Over my working years on student advice and counselling, I have not encountered a student who wanted to study herbal medicine or Chinese medicine or the hundreds of alternative medicines out there. I can say with my hands on my heart that 100% of my students all wanted to study conventional medicine as we know it. They like to go for the “normal medicine branches” like dentistry, physiotherapy, pharmacy, physiotherapy etc. of course there are the sub-speciality for each field and sub-sub-speciality. A person who enters this cave can stay there learning all his or her life.
Indeed, these are great fields, however, we need not forget that in the olden ages people didn’t know medicine as we know it now, they needed to practice some sort of treatment to alleviate sickness or injuries. These fields are Homeopathy, acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic, herbal medicine, Gemstones treatment, meditation, yoga and many others.
These other branches of medicine can be alternative, which means you go directly to a herbalist to get a dose of some herbs to clear your cold; or complementary, which means your conventional doctor will suggest that you use a chiropractor or an acupuncturist to treat your pains.
Either way, these alternative/complementary fields can be as effective as mainstream medicine, in fact, the reference is evident, if people opt for them only, then it’s alternative medicine and if it’s used alongside the traditional medicine then it is complementary.
The world health organization (WHO) had recognized all these fields of medicine and in fact, there are general codes of practice on each field mentioned on its website.
I found a better terminology to “alternative or complementary medicine” as we can group these fields into the human body and mind and refer to each one specifically by its cure factor, for example:
Nutritional: special diets, plant-based diet, herbs, probiotics, microbial-based and many others
Psychological: meditation, hypnosis, relaxation therapy and music therapy
Physical: acupuncture, spinal manipulation, massage
Combinations such as psychological and physical also exist (e.g., yoga, tai chi, dance therapies, some forms of art therapy) or psychological and nutritional (e.g., mindful eating).
I go to an Osteopath monthly, and I feel light after my treatment, I had also gone to Chiropractors, herbal medicine, gemstone therapy, homoeopathy, Cupping, and acupuncture. After each of the treatments I felt good, the pain disappearance is immediate, but one needs prolonged treatments to relieve the pains.
I cannot say that alternative or complementary medicine is as effective, or less effective or more effective, all I can say is that regular medicine also failed to treat patients, I am not going to show statistics of the number of deaths due to malpractice or failure in recognizing the ailment as you can search for those, and the insurance companies’ payouts are only a proof of possible failure in the medical field. I can also say for a fact that the pharmaceutical industry has become so large that we don’t know which cough medicine, for example, to take or which eye drop is more effective; thus, using herbs to treat the common cold can be ok too, however that too has its malpractices, as some herbs can be as harmful as the non-treatment of the ailment itself.
What I am trying to say here is that there are other methods in treating the human body and soul, and we need to encourage our students to think about them, we need a generation of herbalists, chiropractors, osteopaths, Yoga and alternative sports treatments, Gemstone doctors as well as all the others. To prove this fact look at any large/chain supermarket, you will see a variety of cheeses, pasta, drinks etc, why? Because we are humans who like change, one cannot sustain oneself on one type of food only, and that is the same as body and brain treatments, we need to have variety and in fact, we need to encourage students to venture into fields that are unknown to them.
I am going to add a small description of each field here, and a link so you can find out more if you are interested:
Homeopathy: This treatment came from Germany in the 1700s, and it treats on the basis that the body cures itself. So it enhances the body’s normal healing, i.e. the body heals itself. The medicine is based on plants or minerals to cure the body. The pills are placed on the tongue, and it melts, normally certain things are prohibited whilst taking the homoeopathic treatment.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system. This, in turn, releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These biochemical changes may stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being. The treatment originated in China and is used around the world.
Osteopathy: it’s a treatment for body aches and pains through the movement of joints and muscles, normally the treatment takes 30 minutes or an hour, and one may need to get the relief around a session weekly and then it’s a monthly session. The wellbeing of an individual is in aligning the joints, muscles, bones and ligaments for a better functioning body.
Chiropractic: Back pain, neck pain, and other pains associated with the bones are treated by a chiropractor, the manipulation can help immediately, sometimes it may take a few sessions to heal the lower back pain. However, it’s very effective and had been proven to help sports injuries and other back-related problems
Herbal medicine: well these are natural herbs that one can use on a daily basis with no side effects whatsoever, for example, mint is a type of herb that is great for the common cold, stomach pains etc, Ginkgo Biloba is great for dementia and mental difficulties (like remembering things, and I have been using it since 1998). Herbal medicine’s main aim is to return the body to its natural balance and encourage the organs to behave in a natural way, without having to take manufactured medication. The list can go on, but read more if you like
Gemstone treatment: I will only mention Amber here, I use it all the time, it makes me feel good as well as it regulated my stomach problems, many gemstones are targeted by people since time memorial, and many are still using them. Stones like Amethyst, Amber, diamonds, jade, aquamarine and many others, have qualities that even treat anxiety, treat emotional wellbeing, and helps regulate the whole body system.
Yoga and mental exercises (meditation): Increases awareness, improves breathing, and provide you with better joints, among other benefits. One will be very flexible and can manage joint pain effectively. The combination of breathing and body exercises provide you with a calming effect for hours after finishing the exercise. I have met a 96 years old woman once who is a yoga instructor and she still walks without a walker.
There is no end to alternative medicine, we discover things daily. Choose correctly, one can make a living and help others with these fields.