The Dialogue With Alternative Medicine Essay Research

The Dialogue With Alternative Medicine Essay, Research Paper

Conventional medicine has little to learn from alternative medicine

Suppose you catch a sudden flu after a frantic night out, what would

be your first treatment? Do you rush to the pharmacist nearby or your

doctor? Or do you have a hot bath and relax sipping some herbal tea and

patiently wait until your body condition comes to normal believing in your

natural healing power of your body system? Whatever you have in your mind,

alternative medicine is not such an alien method as some might reckon.

As a matter of fact, it is very deeply involved in our everyday life. It

varies from simple treatments such as aromatherapy to rather complicated

(and somehow mystic!) ones like accupuncture and hypnotherapy. It has such

a wide coverage that any method with no reference to institutionalized

medical knowledge might well be called alternative medicine. Alternative

medicine has indeed far longer history than conventional one that had

sprung from the former.

One of their differences is in their respective philosophy and

methodology. Conventional medicine is mainly based on analytic and

positivistic approach toward human body. Medical doctors regard a human

body as a mechanism regulated by scientific law. Human body is supposed to

be measured and controlled (without exception, in principle) by scientific

method and treatment just like any other material. The present medical

institution is sustained by the strong belief in this positivistic

approach and philosophical attitude of mind-body dualism. It develops

itself by way of chemical and physical experiment and anatomy: it demands

a strong evidence and proof. Evidence, in theory, is the sole criterion

to tell the science (therefore conventional medicine) from non-science.

On the other hand, alternative medicine shows totally different approach

towards human body (and world itself, sometimes). Our body is regarded as

a holistic organism with a strong (or almost inseparable) connection to

our mind. Physical disorders are mostly caused by the imbalance involving

the whole person. To cure means to regain our balance as a whole person

not only physically but also mentally. Sometimes alternative medicine

practitioners?? approach is grounded on functionalism- functional effects

is enough to justify the value of any specific treatment. In this sense

it is also rather pragmatic than positivistic.

In spite of this seemingly vast gap between the two, increasing number of

doctors and practitioners are on the move to communicate and learn from

each other. In particular, more and more conventional doctors are willing

to adopt alternative way for the treatment specifically stress-related

diseases such as insomnia, indigestion and muscle pains etc. For instance,

hypnotherapy has somehow proven itself as an effective way to eradicate

heavy smoking habit. Also acupressure and acupuncuture are widely being

recognized and accepted as practical and efficient treatment for aches

and pains.

Aside from some fundamental positivists, most doctors don??t hesitate to

admit the possibility of alternative cure for any specific disease. Unless

they take the other as an rival for the same market and attack and deny

each other purely out of their business interest, it seems there are

more gain than loss in their co-operation.


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