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Introduction It is important to understand the cause of the current crisis on the matter, factors that lead to diseases and good health, in addition to the steps that need to be taken by an individual so as to maintain good health. Traditional medicine, also known as conventional medicine, relies on scientific principles, contemporary technologies as well as scientifically proved methodologies for purposes of preventing, diagnosing, and treating adverse medical conditions (Treweek &Heller, 2006). Health care professionals within conventional medicine believe that diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria.

In conventional medicine, health care professionals must undergo extensive training and meet the standards set by the American Medical Association. By contrast, alternative medicine in its medical approach takes in to account the body and mind, experience and knowledge for diagnosis and treatment. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the national Institutes of health did a survey in May of 2004 and found that “36 percent of adults in America use some form of alternative medicine”(Arias, 2004).

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They argue that conventional methods of treatment focus on diagnostic testing as well as treating with medications, but not on the patient as a whole. So as to gain an understanding on the increasing medical shift towards alternative treatment, it is important to understand what alternative medicine and conventional medicine are. Alternative medicine vs. conventional medicine Alternative medicine employs natural treatment modalities in treatment of diseases.

Various alternative treatment approaches including massage, water treatment and herbal remedies were used, and still are used today by the Chinese communities to manage a variety of diseases. Modern alternative treatment techniques are developed based on the ancient treatments (Paquette, 2000). Modern alternative treatment techniques include: acupuncture, homeopathy, spiritual devotions, chiropractic, aromatherapy, psychotherapy, osteopathy, naturopathic, nutrition medicine, in addition to a wide range of other natural remedies (Alters and Schiff, 2010).

These therapies have proved to be of much benefit in supporting the normal healing course of the body. Even though there are many modern alternative remedies, with different beliefs, all of them operate under some common principles. One of these principles is that the body has the capacity to heal naturally and maintain stability (Paquette, 2000). The other one is that adverse health conditions can occur as a result of factors emanating from mind, emotions and the body.

Alternative medicine, according to Goldberg, Trivieri and Anderson, (2002), focuses on determining the chief cause of a particular condition, and dealing with the whole person rather that concentrating on symptoms. If a person pays close attention to his/her health he/she can contribute to his/her wellbeing. Alternative medicine holds firmly to the principle that one treatment cannot be used for all people even though they may be suffering from the same condition.

Each and every person as per alternative medicine has distinct bodily, mind and spiritual make up (Goldberg, Trivieri and Anderson, 2002). Health care professionals within conventional medicine believe that diseases are caused by microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses. Medical care professionals in conventional medicine must meet the national set standards concerning education and certification. These professionals constantly update their knowledge through educational programs so as to maintain their professional licenses.

Alters and Schiff (2010), asserts that, before any treatment procedure is put into use in conventional medicine, health care professionals in this field must verify that it does not subject human beings to adverse medical side-effects. Numerous studies are conducted using animal and human subjects to determine the effectiveness of a certain treatments. Conventional medicine is recommended when a patient is suffering from a life threatening condition. It focuses on the symptoms which a patient is presenting with. Generally, conventional medicine focuses on dysfunction.

Those who prefer conventional medicine to alternative medicine, seek treatment only after they have fallen ill. This is due to the fact that conventional treatment puts very little emphasis on the prevention as compared to treatment (Treweek and Heller, 2006). The major difference between conventional and alternative medicine is that conventional medicine concerns itself with the management of symptoms through scientific modalities and modern technology rather than dealing with the whole person as well as the root cause of an illness.

Alternative medicine emphasizes on the prevention of illnesses and aims at treating the whole person in order to strengthen his/her immune system as well as producing a sustainable healing. Conventional medicine uses drugs to treat various illnesses thereby suppressing the body’s natural immunity; alternative medicine employs strategies that assist the body to heal naturally (Goldberg, Trivieri and Anderson, 2002). Conclusion The issue relating to the differences between alternative and conventional medicine can be very highly controversial.

Alternative medicine has been employed as treatment in the world for thousands of years. It involves the use of natural treatment techniques in management and prevention of diseases. Alternative treatment techniques including acupuncture, homeopathy, spiritual devotions, chiropractic, aromatherapy, psychotherapy, osteopathy, naturopathic and nutrition medicine among many others are developed based on the ancient treatment techniques. Conventional medicine involves the use of drugs, surgery, and other medical procedures in dealing with various medical conditions.

Conventional medicine employs scientific principles, scientifically tested medical procedures as well as modern technologies to diagnose, manage and prevent diseases. Conventional medicine focuses on treatment of various symptoms; alternative medicine concentrates on prevention, determination of the root cause as well as treatment of the whole person. Reference: About 70 percent of older adults use alternative medicine. (2005, April 11). Ascribe Newswire, pp 1-3, 3p. Retrieved July 5, 2010, from Ascribe Newswire database.

Alternative Medicine Angel, Alternative Medicine: A Comparison, retrieved on July 2, 2010 from http://altmedangel. com/am. html Alters, S. , & Schiff W. , (edn 5), (2010), Essential Concepts for Healthy Living, ISBN 0763789755: Jones & Bartlett Learning Arais, D. , (2004, August). Alternative medicines prompts concern. , The Nation’s Health, 34(6), 6-6. Retrived July 5, 2010, from ephost database. Field, T. , (2009), Traditional Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine, retrieved on July 2, 2010 from http://www. asktheinternettherapist.

com/archive_traditional_medicine. asp Goldberg, B. , Trivieri, L. , and Anderson, J. , (edn 2), (2002), Alternative medicine: the definitive guide, ISBN 1587611414: Celestial Arts Meines, M. , (1998), Should Alternative Treatment be Integrated into Mainstream Medicine? Nursing Forum, Vol 33 Paquette, M. , (2000), Does Your Assessment Include Alternative Therapies? Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, Vol 36 Treweek, G. , and Heller, T. , (2006), Perspectives on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, ISBN 0415351618: Routledge

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