The term ‘alternative medicine’ means any form of treatment other than modern medicine (based on allopathy). Alternative healing therapies can bring about miraculous healing of mind, body and soul. There are various alternative medicine styles, types and branches that have evolved from various cultures and their ancient healing and treatment practices. They are based on the belief that body has the ability to cure itself. Balancing energies and maintaining a harmony with the surrounding is also an important aspect. Out of the hundreds of ancient forms of treatments being practised all over the world ayurveda, naturopathy, homoeopathy, acupressure and yoga are some of the more common and known names.
It is very wrong to say that alternative medicine is not based on science and is purely based on ancient traditions and beliefs. Various herbal and ayurvedic medicines and healing techniques are scientific and utilise the natural medicinal properties of plants and other substances to cure particular ailments. Speciality of alternative medicine is that it has a holistic approach towards healing and it seeks the deep rooted causes of an ailment rather than just looking at and addressing the symptoms. It deals not only with the physical composition of a human body but also understands and addresses the human body as having a complete physical, mental, spiritual and social dimension. These forms of treatment do not have any side effects unlike the allopathic medications, hence, their popularity and acceptance is growing. Alternative medicine is also known as complementary medicine, as it is also used to complement or support a modern allopathic treatment for curing an ailments.
The alternative medicine practices can be primarily classified into five basic categories:
- Alternative systems
- Mind and body intervention
- Manipulative body based
- Energy based systems
- Biology based systems