The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defined healthcare as the prevention, treatment and management of illness and the preservation of mental and physical well-being through the services offered by the medical and allied health professions. If we follow this definition of medical care, then alternative medicine would be seen as the use of other means, either as a complement or in place of conventional orthodox medical care. This nomenclature and definition have relegated natural medicine to a second class status and unfortunately, this has been accepted by almost everybody involved.
Realistically, it might be foolish to attempt to regard natural medicine as superior and of more benefit compared to orthodox medicine; however, it won’t be unreasonable to opine that both means of achieving balanced physical and mental health stand on equal grounds, both with its shortcomings and merits.
Most of the prejudice about natural medicine (or alternative medicine, if you want), is grounded on the premise that the procedures and substances employed are not scientifically proved, as far as modern science is concerned. But the fact remains that, if we look deep enough, there is countless research and evidence to prove the efficacy of most natural cures. Talking about scientific proof, you and I can name a couple of orthodox drugs that were certified safe and good for consumption by all agencies involved and later recognized to be damaging to health, after countless innocent people had lost their lives or suffered debilitating disabilities as a result of these drugs.
Let’s face the fact, even in the most developed countries of the world, today, millions of people are every day becoming disillusioned with orthodox drugs and their approach to health and illness. Modern science is basically concerned with managing a disease after it has occurred, how far has this got us? There are countless numbers of terminal illnesses that have defied modern medicine. Natural medicine is unarguably better in this respect. Natural medicine, for the great part, is concerned with maintaining health and preventing illness instead of managing diseases. Nature is replete with substances, herbs, just name it, that when effectively used, can guarantee that you will hardly fall sick.
Besides herbs and other natural substances, natural medicine can boast several procedures that have been shown to be very effective. Let’s talk acupuncture for example. This simple procedure has been in practice for over two thousand years and has remained as effective as ever. Long before modern medicine, acupuncture practitioners realized that there are several energy pathways in the body and by interrupting or stimulating energy flow across these pathways, the body is stimulated to enhance self healing, improve body function and provide an overall boost to the body system.
Look at massaging or yoga that have even been accepted by most medical practitioners as a complement to orthodox medicine. These procedures have been proved to be effective both in improving mental and physical health as well as emotional health. There are also innumerable nutritional supplements made with natural substances that are known to promote health and prevent several disease conditions. Although modern science would want us to believe that these procedures and substances are not medically or scientifically proved to be safe for consumption, one reasonable question to ask is whether the medically or scientifically proven orthodox drugs have been really safe.
So far, one can conveniently conclude that orthodox and natural medicines are both man’s attempt to ensure better health, making use of the intelligence and materials that nature has provided him; thus, one approach might not be placed above the other, both should be seen as different approaches to the same problem.