Complementary and alternative medicines are a group of different medical and health systems, practices that are not usually considered a part of conventional medicine. The use of conventional medicine in conjunction with complementary or alternative medical practices is gaining increasingly in popularity in the US and is more commonly known as integrative medicine.
In the US, approximately 38 percent of adults and 12 percent of children are being treated with some form of alternative therapy.
There are several disciplines of complementary and alternative medicine therapy, but the most popular homeopathy, acupuncture, massage therapy, ayurveda, chelation therapy, yoga, chiropracticm naturopathy and natural remedies.
Most complementary and alternative medicine therapies have originated from ancient cultures.
Ayurveda is an ancient form of Indian medicine dating back 2000 years. It is established on humoral understanding of health and disease. In recent years, ayurveda has been gaining popularity in Europe and America and is now considered to be a recognized complementary and alternative medicine therapy.
Homeopathy is a form of medicine that developed in Germany in the 16th century. Its philosophy is that what makes a man ill can also cure him. Working on this premise, the therapy is to treat patients with heavily diluted formulations, which are believed to cause an outcome similar to the symptoms the patients are suffering from.
Chiropractic developed in the late 19th century in the USA and had its origins in the UK.
Acupuncture is said to date back 8000 years and originated in China. But history records that variations of acupuncture were practiced by many other cultures ranging the Eskimos to South African Bantu tribesmen.
Complementary and alternative medicines have evolved over the centuries in various parts of the globe. While a substantial part of complementary and alternative medicine is based on folk medicine and treatments, and has no scientific evidence, the results suggest otherwise. Modern conventional medicine is beginning to take a more serious approach to complementary and alternative medicine and is the two streams are being merged to form what is today known as integrative medicine.
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