Differences Between Conventional and Alternative Medicine

The progress of science is usually believed to have improved the quality of many processes, products, and services. However, in certain spheres of life, traditional methods are still being used; medicine is a bright example of the co-existence of two antipodal approaches. Along with commonly recognized conventional medicine based on science and technology, there also exists alternative medicine, which sometimes includes practices developed thousands of years ago. The superiority of each of these kinds of medicine have a long-standing history, as each of them have proved its effectiveness; therefore, understanding their advantages and drawbacks is crucial for forming one’s own point of view.

The first difference between these two systems is their approach to diagnosis. Conventional medicine focuses on the factors that cause diseases and remedying their symptoms; every abnormality is seen as an independent clause, separate from the personality of an individual and their environment. Unlike its counterpart, alternative medicine sees a body as an equilibrium of interrelations between a body and its environment; therefore, a disease is thought to be caused by an imbalance between them. In other words, alternative medicine focuses rather on cleansing the entire system than on curing its particular elements (Buzzle).

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Alternative medicine assumes health is a life-long process; therefore, to sustain a healthy body condition, a person should continually maintain proper nutrition, their daily regimen, body care, mind exercises, and so on. Conventional medicine, while also taking these principles in consideration, relies mostly on drugs and surgery. This makes it more effective for managing critical situations (or for quick-fixes), but is less efficient in healing chronic diseases. In addition, it is extremely expensive. On the other hand, alternative medicine is more affordable, it guarantees stronger and more stable results, but is also time-intensive, requiring a commitment to a healing process, and thus may not seem like a reasonable option for quickly healing a patient (AHHA).

Unlike conventional medicine, which relies entirely on chemically synthesized drugs, alternative medicine uses natural components such as herbs as remedying substances. Alternative medicine also uses ancient methods of dealing with diseases, such as acupuncture, massage, yoga, breathing techniques, meditation, and so on. Conventional medicine, in its turn, puts more trust in scientifically-approved methods of diagnosing and treatment, though acupuncture and massage are also approved (AlternativeMedicine).

Alternative and conventional medicine have different approaches when it comes to understanding and curing diseases. Whereas conventional medicine often sees a disease as an independent clause, and focuses more on a quick-fix than on systematic approaches, alternative medicine sees a body and its environment as a holistic system; a disease occurs in case of an imbalance between all of the system’s elements. Conventional medicine is thus more effective for treating critical situations, but less suitable for managing chronic diseases. Alternative medicine yields gradual results, but they are usually more stable and long-lasting, as they often involve the change of an individual’s lifestyle. Alternative medicine relies mostly on natural components and ancient techniques, whereas conventional medicine prefers chemical drugs and scientifically-approved methods of diagnosis and treatment.

References

Magar, Prashant. “Traditional vs. Alternative Medicine.” Buzzle.com. Buzzle.com, 14 Oct. 2011. Web. 20 Jan. 2014. .

Ivker, Robert S. “Comparing Holistic and Conventional Medicine.” AHHA. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2014. .

Feng, Joshua. “The Benefits of Alternative Medicine.” AlternativeMedicine. N.p., 12 Oct. 2011. Web. 20 Jan. 2014.

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