Alternative Medicines are those that belong to schools of medicine other than Allopathic, the school of western medicine we are all familiar with. Most of them belong to old civilizations and date back to many years. The schools of alternate medicine gaining popularity now include Chinese and Tibetan medicines including acupuncture, Ayurveda, the ancient Indian school of medicine, Su Jok from Korea and Homeopathy. Many of these medicines are derived from plants and some have formed the basis of modern medicine too.
Proponents of Alternative medicine believe they are better as they have few side effects and are usually more natural in their origin. Modern medicine on the other hand has the advantage of being well documented with details of research, success rates and various statistics of efficacy being readily available. It is considered to be a more open system of medicine. Insurance policies do not generally cover treatment with Alternative medicines.
Homeopathy, founded in the nineteenth century by Dr Hahnemann in Germany is amongst the most popular schools of Alternative Medicine all over the world. It is treatment with small doses of biochemical salts that already exist in the body and homeopaths treat the entire system and not just a particular symptom. It follows the principle of like acts on like and the more dilute a solution the more effective the ions in it.
Ayurveda and other herbal medicines are also gaining followers. Plants extracts have been used down the ages with great effectiveness not only as medicines to be taken internally but as balms and oils to relieve pain and help the patient relax or sleep better.
Many patients in palliative care are happy to try alternative medicine as a way to acquire a better quality of life.