Alternative Medicine Risky or Harmless?


In the fast-paced life that we lead these days, it is not uncommon to see at least one member of each household consume a number of pills each day. Advances in modern medicine have allowed humans to live longer and healthier lives than previous generations.

At the same time, we must remember that modern medicine has evolved from a wide range of traditional healing practices, some of which are still practiced today. We classify many such treatments as being "alternative".

In spite of advances in allopathic medicine, a considerable number of people across the world prefer to use these traditional/alternative methods of healing over modern medicine.

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But are they safe, simply because they have been around for long?


The answer is 'yes' and 'no'. Yes, because in many cases these practices have proved beneficial. No, because in quite a few cases they have not been safe and have posed other health risks. Though previous generations survived with these methods, they did not have a long lifespan. The old methods do have their limitations but so do some of the modern techniques.


The key point to note is that each type of medicine has its own benefits and risks. Also, every individual's biological response to treatments using various methods is different. it is, therefore, up to the individual and the type and degree of illness to determine which one to follow.

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Common alternative methods of medicine include Ayurveda, acupuncture, acupressure, homeopathy, and others. Some individuals swear by Ayurveda or homeopathy, while others cannot think of anything else apart from allopathy, and some individuals experiment (at their own risk) with different treatments for different illnesses. In certain cases, diseases may be treated by modern medicine, while taking additional support from traditional methods. In such cases, an allopathic doctor might even recommend the use of such methods.


Here are some things to consider:


Has anyone else in your family tried it before – Since our family members share the same set of genes and medical history with us, it is always good to check with them if a particular type of medicine suits them or not.


Is the doctor a trusted source – When choosing an alternative therapy, be sure to consult a doctor recommended by a trusted source? Consulting a new doctor without any recommendation can be risky.


Research online – It is usually believed that while allopathy makes the patient dependent on pills in case of chronic conditions.  But, these traditional techniques like Ayurveda,  take a long time and one needs to be knowing patients' stories, experiences or reviews might help.


Don't try them all – Most of us tend to be over-enthusiastic or highly impatient with our diseases and, hence, end up trying all sorts of techniques. Please be careful not to do so! Mixing up various medications can have adverse effects on the body. Try and maintain a gap of at least a few weeks or a month when switching between medications and pathies and it is important to consult your doctor before switching. 


Be aware of all the risks – If you're not satisfied with the results offered by a particular type of medicine, do talk to your doctor to see if any alternative form of healing might work in your case. But make sure that you learn both sides of the story and are well aware of the risks associated with trying alternative medicine.