The world of alternative medicine is vast, ranging from Chinese medicine to massage therapy.
Unlike most Western medical practices, alternative medicine often seeks a deeper cause of illness, instead of simply addressing the symptoms. Alternative medicine practitioners do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery, instead relying on herbal and holistic remedies as well as acupuncture and massage.
The basic foundation of alternative medicine is simple: bring harmony to the body, mind, and spirit in order to promote health. This idea of balance is as old as the healing arts themselves. The practice of balancing the body's natural energies can be found in the healing traditions of the Chinese, Indian, and Native American cultures.
Those practicing alternative medicine have a strong belief in nature and the body's ability to heal itself. Doctors in the field of alternative medicine concentrate on illness prevention as much as they treat specific illnesses. They counsel their patients on what sort of lifestyle changes they need to make in order to decrease the risk of illness.
The biggest difference between Western medicine and alternative medicine is in the way each discipline views the body. While Western doctors and surgeons treat the body as a conglomeration of organs and systems, alternative medicine doctors look at the body, mind and spirit as a whole. Western medicine focuses on the belief that bacteria and viruses cause disease, while alternative medicine doctors focus on the patient's entire internal condition, including state of mind and emotional balance.
Alternative medicine modalities include: acupuncture, massage therapy, herbal medicine, naturopathic medicine, Indian Ayurvedic medicine, homeopathic medicine and yoga.
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