Essay by rvr410College, UndergraduateA+, August 2007

download word file, 7 pages 4.0

Alternative medicine describes health products, practices, and approaches that are not part of conventional medicine. The goal of physicians who practice alternative medicine is to find a cure by looking at the whole person when making a diagnosis, rather than just the symptom. Alternative medicine is based on the idea that the body is healthy and capable of healing itself.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), state that most alternative medicine is holistic, meaning that it considers the whole of a person's physical and emotional well-being. Most alternative healing is also preventative - it tries to prevent health problems before they occur rather than respond to symptoms after a problem arises.

The NCCAM groups CAM practices into five major domains:1. Alternative Medical Systems is the precise name for those forms of alternative medicine that are built upon a complete system of theory and practice.

Examples of alternative medical systems include eastern medicine, ayurveda, chiropractic, homeopathy, naturopathy, Tradition Chinese medicine, and Unani.

Early on, acupuncture caught the attention of many Americans, probably because it involves puncturing the skin with many tiny needles and most of us grew up hating needles. However, acupuncture is just one of many treatments in the complex, centuries-old tradition of eastern medicine. Asian practitioners also use herbal medicine, massage, and Qi gong, a form of energy therapy. Each of these techniques and several others focus on achieving a balance of energy in the body. Practitioners of Ayurveda, which originated in India and means "science of life," use diet, exercise, meditation, and other techniques to achieve their goal of harmony of body, mind, and spirit.

Established on the principle that "like cures like," the homeopathic medicine approach treats health problems with very diluted doses of the same...