Types of alternative medicine are often confusing. Let's talk about functional medicine, antiaging medicine, holistic medicine and complementary medicine their differences and similarities
What's In A Name?
Medical terminology is confounding to the average person, and easily misunderstood. Some of it is used by doctors FOR doctors, and much is not explained to the average person.
With that said, let's look at some of these terms (in plain English) what they are really referring to, and why these new concepts are changing the way you will manage your health in the near future.
Types of alternative medicine have actually been around for thousands of years. They are time tested and they work, however with the advent of the immensely profitable pharmaceutical industry, these methods were pushed aside by the medical establishment. However they are currently making a comeback and becoming more popular, because they actually work!
Antiaging medicine is simply the intervention of medical science using all available medical technologies to delay, stop, or in some cases reverse some aspects of the aging process. The most important effect of antiaging medicine is prevention of disease and maintenance of good health!
Complementary Alternative Medicine
This term refers to a combination of conventional medical treatments and therapies, as well as alternative medical therapies. It uses the best of both approaches, usually starting with the least invasive, least toxic treatments. If these do not work to solve the problem, then more aggressive medical therapies are tried.
This approach is sometime referred to as “CAM” for short. Treatment combinations for example might be something like drug therapy combined with acupuncture, chemotherapy supported by nutrition, or the use of biofeedback in conjunction with medication to treat mental illness.
Complementary alternative medicine includes types of alternative medicine from conventional to holistic, functional, and antiaging medicine, in attempting to restore health to the patient.
Functional medicine is a term you will be hearing a lot more in the near future. In simple terms it is the attempt by a health practitioner to treat medical problems at their root cause rather than just treating the symptoms.
There are no “functional medicine doctors,” only doctors that use functional medicine as their primary approach or as part of the various medical therapies they use to treat their patients.
Functional medicine can involve using either conventional approaches or alternative ones, but tends to be focused on alternative therapies, because they are most often concerned with finding the root of health problems and fixing them. Bringing the body into balance is another component of functional medicine.
The philosophy behind functional medicine is a belief that disease results from imbalances in the body's systems, which when rebalanced brings the person back to good health.
Holistic medicine has become a household word. It is one of the most well known types of alternative medicine, and recognizes that illness has both a physical, mental, and emotional component. You treat the whole person rather than simply treat the symptoms of disease.
If a person has a heart condition they are suffering from you can't just treat the heart with drugs or surgery. You need to decrease that person's stress improve their diet, and also address things in their life like relationships and environment.
Part of the reasons why conventional medicine is reluctant to embrace holistic medicine is that medical treatment is based upon which treatment the doctor can bill your insurance company for, and also what your insurance is willing to cover.
They also fear being pushed aside by new trends and unconventional approaches to health which they don't understand and were not educated to provide. It is in part fear of being made irrelevant that causes them to be hostile to holistic medicine.
The Winds of Change
If all of the above forms of medical treatment sound alike, it's because they are. They share a common philosophy which is that problems should be treated at their root cause, with a combination of therapies that are as safe, natural, and effective as possible.
Also, all of these forms of medicine can be components of an antiaging medicine approach. The emphasis in antiaging being the prevention of disease!
Types of alternative medicine all share this characteristic because it makes logical sense, is effective, and also prevents disease as well as alleviating it.
The bottom line is that medicine and health care is changing. Politicians insist of trying to legislate solutions to what they call our health care crisis, but these efforts will only make the problems worse.
What IS happening is that the way doctors treat their patients is evolving out of necessity because many more physicians realize the old approaches of drugs and surgery as the answer to every medical problem no longer appropriate.
Types of alternative medicine will eventually become the standard as we move toward a more cost effective, enlightened, and patient centered health care system.