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Advanced Alternative Medicines That Work

May 19, 2008
With the ever-increasing cost of professional medical treatment and medicines, more people are going back to the option of alternative medical procedures. These alternative forms include, but are not limited to, such ancient forms as herbalism, homeopathy and chiropractics. The alternative treatments may also include spiritual, religious and metaphysical principles as well as newly developed, but not yet approved, methods of treatment. One should not assume, however, that alternative medicines are all bad. Often scientific research will show the alternative form to be effective and sometimes, with professionally approved testing, will be added to the lists of mainstream medical procedures.

The greatest argument against alternative medicines is the lack of extensive scientific testing to determine the effectiveness of a procedure. While those medicines that are approved by government and professional regulators have spent years in testing, the alternative forms are often provided with little or no actual research in laboratory conditions. There is also the frequent situation where an alternative form of medicine is commonly available and thus leaves no room for exclusive and proprietary ownership of the cure. Therefore the monetary incentive to test the treatment is not available to the established drug companies.

While alternative medical treatments make up over eighty percent of the world\'s health care due to poverty and lack of professional resources, it should not be assumed that this is the only reason for the resurgence of alternative medicines among the world's population. Increasingly, studies in the United States show that alternative forms of medical treatment actually increase among those who attain a higher level of education. A recent study by the Statistics branch of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) showed that about seventy-five percent of the adults in America have used some form of alternative medicine with only about half of them using the alternative forms in conjunction with professional medical treatments.

Advocates of alternative medicines point out that many treatments ultimately pass the testing phase to become mainstream and that through early implementation, can have the treatment of many diseases in the hands of the people years before an official sanction would allow access. Critics of the alternative medical systems argue that these untested forms of treatment are more likely to delay people from seeking tested and authorized medicines and can therefore exacerbate the problems before professional help can be given.

Another argument against alternative medicines is that the dosages of these medicines are not strictly regulated and the effects therefore can be wildly unpredictable. Approved medicines are by contrast, severely measured and are proven to be consistent in quality and dosage. There is the problem of self-medication being done without the requisite knowledge of drug interactions that is also brought forth as an argument against alternative medicines. Usually the self-medicating patient will not have a high level of understanding on this subject and the risk of overdosing or mixing potentially lethal combinations increases.

The lack of common knowledge about many of the older forms of alternative medicines can sometimes lead to the reintroduction of substances and procedures that have previously been disproved. An example is the use of colloidal silver. Discarded as an ineffective antibiotic in the early twentieth century, it has made a comeback in recent years as a vitamin and dietary supplement. However, it has been directly linked to a huge increase in the skin discoloration con
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