy, herbal therapy, hypnosis, naturopathy, and biofeedback.
  • Any form of practice that is outside the realm of conventional.
  • The use of various non-drug, non-surgical related therapies. Using natural means of treatment.
  • Alternative medicine encompasses many different disciplines and treatments. The glossary below briefly describes some popular terms and offers resources to learn more.
  • Treatments that have not traditionally been used in standard Western medicine, and are not widely taught in medical schools. These may include naturopathic medicine (herbs and plants), homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, and others.
  • Practices not generally accepted as part of the conceptual or methodological approaches used by licensed physicians or other licensed health care providers.
  • a health field other than traditional allopathic (medicine) health field.
  • Treatment procedures that are not supported by mainstream medicine, often because of lack of supporting experimental data.
  • It is a term used to describe health care practices that come from a wide variety of cultures, are intended to restore health, and are not a part of common medical practice in the United States.
  • The practice of medicine without the use of drugs; may involve herbal medicines or self-awareness or biofeedback or acupuncture .

Alternative Therapy - Use of an unapproved therapy instead of standard (proven) therapy. Some alternative therapies have dangerous or even life-threatening side effects. With others, the main danger is that the patient may lose the opportunity to benefit from standard therapy. The American Cancer Society recommends that patients considering the use of any alternative or complementary therapy discuss this with their health care professional.

Types of Alternative Medicine


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