An alternative approach to healthcare
Alternative medicine has a huge market in the UK and beyond. Alternative medicines or treatments are those that are not the usual medical methods or drugs and as such may not always have any scientific base to say that they work. They include chiropractic treatments, homeopathy and herbal medicines.
There is an element of a placebo effect with alternative medicines, meaning that they may work as they give the patient the mental stimulus to believe that they are feeling better or that their symptoms are improving / disappearing. Those that practice this form of medicine or use it, say that whilst this may be a factor, it does not make the alternative way of medicine in any way invalid.
However, there are concerns from those that do not follow an alternative approach to medicine that patients are using it in place of usual medical treatment. Without scientific proof of the effectiveness of alternative medicine this could be detrimental to patient health. When alternative medicine is used in conjunction with usual medical treatment most doctors accept its place.
It is interesting what motivates people to rely on a method that is not proven to work in place of conventional medicine when they are ill or experiencing discomfort. There have been studies into the psychology and sociology surrounding this and some theories have been reached:
- That there is a general lack of scientific literacy available to the public to support conventional medicine.
- Marketing of alternative medicine has led to a popularity increase.
- There is a social trend away from intellectual and scientific methods and medication towards the 'New Age' approach.
- That there is increasing distrust of doctors and conventional public bodies as a whole.
- That alternative medications may 'work' due to a placebo effect or shear 'will to make them work' experienced by the user.