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Alternative Medicine Experiences An Increase In Popularity

Jun 20, 2008
The numbers of those choosing to pursue treatment from alternative medicine practitioners seem to be on the increase as disdain grows with the existing medical methods of treatment. This is especially apparent in the United States although the trend has crossed the pond and is now becoming evident within the UK. Why this trend has occurred is unclear, but an overall dissatisfaction with Western medicine seems to be the primary cause; another reason why this growth in alternative medicine has occurred in the UK could be the large waiting lists for treatments.

A recent survey revealed that almost a third of people have chosen to use alternative medicine treatments. The survey was conducted with over thirty thousand people and can be considered the largest ever survey of its type revealing the extent of non conventional treatment usage. The results generally gave the impression that the use of alternative medicine was increasing, in comparison to other studies the trend was plain to see across the board.

Out of the alternative treatments used, prayer was the most popular with almost forty three percent of adults following this course. Although this is not a bona fide treatment it does reveal that people are increasingly turning away from conventional medicine. Other treatments have become popular such as natural medicines which took nineteen percent of the survey. More spiritualist forms of treatment such as meditation have also seen a sharp increase in the past few years. Understandably in a world of pressure to stay in shape diets such as Atkins and Zone have also seen an increase in usage.

Of the bona fide alternative treatments used it is herbal and natural medicine that has become the most popular. These types of treatment have mainly been used to treat recurring ailments where conventional medicine has failed to solve the problem. These conditions are the hardest to treat conventionally and hence the public is increasingly turning to herbal treatments that give relief. Doctors are worried by this news however; patients are now making decisions on how to treat their ailments and turning away from proven techniques. The conventional techniques are proven to be safe and while alternative methods may work, longer studies into their benefits and side effects have not been undertaken extensively.

Another reason for the growth in use of alternative medicine is due to the high prices of drugs, especially those on prescription. It was thirteen percent of people who gave this reason for their avoidance of regular treatments. In many cases herbal treatments are in fact cheaper and although they may not be scientifically proven many are still choosing to take the alternative route. Once again, concerns over the safety of patients is the doctors' major response claiming that even though these medicines are natural, it does not necessarily make them safe.

These downsides can be negated however, fundamental whenever choosing to use alternative medicine is to undertake research into the product and any side effects that may be apparent. In addition it is advisable to find a practitioner who is not only knowledgeable on all of their products but also trustworthy with the patients' health as their major concern.

Overall the survey reveals the trend that alternative medicine is becoming an evermore popular option for patients. In addition to the cost of regular medicines and disdain with regular treatments, another fundamental reason is peoples' fears that the extensive use of anti-biotics can lead to degeneration of the immune system. Whether these fears are founded is as yet unclear but regardless it is still helping the cause of non-conventional practitioners. Whatever the reasons for this increased popularity, seemingly it will continue as more people choose follow this course of action when it comes to medical treatment.
About the Author
Health expert Thomas Pretty looks into the reasons behind why so many people are choosing to use alternative medicine treatments.
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