Monday, May 5, 2008

Just What is Alternative Health Care?

According to the dictionary, "alternative" means "choice."

Theoretically, then, alternative health care means we have many methods and fields of practice from which to choose. However, within the mainstream traditional medical community, the philosophy is that "alternative" means unorthodox - or perhaps even quackery.

They forget that they once were considered quacks themselves. Dentistry was performed by barbers, and only midwives delivered babies. Surgeons proudly wore smears of blood on their gowns from the day's line-up of patients, and bathing was considered wasteful and unhealthy.

The medical profession has come a long way since then, and they have accomplished much in the way of effective disease management, surgical technique, and development of a vast documentation of health conditions. Their research has been, and continues to be, unequalled in depth and breadth.

However, it's still primarily one-sided. The official position is that current medical care and thinking are singularly responsible for all health care - or should be. Alternative, or "other" choices for health care are to be avoided, shunned, eliminated if possible, and at the least, discredited as the useless babbling of charlatans and con artists only out for money. (Has anyone checked the latest costs for hospitalization... or drugs.... or office visits lately?)

But we live in the Information Age now, and it's becoming little excuse to claim ignorance of other methods of caring for ourselves, our families, and our friends.

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