Alternative medicine and traditional healthcare are two terms tossed around the modern health industry rather often.  There are negative opinions about both but each has their place in today’s health environment.

Traditional healthcare is referred to as Western medicine because it is traditionally used by the United States and Western Europe.  It is defined as the medical treatment based on the use of drugs and surgery to treat symptoms (signs of illness).

Alternative medicine covers a broad range of treatments and is also referred to as complimentary alternative medicine (CAM).  Practitioners emphasize education, prevention of disease, and holistic treatment.

Some of the most well-known alternative treatments include acupuncture, aromatherapy, chiropractic, herbal medicine, homeopathy, massage, meditation, therapeutic touch, and yoga. Western vs alternative medicine

The Pros of Traditional Healthcare

Scientific evidence based medicine uses the application of a scientific process to distinguish outcomes due to chance from outcomes that are reproducible and reliable.  Western medicine has been heavily researched over the years and is considered reliable for this reason.

Traditional medicine treats the body part or symptom of the disease, which earns it criticism for neglecting the big picture of total body care.  Doctors prescribe medicine to control symptoms while they search for the root cause but one prescription leads to another.

For a patient with chronic illness, the root cause may be masked by pharmaceuticals so they never get better – they simply feel better.

The development of better diagnostic tools, safer surgical procedures, and post-operative care have minimized many of the most terrifying aspects of traditional healthcare.

The Pros of Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine has been criticized for lacking scientific-based evidence.  Modern practitioners of alternative medicine are transitioning to a more evidence-based approach as well.

The cornerstone of alternative medicine is that patients are encouraged to participate and take responsibility in their health.  It recognizes and stresses changing lifestyle habits that affect your health.

Proper nutrition, exercise, rest, and emotional balance are critical to physiological well-being. 

Alternative medicine takes a whole body approach when preforming treatment.  There is great emphasis on preventing disease as opposed to treating the symptoms of disease.

Blending Two Systems for Better Health

Alternative medicine and traditional medicine are on opposite sides of the health pendulum and both sides earn criticism.

Modern healthcare is slowly evolving.  Referred to as integrative medicine because of the blend of treatment modalities, this system focuses on the ability of the body to heal itself but also places value on the patient/physician relationship.

Integrative medicine uses a combination of traditional and complimentary in order to facilitate healing in the best possible way.  Integrative practices are taught at most medical schools and several peer-reviewed studies have been done on the topic as well.

Integrative medicine combines the best of the health worlds for safe and efficient healthcare.

Regardless of treatment, it is well accepted that overall health is not a one-step process.  Your health – no matter which system you lean toward – depends heavily on your lifestyle choices.  Good habits and changes to your everyday behaviors can reduce the severity and even cure many chronic illnesses.  A healthy lifestyle drastically reduces your risk of disease.

  • Proper nutrition
  • Adequate sleep
  • Exercise
  • Emotional and spiritual balance

A healthy lifestyle is the greatest defense against disease.  The future of modern medicine relies on educating patients – and teaching children – that healthy choices each and every day lead to a longer and stronger life.

Integrative medicine is facilitating traditional medicine’s shift to the prevention of disease rather than the treatment of disease.  Focus on natural healthy living while using the best aspects of traditional and alternative treatment creates a sustainable healthcare plan.

Alternative medicine vs traditional medicine