medicine is made up of a rich array of techniques and therapies
that are, for the most part, the majority of the public. These
techniques serve as an "alternative" to what most people use for
health care, western medicine.
to David M. Eisenberg, M.D. of Harvard Medical School, alternative
medicines are "medical interventions not taught widely at U.S.
medical schools or generally available at U.S. hospitals. The
term alternative medicine can also be considered a code word for
a series of significant series and challenges occurring within
the American health care system today including the following:
realization that conventional biomedicine (i.e. antibiotics, prescription
drugs, invasive surgery, chemotherapy) cannot solve all of America's
growing acceptance that health is not simply the "absence of disease"
and involves more than just the physical body.
growing body of research, as well as public opinion, that states
that alternative medicine is often more effective, economical,
and less invasive and harmful than conventional medicine.
growing number of informed health care consumers who are open
to trying alternative medical treatments and demanding to be treated
as a person-not as a diagnosis-by their health care practitioners.
trying to determine what exactly alternative medicine is, one
must remember that the term alternative medicine is very subjective
and it means very different things to different people. Hence,
there really is no simple definition for alernative medicine as
a whole that will satisfy everyone. Furthermore, alternative therapies
range so much in their goals, methods, common cures and applications,
that it is very difficult to make one gereralized statement that
covers all of the different therapies. However, we must do our
best to explain the alternative medicine as succintly and as accurately