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Alternative medicine is a term used to describe medical practices outside of the mainstream but believed to have some benefit.

These may differ depending on the part of the world one lives in. Many procedures that are considered normal in Eastern Medicine are outside of the norm in areas dominated by Western Medicine, while other practices would be deemed alternative medicine in most places.

Wikipedia defines alternative medicine as "any practice that aims to achieve the healing effects of medicine despite lacking biological plausibility, testability, repeatability, or evidence of effectiveness."

However, most descriptions are less subjective. Alternative medicine includes a variety of medical practices that haven't yet become part of conventional medicine. Some of these are accepted medical practices in other cultures. Practices that are referred to as mainstream in one part of the world might be alternative in another. The term can be applied to any medical practice or healing regimen that doesn't fall into conventional medical practice.

In the United States and other Western nations, alternative medicine refers to forms of medicine that are not widely accepted or practiced by medical doctors, especially those lacking scientific evidence. In the United States and other Western countries, licensed physicians, and those working under their license, practice conventional medicine, while many forms of alternative medicine have their origins in a combination of traditional medical practices, folk medicine, and religious traditions.

When alternative medicine is integrated with traditional medicine, it might be known as complementary medicine. Alternative and complementary medicine are not synonymous, however. When a non-mainstream approach to medical care is used in lieu of conventional care, it is known as alternative medicine. When it is used with conventional treatment protocols, it can be known as complementary medicine. It is probably true that most people in Western nations either solely use traditional medicine or they may use non-traditional along with traditional treatments. While these non-traditional treatment plans might be known as alternative medicine, it is more accurate to refer to it as complementary medicine when it is used along with traditional medicine.

Integrative medicine is similar to complementary medicine, except that the approaches are coordinated, and often carried out within the same medical facility. For example, a medical clinic near me offers traditional medical and dental care, as well as chiropractic care, acupuncture, and massage therapy.

Another term you might come across is functional medicine. Often known as holistic medicine, the objective is to identify the root cause of an illness and to customize a healthy living plan that goes beyond treating the immediate problem, and may include factors such as poor nutrition, toxins, stress, genetics, and bacterial sources.

Other alternative regimens include naturopathy and homeopathy. Naturopathy stresses the use of natural substances to provide a healthier balance of internal chemistry, while homeopathy is a medical system based on the concept that the body can cure itself with small amounts of natural substances, such as plants or minerals.

Besides those mentioned above, treatment regimens or concepts generally considered to be within the realm of alternative medicine include acupressure, acupuncture, animal-assisted, therapy, aromatherapy, biofeedback, Chakra, colon cleansing, craniosacral therapy, crystal healing, cupping, detoxification, ear candling, electromagnetic therapy, energy therapies, faith healing, fasting, feng shui, hypnotherapy, life coaching, massage therapy, meditation, mind-body intervention, music therapy, Pilates, prayer, psychic surgery, rebirthing, reflexology, Reiki, resilience training, Tai chi, yoga, and others.

Some of these are considered standard among large populations of people, even in Western nations, while others are viewed by most as being crazy and without any plausibility.

I didn't list chiropractic care here, although it is commonly referred to as alternative medicine. Although chiropractic care is often included in lists of alternative treatments, and there are people who consider it to be based on pseudoscience, chiropractic care is becoming more accepted every year and is included in many, if not most, medical plans today. While chiropractors are not Doctors of Medicine, they generally hold a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and are referred to as doctors. More significantly, chiropractic care is well established in the United States, Canada, and Australia, and it seems to have earned its place as a traditional treatment regimen, particularly for the treatment of lower back pain.

Although many chiropractic clinics engage in other types of alternative medicine, this is also true of a lot of medical clinics.


Alternative Medical Systems

Biologically-Based Therapies


Energy Therapies

Life Coaching

Manipulative & Body-Based Methods

Mind-Body Interventions




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