Complementary and Alternative Medicine

The long battle between alternative medicine and scientific medicine appears to be over with the appearance of complementary medicine. Complementary medicine tries to combine the best of both worlds by putting the health of the patient ahead of medical philosophy.

The term “alternative medicine” refers to traditional and other methods of treatments for which there is no discernible scientific basis. The term “scientific medicine” which is also called modern medicine, conventional or Western medicine refers to methods of medical treatment based purely or largely on science.

Traditionally practitioners of scientific medicine looked down upon alternative treatments as unscientific. At the same time, many alternate healers dismissed practitioners of scientific medicine as arrogant, aloof and uncompassionate.

Today the two sides appear to have signed a truce and are attempting to find common ground. This common ground consists of a compromise called complementary medicine. In complementary medical treatment, medical professors allow alternative practices as long as they do not harm the patient.

Complementary Medicine Means Respect for Patient

An example of complementary medicine would be for a surgeon to allow a patient to meditate or use an energy therapy before and after surgery. These therapies don’t interfere in the surgery and they often contribute to the psychological well being of the patient.

Much of the rise of complementary medicine can be attributed to the increased knowledge of non Western cultures such as China and the growing respect for their values and traditions. Many the treatments and techniques in alternate medicine are taken from Chinese, Indian and other Asian culture.

Another reason why complementary medicine has become popular is the changing attitude towards patients on the part of doctors and other health professionals. In countries like the United States, Britain and Germany doctors were considered as all wise and all knowing experts on health matters until recent decades. This attitude meant that many doctors held their patients thoughts and opinions in contempt.

Today doctors and other health professionals are taught to respect their patients and their opinions. Part of the reason for this respect is the growing number of women doctors. Women are often more empathetic and understanding than men are. Until quite recently most doctors were men and they were taught to boss their patients around.

Since doctors have to respect their patients opinions they have to listen to their ideas about medicine. This means doctors are forced to take patients beliefs into account and respect them.

Complementary Medicine Equals Opportunity

The spread of complementary medicine is creating many opportunities for alternative healthcare professionals. Many medical clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities are now employing chiropractors, herbalists, acupuncturists and other alternate medical practitioners.

Some medical facilities now have such professionals on staff and offer many alternate treatments to their patients on a regular basis. It is very common for chiropractors and massage therapists to be involved in physical therapy and patient rehabilitation for example.

Many practitioners of conventional medicine also recognize the healing potential of some alternative practices. Prayer and meditation are widely recognized as being beneficial to the healing process. Patients who engage in these practices may develop a better attitude and recover faster.

This means that there will be growing opportunities for conventional and alternatives healthcare workers. Many healthcare providers will be looking for professionals who have knowledge of both.

How to Take Advantage of Career Opportunities in Complementary Medicine

Complementary medicine is going to be the future of medicine. Patients will increasingly expect healthcare professionals to have knowledge of both conventional and alternate therapies.

Healthcare organizations will be more willing to make room on their staffs for practitioners of alternative medicine. Individuals who are willing to get an education in both worlds of medicine will be more likely to get the healthcare jobs of the future if they have an education in complementary medicine.

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Complementary Medicine

One term that many people will hear when going for treatment these days is complementary medicine, which is sometimes referred to as complementary and alternative medicine. This term represents an effort reconcile two schools of medical thought that have been in conflict for a long time.

Conventional or scientific medicine which still forms the medical scientific establishment seeks to treat all ailments through treatments based on scientific research. Alternative healthcare incorporates non scientific notions of healing such as traditional beliefs, spirituality and folk wisdom into medicine.

Until quite recently the medical establishment tended to dismiss any treatment based on traditional belief or spirituality as ignorant superstition. In recent years many physicians and other medical professionals have become more to alternative treatments. This attempt to reconcile both schools of though is complementary medicine.

Why is Complementary Medicine Becoming More Popular?

Part of the popularity of complementary medicine comes from the popular disillusionment with the healthcare system and profession that has developed in some quarters. Modern healthcare can be highly effective but it is also expensive, bureaucratic, impersonal and uncompassionate.

Many people including both healthcare professionals and patients are sick of this situation and are searching for something different. Non-conventional medicine provides many of them an outlet to offer treatments and care conventional medicine can’t. It can also reach people in ways modern medicine hasn’t been able to.

Another reason why complementary medicine is becoming more popular is the increased emphasis on prevention rather than treatment in medicine. Many physicians now recognize that the traditional approach of treating conditions or problems after they develop is a failure. Doctors and others are sick and tired of treating preventable diseases and conditions.

Many non-conventional schools of medicine emphasize prevention over treatment. Naturopathic and homeopathic encourage the treatment of conditions like heart disease through diet and exercise rather than surgery or pills for example. The Indian school of medicine called Ayurveda also emphasizes a healthy diet.

Quite a few alternate practices can be incorporated into preventative care without harming the patient. Indeed emphasizing these practices can encourage patients to adopt healthier lifestyles that can make a lot of conventional medical treatment unnecessary.

The increased popularity of healthy lifestyles and diets has also made the public more aware of non-conventional medicines. Many patients are actively demanding that doctors incorporate these ideas and beliefs into their practice of medicine.

The Future of Complementary Medicine

The growing popularity and influence of complementary medicine is a trend that can not and will not be reversed. The healthcare establishment will no longer be able to ignore dismiss non-conventional medicine or drive its practitioners away. Alternative healers will no longer be able to attack or undermine the efforts of conventional healthcare practitioners.

The two groups of people will have to learn to live together and work together if they want to survive and make a living. More importantly they will have to work together if they want to attract and keep patients.

Career Opportunities in Complementary Medicine

The coming together of the two worlds of medicine means that there will be many excellent career opportunities in complementary medicine in the years ahead. Healthcare professionals such as nurses, doctors, pharmacists, paramedics, nurse practitioners and others who are willing to get an education in non-conventional medicine will have more job opportunities.

Non-traditional healers who are willing to open their minds and school themselves in conventional medicine will also find many more employment opportunities. For example a physicians’ assistant with a knowledge of acupuncture or therapeutic touch will be more likely to find a job than one who isn’t it. A pharmacist who also has an knowledge of herbs will also find many more job opportunities.

Some of these practitioners of alternative medicine will even find themselves on the staff of hospitals and other medical facilities. The future for the practitioners of complementary medicine is very bright indeed.

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