Allopathic or Alternative Medicine - Find your path through this maze!

Get the facts on allopathic and alternative medicine by using natural ways to help the body heal from a disease. Both alternative and complementary medicine use the same kinds of remedies to treat a health condition.

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  1. There are literally thousands of supplements on the market today, both in the allopathic and alternative medical worlds. How do you find supplements that work for your particular ailment, disease, or complaint? Navigating your way through the maze of products and hype can be daunting; allopathic pharmaceuticals and medical doctors would have you believe the alternative products are nothing more than snake oil, and you should never take anything a licensed medical doctor has not prescribed. There are alternative practitioners who think anything from the allopathic world is nothing but poison, and you should never even consider using an allopathic preparation. The truth, like always, is somewhere in the middle. There are allopathic preparations and procedures you may need during your lifetime; there are alternative preparations and procedures that may do you far more good than anything the pharmaceutical industry can supply. You'll have to find the path through this maze yourself, walking a fine line between the conflicting views and advice you'll receive.

    Where Do You Start?

    How you begin your healthcare journey depends upon many things – your circumstances, your personal beliefs, your family's opinions, and what is available to you where you live. The first thing to consider is are you treating a disease, or deciding on your lifestyle? If you are young and healthy, you will want to examine the way you live, to determine if you will go gracefully and healthily into your middle and later years.

    A diet of junk food and a sedentary lifestyle will not meet this goal; you need to examine what it takes to eat a healthy diet, how much and how often you will exercise, and if you will practice any mind-body techniques. Prevention is always better than intervention, so start yourself out down the right path. It's still a maze – the differing opinions on what constitute a healthy diet are enough to make you run screaming from the room – so be prepared to research what's best for you, decide on it, and stick to it.

    If you're treating an injury, condition, disorder, or disease, your maze is divided into two sides – the allopathic side, and the alternative side. If your condition is not immediately life-threatening, you will have time to find the path you need to take; it may be wholly allopathic, wholly alternative, or a mixture of the two. If the injury, condition, disorder, or disease does immediately threaten your life, you will start out in the allopathic world, but you may not stay there; surgery or chemotherapy is necessary for cancer, but there are alternative treatments you can do in conjunction with them that may help you more in the long run.

    Chronic Conditions

    The allopathic world does not have a good track record when it comes to chronic conditions, particularly those relating to auto-immune disorders such as arthritis. The allopathic world relies on pharmaceuticals to treat pain and inflammation, and the drugs they use cause more misery than they relieve. Finding alternative supplements to help you with your chronic condition is a trial and error process, and it's imperative you find someone knowledgeable you can trust to help you. An integrative medical doctor, a naturopath, an osteopath, a chiropractor, an Eastern medical practitioner, or a knowledgeable health food store owner are all people you should consider using as a guide down this road.

    Alternative therapies have become mainstream, in that large companies make preparations of the more commonly used herbs and supplements; these preparations are not necessarily good for you, because the companies are profit-driven and unregulated. A bottle labeled as containing 500mg of an herb may not contain the listed dosage, and in fact may not contain the herb at all. Purchase these products from someone you can trust to stock products meeting care standards, or you will spend money on preparations that will do you no good. The alternative pharmacopeia contains many supplements for joint pain; the most common ones are glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, boswellia, calcium, vitamin D3, Omega 3s, ginger, turmeric, and green tea. These preparations can all do you good; whether they are effective on your individual condition is something only you can determine. You will have to undertake a trial-and-error approach, and see which, if any, help you, and in what combinations they are effective. Research each supplement before you buy it, and buy the smallest amount you can. If it's effective, order more of it; if it's not, you've not lost much in trying it out. Discuss supplements with someone who truly knows about them, and who truly knows you and your needs. In the long run, you'll be better for it.

    Medical References:

    The Free Dictionary. Farlex. Retrieved 25 October 2013. Citing: Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine (2008) and Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 8th ed. (2009).

    Whorton, JC (2002). Nature Cures: The History of Alternative Medicine in America. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-517162-4.

    Bates, DG (September 2002). "Why Not Call Modern Medicine "Alternative"?". The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 583 (1): 12–28. doi:10.1177/000271620258300102.
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