Modern medicine saves lives. An unfortunate reality is that many life-saving medicines, treatments and procedures, come with negative and even deadly side effects. When the pros and cons of a treatment or medication are known, many patients still opt to do them because the possible benefits outweigh the risks. A common example of this is that few people today would opt to have a major surgery without anaesthesia even though, even with modern technology, anaesthesia can still be dangerous or even deadly. 

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) 

There are many alternatives to conventional Western medicine that do not have the harmful side effects that conventional medicines do. There are also alternative medicines and therapies that are complementary and can be used in accordance with conventional medicine Some of these can help to mitigate negative side effects of them. One of many examples of this is that acupuncture can be used for this as well as for treating many different ailments, and can even be used as a form of anaesthesia.

Miracle Drugs

Many “miracle” drugs have been overprescribed with sometimes devastating results. Penicillin was considered a miracle drug when it first came out. In subsequent years it and other antibiotics were mass produced and overprescribed. People frequently died because of infections, even from mild scrapes and cuts. After several decades of antibiotics being over prescribed and in some cases, to healthy people as well as livestock when unnecessary, this, along with other factors have led to a proliferation of antibiotic resistant bacteria and fungi- some of which cannot be cured. New strains of illnesses such as pneumonia and meningitis are surfacing. This can cause a need for longer rounds of antibiotics, new and stronger medications, longer recovery time, and other short and long term health issues. These teensy, tiny, single celled microbes that do not have brains, are unfortunately very “smart” at becoming immune to antibiotics.

Opioid painkillers were another category of “miracle” drugs when they were first introduced to consumer markets. They provided a level of relief to patients in extreme and/or chronic pain, that other oral drugs had not yet been able to provide. They are still thought of as highly effective pain relievers but they are now also recognized as highly addictive. More than 47,000 Americans died in 2017 because of opioid overdoses including those from prescription opioids, heroin, and illegally manufactured fentanyl. Approximately 1.7 million people suffered from substance abuse disorders related to opioid painkillers.

Holistic Healthcare

Holistic healthcare providers can and often do have an MD or other medical license such as that of a doctor of osteopathy (DO) or doctor of chiropractic (DC) but there are many areas of holistic health that do not require a degree. Holistic healthcare providers often focus on one or more of the following kinds of holistic healthcare:

  • Acupuncture
  • Ayurveda
  • Alexander Technique
  • Aromatherapy
  • Ayurveda
  • Biofeedback
  • Chiropractic
  • Diet & Nutrition Therapies 
  • Herbalogy
  • Homeopathy
  • Hypnosia
  • Massage Therapy
  • Meditation
  • Naturopathy
  • Nutritional Supplements and Therapies 
  • Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy (OMT)
  • Qigong and Qiging
  • Reflexology
  • Reiki
  • Spiritual Healing
  • Tai Chi
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
  • Yoga

Holistic and complementary alternative medicines can be used on their own or in conjunction with other forms of healthcare, including conventional Western medicine.