Comparing “Natural Health” And “Alternative Medicine”


Comparing “Natural Health” And “Alternative Medicine”

Do “natural health” and “alternative medicine” mean the same thing? They may, or they may not. This article, which I first wrote and published on another website back in 2008, compares the two terms.

Natural Health and Alternative Medicine, technically, have very different meanings

I have come to realize that Natural Health and Alternative Medicine are two terms which are often used to mean the same thing. Do they?

Now, let’s see. If you have a headache and you go to a medical doctor, and he prescribes aspirin to you, that would be “conventional medicine”, “mainstream medicine”, “allopathic medicine”, “orthodox medicine”, “modern medicine”, or just simply “medicine”.

But if you chose to go to a naturopathic doctor or a herbalist, who then gives you a concoction of herbs to be brewed and taken as a tea daily, then, in today’s context, you would have chosen not to go the route of conventional medicine, but instead chose to seek the use of “alternative medicine” through an alternative practitioner.

On Wikipedia, on the page on “natural health”, the following is stated:
In alternative medicine, natural health is an eclectic self-care system of natural therapies concerned with building and restoring health and wellness via prevention and healthy lifestyles. Natural health includes diet, exercise, naturopathy, herbalism, homeopathy, massage therapy, relaxation techniques (e.g. Yoga, Tai Chi), acupuncture, sauna, aromatherapy, ayurveda medicine, and Kneipp therapy.

On the other hand, on the page on “alternative medicine”, the following is stated:
Alternative medicine includes practices that differ from conventional medicine. A typical definition is “every available approach to healing that does not fall within the realm of conventional medicine”. Commonly cited examples are homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, and herbal medicine.

Going by Wikipedia’s definitions, you would have utilised both Natural Health and Alternative Medicine in choosing to seek a herbal remedy. So that seems to imply they are the same thing.

In reality, the whole point to me is that Natural Health is classed as an “alternative” simply because allopathic medicine is the authority today, and it thus falls into the category of “conventional”.

Once Natural Health and Healing is absorbed into mainstream medical practice, or possibilty even replaces medicine as we know today, then Natural Health would be “orthodox” or “conventional”; Alternative Medicine and Natural Health would then mean very different things.

Who knows, one day, aspirins may become part of Alternative Medicine!

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