Conventional Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine
The Journal of Occupational Medicine divides the health care industry into two different categories: conventional medicine and alternative medicine. While both organizations treat illness, alternative medicine treats the physical, mental, and social well-being of the patient.
The conventional and alternative definitions of health differ greatly in regard to the diagnosis and treatment of illness. People who use conventional medicine usually do not seek treatment until they become ill. There is little emphasis on preventive treatment. The main causes of illness are considered to be pathogens-bacteria or viruses-or biochemical imbalances. Scientific tests are often used in diagnosis. Drugs, surgery, and radiation are among the key tools for dealing with the problems. Traditional medicine would claim its basis to be scientific, rather than cultural or spiritual. It is also the dominant medical system in the United States which gives it automatic credibility socially, economically, and within the insurance structure.
Holistic medicine, in contrast, focuses on preventing illness and maintaining health. It views health as a balance of body systems - mental, emotional, and spiritual, as well as physical. All aspects of a person are seen as interrelated - a principle called holism, meaning "state of wholeness." Any disharmony is thought to stress the body and perhaps lead to sickness. To fight disease, alternative medicine uses a wide range of therapies to bolster the body's own defenses and restore balance. For example, when you have a headache, instead of immediately reaching for aspirin, which may injure the lining of your stomach or cause even more serious side effects, you reach for a pillow and take a nap. Backache? Instead of reaching right away for valium, which can cause fatigue, loss of coordination, and worse, try relaxing those muscles with local applications of heat. Severe back pain?...