For as long as one can remember, there has been a division between the type of medicine practiced in the West and that in the East. The last ten years, however, has seen this change.
The use of alternative medicine in western countries has traditionally been very limited. The application of such an approach would have been laughable in the 1940s. Now, it is being used by a sizeable percentage of the population.
When it comes to sweeping terms, alternative medicine is certainly one. It can include everything from massage, herb treatments, meditation and even prayer. This grab bag approach has led to an argument over what exactly alternative medicine means.
Traditional practitioners of western style medicine have one view. It is that any medical procedure not arising from western roots is alternative medicine. There is no element of effectiveness in the classification.
A growing segment of the medical community discounts this approach. Instead, they argue there is no alternative medicine. There is only medicine. If an approach brings health benefits, then it is medicinal in nature. If it does not, it is a scam.
So, who wins the debate? At the moment, there is no answer. What is clear, however, is many eastern medical practices are becoming more popular with Westerners. Consider the following.
Looking at the States, people are becoming very receptive to both the idea of alternative medicine and its use. In fact, roughly fifty percent of all adults use it in one form or another.
A majority of adults do not forgo Western style medicine when using alternative medical approaches. Instead, they use them to compliment each other.
The use of alternative medicinal supplements is focused. Most uses are tailored towards conditions that involve reoccurring pain issues. These can be joint or trauma related.
People prefer to self-medicate with alternative medicinal approaches. Less than twenty percent will consult with a licensed practitioner.
Women are far more likely to use alternative health options than men. No particular reason is known, but the biggest disparity seems to be in treatments that combine a mind-body element.
At the end of the day, the exact nature of alternative medicine is somewhat irrelevant. What is clear is people are becoming more receptive to its use as a mainstream solution. One must wonder if it can really be called alternative any more.