Why You Shouldn’t Use Alternative Medicine

I hear many reasons from people who are seeking alternative medicine to cure what ails them.

Among the more common are:

  • “I don’t feel well, but my doctor tells me nothing is wrong.”
  • “I’m concerned about the side effects of prescription drugs and surgery.”
  • “I’ve tried everything else and nothing has helped so far.”
  • “I’m looking for a more natural approach to health and healing.”
  • “I’m treated like a number, not a person, when I go see my doctor.”

All of these are good reasons to explore what alternative medicine can do for you.

But there are reasons not to seek the help alternative medicine offers. Here are a few of them:

  • “I want someone to just ‘fix’ what’s wrong with me.”
    People with this mindset don’t usually want to participate in their own healing process. They’re looking for a ‘magic bullet’ pill or treatment that will instantly cure them. Because alternative medicine works with the natural processes of the body, it may not be quick enough for these folks.
    No magic bullet pill can effectively address the deeper issues causing disease. At best they can reduce symptoms without too many unwanted side effects. To get real healing typically requires a bit of time and participating in the process in partnership with your alternative medicine practitioner.
  • “I think any treatment not fully researched by government agencies can’t possibly work.”
    Someone with this idea will be waiting a very long time for effective treatment. The reason is that the very agencies in charge of monitoring research results are paid for by the giant pharmaceutical companies they oversee. Can you say, “Conflict of interest”?
    A more useful approach is to pay attention to results.
  • “I tried (fill in some alternative medical treatment here), and it doesn’t work.”
    This one always confuses me. If the same person went to a conventional medical doctor and the treatment they got didn’t work they wouldn’t say, “I tried conventional medicine and it doesn’t work.” Why, then, do they jump to this conclusion about alternatives?
    In either type of medicine there are practitioners with more or less skill. And since each patient is different, they may have different responses to a particular treatment. It’s silly to negate an entire field on the basis of one experience.

Finally, there are people who have questions about alternative medicine that need answering before they can make a good decision. Here are a few of those questions:

  • “When I go online for natural solutions to my problem, I find tons of contratictory opinions and information. It’s overwhelming! How can I sort this out?”
    I understand what these people mean. So much of the information available is driven by a vested interest in one world view or another. Some people want to say alternative medicine can cure anything, while others while others want to say it cures nothing.
    In my opinion, the best approach is to rely on results. If you’re self-treating, move forward cautiously and pay attention to your body’s signals. For some people, it’s easier and faster to make use of the knowledge of someone with years of practical experience by seeing an alternative medical professional.
  • “If powerful drugs haven’t helped, how can natural medicine be effective?”
    A reasonable question. The answer is that the two approaches are entirely different. Highly concentrated, single focus drugs target one particular biochemical response in the body. I compare them to firing a high-powered rifle into the ocean. Yes, there’s a splash and maybe a ripple, but the water quickly adapts around the temporary disruption.
    Natural medicine seeks to work with the entire body and all the interactions within it. By taking into account the bigger picture, it’s possible to correct health problems at a deeper level.
  • “My insurance won’t cover some of these alternative medicine treatments.”
    That’s a difficult one. The reason it’s difficult is twofold: first, insurance companies aren’t in the business of healing people, they are in the business of providing insurance. That means that they are thinking about healthcare from a very different perspective than a patient thinks about it.
    The second reason has to do with the first issue mentioned above about people who shouldn’t seek alternative medicine. If insurance coverage is the only consideration for someone, then it really is probably better if they stick to conventional medicine. On the other hand, if getting well is part of the mix, then it makes sense to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal whether it’s a conventional or alternative medicine approach.

As you can see, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all question. The bottom line in any health care question is, “What are the results I’m getting?” If you focus on discovering the answer to that question, you have the best opportunity to achieve your health and wellness goals.

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