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by Anthony Baker | January 9, 2017

What is Conventional and Alternative Medicine — How to Use Them Complementarily

Have you heard about those poor unfortunate souls who are on 18 different pharmaceuticals—12 to treat their illnesses, and six to treat the side effects from the first 12?

Such absurd practice has got to stop.

This is where you come in. You are smarter and wiser.

Please understand that while it may be called “alternative” medicine, you should (at least in most cases) not consider it to be an alternative but rather a potential PRIMARY option.

Shift from Conventional to Alternative

Trouble sleeping? A common problem in modern society. Complain to your primary care doctor and he or she will prescribe for you a convenient pill to pop each night before you go to bed. Voila, problem solved! Or is it? Soon you become dependent upon this lovely little pill, to the point where you are unable to fall asleep without it.

Now enter alternative medicine (*trumpets blaring*), which should most definitely be the primary option for insomnia.

  • Try some liquid melatonin—it is fast absorbing and is a hormone that your body produces naturally. Even better, dab some essential oils on your temples and chest, put on your eye mask, and sleep like a baby until dawn.

Trouble with your back? A herniated disc? Ouch, that can really set you back. No problem, just get a prescription for pain killers, or—even better, go under the knife! Problem solved, right? Not so fast. Those narcotic pain killers you are taking are habit-forming and commonly abused. And while it might seem productive to have surgery, it requires a recovery period, you can develop scar tissue, and success rates are variable.

Before you reach for those pills or call your nearest spine surgeon, please make every effort to exhaust the abundant alternatives that exist.

  • Set up an appointment with your neighborhood chiropractor, visit a massage therapist to work out tense muscles and trigger points that might be contributing to your pain, or do resistance training to build up those support muscles. Other alternatives exist as well. Do the research for what you have.

Evaluate Common Ailments First

What are some other examples? How about those most common of ailments seen in modern society: obesity, diabetes, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and thyroid disease? Should you automatically go to the pharmacy the moment your labs come back as abnormal?

Well, it depends (hmm, perhaps this isn’t as black and white as you thought).

This is where your doctor’s knowledge and advice comes in very handy. He or she can explain how severe your problem is and what the risks of undertreatment happen to be.

  • For instance, if your blood pressure is only mildly elevated then, by all means, try alternatives first. Perhaps all you need is a vacation from work, a week at a spa in Sedona, or regular deep-tissue massages by a masseur named Sven. Even better, integrate yoga and meditation into your daily routine.
  • On the other hand, if your high blood pressure is so bad that you are having headaches and chest pains, please head straight to the pharmacy! Or, if your depression is so bad that you are planning to hurt yourself (or someone else), quick, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room, don’t call your yogi or go to the natural products section of your grocery store to pick up some St. John’s Wart.

Don’t Risk Others’ Health

Free will and choice fly out the window when other people can be affected by your decisions. We’re talking about PUBLIC HEALTH concerns.

Sorry if this stance disappoints you, but alternative medicine is, in general, ineffective and unwise when the ramifications of your decisions affect not just yourself but potentially others.

What is all this about?

This is stuff like childhood immunizations, sexually transmitted diseases, airborne infections like tuberculosis, among others. For these matters, which are issues of public health concern, it is important to adhere to generally acceptable guidelines for care.

While you may be tempted to seek out alternative therapies—perhaps considering them safer or less costly, please consider the big picture. Cost must not be a primary factor, as neglecting to use pharmaceuticals could lead to side effects that are even more costly than the medication!

As you go through life, and ailments befall you or your loved ones (as they do for most people eventually), please do keep in mind these words of advice:

Conventional medicine can effectively cure many of the ills of modern society, but alternative methods have their places too. Utilize the best of both worlds for complementary alternative medicine.

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