Conventional or scientific medicine which still forms the medical scientific establishment seeks to treat all ailments through treatments based on scientific research. Alternative healthcare incorporates non scientific notions of healing such as traditional beliefs, spirituality and folk wisdom into medicine.
Until quite recently the medical establishment tended to dismiss any treatment based on traditional belief or spirituality as ignorant superstition. In recent years many physicians and other medical professionals have become more to alternative treatments. This attempt to reconcile both schools of though is complementary medicine.
Why is Complementary Medicine Becoming More Popular?
Part of the popularity of complementary medicine comes from the popular disillusionment with the healthcare system and profession that has developed in some quarters. Modern healthcare can be highly effective but it is also expensive, bureaucratic, impersonal and uncompassionate.
Many people including both healthcare professionals and patients are sick of this situation and are searching for something different. Non-conventional medicine provides many of them an outlet to offer treatments and care conventional medicine can’t. It can also reach people in ways modern medicine hasn’t been able to.
Another reason why complementary medicine is becoming more popular is the increased emphasis on prevention rather than treatment in medicine. Many physicians now recognize that the traditional approach of treating conditions or problems after they develop is a failure. Doctors and others are sick and tired of treating preventable diseases and conditions.
Many non-conventional schools of medicine emphasize prevention over treatment. Naturopathic and homeopathic encourage the treatment of conditions like heart disease through diet and exercise rather than surgery or pills for example. The Indian school of medicine called Ayurveda also emphasizes a healthy diet.
Quite a few alternate practices can be incorporated into preventative care without harming the patient. Indeed emphasizing these practices can encourage patients to adopt healthier lifestyles that can make a lot of conventional medical treatment unnecessary.
The increased popularity of healthy lifestyles and diets has also made the public more aware of non-conventional medicines. Many patients are actively demanding that doctors incorporate these ideas and beliefs into their practice of medicine.
The Future of Complementary Medicine
The growing popularity and influence of complementary medicine is a trend that can not and will not be reversed. The healthcare establishment will no longer be able to ignore dismiss non-conventional medicine or drive its practitioners away. Alternative healers will no longer be able to attack or undermine the efforts of conventional healthcare practitioners.
The two groups of people will have to learn to live together and work together if they want to survive and make a living. More importantly they will have to work together if they want to attract and keep patients.
Career Opportunities in Complementary Medicine
The coming together of the two worlds of medicine means that there will be many excellent career opportunities in complementary medicine in the years ahead. Healthcare professionals such as nurses, doctors, pharmacists, paramedics, nurse practitioners and others who are willing to get an education in non-conventional medicine will have more job opportunities.
Non-traditional healers who are willing to open their minds and school themselves in conventional medicine will also find many more employment opportunities. For example a physicians’ assistant with a knowledge of acupuncture or therapeutic touch will be more likely to find a job than one who isn’t it.