The Truth About Conventional Medicine and Alternative Therapies

conventional vs alternative medicine photo, ginger and lemon versus pills

Alternative holistic therapies and conventional ones, what is the truth?

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Have you ever wondered if alternative therapies really work? 

It is estimated that more than 30% of U.S. adults use health care that is outside of mainstream Western medicine. I think 30% is a good number but probably not high enough considering the benefits that complementary and alternative medicine can provide. 

I believe alternative medicine is not used more often because when it comes to the use of conventional versus alternative therapies we have gone to extremes, and extremes are not balanced options. 

An Overview

Some people have never tried and will never try alternative therapies, branding them all “inefficient” and “a con,” while other people swear by them so much that they won’t contemplate conventional medicine, citing the big pharmaceutical agenda and all drug treatments as dangerous for the body.

The reason I believe that so many people distrust alternative practices is because of some dishonest practitioners that are associated with them; some individuals and corporations have taken financial advantage of sick and vulnerable people looking for alternative hope outside of conventional medicine.

That has given the entire alternative medicine community a bad reputation.

The eagerness of some alternative practitioners to bash conventional medicine has not helped either.

The word alternative is misleading.

In the Western side of the world it seems to imply something unscientific and superstitious, but in many other cultures, particularly in the Far East, this alternative medicine is their conventional medicine.

Conventional medicine has evolved and has better refined the use of drugs and surgical technology. It can be life saving in many situations.

People survive brain tumors, life-threatening allergic reactions, and serious injuries because of the advances in medicine and the types of surgery available (and to correct a popular belief in some circles, medication does not hamper our spiritual advancement. Our soul grows when we practice compassion and kindness, deal with our life lessons, and take responsibility for our lives, regardless of the amount of surgeries we need to have or the amount of conventional medicine that we have to take.)

Limitations of conventional medicine

Doctor on hospital setting

Conventional medicine is wonderful in many cases, but it has some limitations:

• It manages and treats symptoms instead of treating the underlying causes of sickness.

• Mind-body connection and proper nutrition are often ignored.

• Each part of the body and organs are treated independently, as opposed to using a whole-body approach.

• When the physical body is very sick, it struggles with the number of medicines it can tolerate and the medications’ side effects.

Even for smaller ailments, the treatment usually starts with a pill, like providing a course of antibiotics for common childhood diseases – a mild ear infection, cough, or strep throat – that could be healed with gentler approaches like using essential oils and/or homeopathy (we will discuss these and other types of alternative treatments later in this post).

• One of the biggest issues is that traditional surgeries and medicines will fix the problem to some extent, as in the case of heart bypass surgery, but it won’t be healing.

True healing will happen when we address either our high stress levels, the emotional reason that caused the heart issue, and/or make some needed lifestyle changes (if, for example, we are not getting adequate nutrition, or we smoke too much).

That is, in order to truly heal, we also need to deal with our mental and ethereal bodies as well as the physical.

Alternative medicine, in contrast, considers the mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies as well as the physical environment, nutrition, and lifestyle to diagnose and assist healing.

It is nothing more than treating the whole person rather than just the symptoms of disease.

Tests don’t need to prove that something is wrong in order for something to not function properly; if the person doesn’t feel well, then he is not well.

However, alternative therapies also have some limitations.

Limitations of alternative therapies

mind body soul stones pink

• There is lack of formal training and regulation in some fields.

Depending on the type of type of treatment, some people claim to be alternative medicine experts without formal training. We should always do some research to ensure we are being treated by a legitimate practitioner.

• Some herbs, vitamins, and dietary supplements are “prescribed” as healthy and natural but might cause severe contra-indications with prescription drugs.

Supplements are not regulated. There is no guarantee they contain what the package says.

Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and an expert on the dietary supplement industry, found his patients started developing mysterious symptoms.

One woman went in with palpitations, sweating, and anxiety, but also feeling very tired. Another was rushed to the emergency room with kidney failure, and one man lost his job after his urine tested positive for amphetamines.

Cohen realized his patients were all taking weight loss pills known as rainbow diet pills. He then sent the capsules off to a private lab for testing. The tests revealed amphetamines, thyroid hormones, diuretics, benzo-diazepines (tranquilizers), and antidepressants.

• One of the biggest limitations of alternative therapies comes with trauma and severe illnesses that undermine the mind/body’s capacity to heal.

• Most alternative therapies are not equipped to handle emergencies, such as a broken bone, a burst appendix, or most accidents. In these cases, conventional medicine is the fastest and probably the best and most efficient route to healing.

I consider alternative therapies a great complement to conventional medicine, not necessarily good as sole therapy.

It depends on what we are trying to cure or achieve.

Closing thoughts

There is a place for alternative therapies, and I use them often, but conventional medicine can be life-saving in many situations too. 

I believe we would be at optimal health if we used both, conventional and alternative therapies.

Have you used an alternative therapy that has proven to be really useful for you? Please feel free to share your experience below, or let me know if you have any questions

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