What Is Alternative Medicine?

What is alternative medicine? This is a term used to describe the different forms of medicine other than conventional methods. Alternative medicine includes a wide variety of medical practices including non-European (non-Western) medical practices and will include some new approaches to medicine. There is also a term called complementary medicine. This is a combination of conventional medicine coupled with alternative medicine.

Alternative Medicine

With increasing research and new findings in medicine there is a universal rise in the Western nations of the use of alternative medicine. In the Eastern part of the world, namely the Orient, some forms of alternative medicine have been practiced for many centuries. Part of this trend in the West may be due to the growth of medical education and awareness among people and the increased amount of travel to different regions. More literature is now available on this subject and medical societies specializing in different forms of alternative medicine are available.

Some of the most common forms of alternate medicine are:

  • Acupuncture
  • Homeopathy
  • Naturopathic Medicine
  • Osteopathy


This is an ancient art which had its origins in the Orient. It involves manipulating and inserting needles into special points in the body. It is thought to restore health and create well-being. There are several forms of acupuncture which are taught worldwide. This is one of the most famous forms of alternative medicine.


Homeopathy is a form of medicine that tries to stimulate the body’s immune system in order to promote healing. The practice of Homeopathy endeavors to bring the entire body back into homeostasis, or balance.

Homeopathic Medicine

Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic Medicine is a practice that is designed to stimulate the body’s own healing system. This system utilizes multiple forms of alternative medicine. It can also be referred to as Natural therapy, and can include dietary supplements, exercise and different foods.


Osteopathy was originally a form of alternative medicine based on manipulation of the joints. It is still used for chronic back pain. It is often used with other forms of medicine.


When treating illness and serious diseases it is important to consult your physician before taking any decisions. Many doctors will endorse some sort of alternative medicine coupled with conventional medicine, especially if conventional medicine is not proving very effective for a chronic condition.

Despite the lack of credibility given it by most MDs, some alternative medicine can work surprisingly well. It will all depend on your particular illness and your own body’s functionality whether alternative medicine will work well for you.

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