What is mainstream medicine? Mainstream medicine is the traditional system of health care in most countries. It is based on scientific knowledge and training, ethical standards that place the patient’s interests ahead of the physician’s interest, and an organized structure for providing medical services delivered by licensed physicians or allied health care professionals. In most countries, mainstream medicine is the basis for delivering primary health care.
It includes allopathic medicine (whose practitioners use pharmaceutical drugs to treat or cure diseases), osteopathic medicine (whose practitioners use manipulative physical methods, such as manipulations of the spine, to treat or cure diseases), naturopathic medicine (whose practitioners rely on using natural therapies to treat or cure diseases, including herbal remedies and manipulation), chiropractic medicine (whose practitioners use spinal manipulation to treat or cure diseases), and traditional Chinese medicine.
Mainstream medicine is the opposite of alternative medicine, which is any form of medicine that is put forth as effective, safe, and/or effective, but which has not been scientifically verified as such. Mainstream medicine also contrasts with experimental medicine.
The fundamental problem with alternative medicine is that it hasn’t been tested scientifically. There are two categories of alternative therapies: those that have been tested scientifically, and proven ineffective, and those for which no scientific testing has been done. The latter are pseudoscientific.
The fundamental problem with mainstream medicine is that the majority of treatments currently in use have not been tested scientifically either. Mainstream medicine has, however, undergone much testing, generally in the form of clinical trials. So, while mainstream medicine does have a couple of fundamental problems, it is the best form of health care available because its treatments have been verified as effective to some degree, even if that degree is not 100%.
One of the common criticisms mainstream medicine faces is that it only treats symptoms and does not prevent disease. This is incorrect. It is true that many mainstream treatments involve suppressing symptoms with pharmaceutical drugs, but there are also several effective preventative measures available: vaccinations, condoms, regular screening tests, and so on. It is these measures that mainstream medicine can rightly be praised for. However, what is not so praiseworthy is the fact that mainstream medicine does not address the root cause of most diseases.
There has been a growing trend in the U.S. to turn to holistic, natural, and alternative treatments for wellness and disease prevention. This is because mainstream medicine does not address the root cause of most diseases and often treats the symptoms. A recent study by the Mayo Clinic shows that conventional medical treatment can actually create more serious illnesses later on. This is because their conventional medical treatment does not take into account the whole person but rather focuses on specific parts of them such as hormones or genes.
The mainstream medical approach to treating diseases is focused on managing symptoms, but it does not address the root cause of most diseases. When people are sick or hurt they go to the doctor and leave with a prescription for drugs, surgery, or some other treatment which usually only alleviates their symptoms, rather than curing it. This goes against the Hippocratic Oath which states that doctors should “do no harm” and that medicine should act for the benefit of the patient.
Mainstream medicine has its roots in traditional western (or allopathic) medicine as is practiced by such physicians as those who are members of the American Medical Association. Mainstream medicine encompasses every general practice doctor, specialist, and dentist you might visit. Those who work in hospitals, mental health facilities, and other organized health care settings also work within the mainstream medical system. It is important to note that there can be many different types of doctors and scientists working together to help people become well or recover from disease; this includes MDs (Doctor of Medicine), DOs (Doctor of Osteopathy), NDs (Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine) and PhDs (scientists with advanced knowledge gained through years of research).
Scientific means based on knowledge gained from the scientific method, which is a system for gathering information about the natural world based on empirical and measurable evidence. The basic steps of this process include observation, hypothesis formation, testing, and analysis of data. Many people question whether mainstream medicine works or not? In fact, most traditional medical practices have been shown to be very effective in helping patients recover from disease and injury.
Mainstream medicine has helped millions of people live longer healthier lives. It has broken down old ideas that worked well in some cases but failed miserably in many others (such as bloodletting). Along with its successes, it also has its failures just like every other area of life does. One example would be the overuse of antibiotics leading to antibiotic resistance.
Many people may not know that humans are one of the best contributors to the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Overuse of antibiotics in both human and animal populations has led to a boom in antibiotic-resistant bacteria over the past 10 years, greatly reducing the efficacy of antibiotics in the fight against dangerous infections. Although people cannot avoid getting sick from time to time, it is important for them not to neglect their health by taking an antibiotic every time they feel even slightly under the weather.
What is complementary & alternative medicine (CAM)?
Complementary medicine refers to “other” treatments used with mainstream medicine, whereas alternative medicine usually has no scientific basis and is not taught at traditional medical schools. Alternative therapies come from historical traditions such as oriental or naturopathic-type practices, but they may also be unproven methods largely passed on among laypeople. These therapies are generally not funded by government sources in most industrialized nations because they are unproven and can be dangerous.
CAM is used by 10 to 15 percent of the US population, making it the most popular form of treatment used by people who do not have serious illnesses. CAM is used by three-quarters of Americans over 65 years old and two-thirds of those older than 75. The total costs for all aspects of CAM in 1990 were estimated to be $10 billion. Some critics say that no good studies exist on many CAM therapies and that government funding should not be given until there is evidence that CAM works, but supporters say this type of research would take decades and keep people from getting treatments they could benefit from now.
Most alternative medicine practices are based on the theory that putting “good” things into the body will encourage it to heal itself or fight disease more effectively. An example might be drinking extra water when ill with a fever because some believe hydration can decrease the severity of symptoms. Many CAM practitioners stress the healer-patient relationship and believe patients should be actively involved in their own healthcare decisions and care, as much as possible.
Of all alternative medical therapies, 58% are used by cancer patients; CAM is also frequently used by people with AIDS. Some reasons for this wide use include:
· The popularity of holistic medicine approaches to health and well-being.
· Lack of side effects compared to traditional medications (although lack of scientific evidence that these alternative therapies work).
· Cost – many alternative treatments are not covered by insurance companies and may be cheaper than conventional treatment.
· A strong interest in maintaining a positive mental attitude.
What are CAM therapies?
· Acupuncture (piercing the skin with very fine needles).
· Use of magnets.
· Homeopathy (a system used to treat illness using very small doses of natural substances that would produce symptoms similar to the disease in a healthy person).
· Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong (forms of exercise aimed at improving bodily functions; Qi Gong involves special movements and meditation).
· Visualization techniques (visualizing the body as healthy and free of disease).
· Herbal remedies (plant or mineral-based medications), vitamins, minerals & special diets.
· Special diets (eliminating certain foods from the diet).
How is CAM administered?
CAM therapies are usually divided into five main categories:
· Manipulative and body-based practices including chiropractic, massage, osteopathic medicine.
· Energy therapies such as qi gong, therapeutic touch, Reiki.
· Herbal therapies including herbalism and supplements.
· Biologically based practices including homeopathy, dietary therapies, and megavitamin therapy.