Alternative Medicine: Scam or true way to treat pain?

Acupuncture in America

Something that we’ve spoken about very much over this semester was what actually falls under the umbrella of “access to medicine”.  We’ve spoken about big pharmaceutical companies and TRIPS and about the unfair pricing of medicine, but this article brings up how valuable alternative treatment methods could be in fighting illness.  I do believe that in some instances you do need a “Western” approach to fighting an illness; it’s been proven over and over that antibiotics are an effect way to kill certain kinds of pathogenic bacteria that cause us to get sick.  But there is a grey area of medicine (especially in the realm of pain management) that has room for a more open interpretation.  Especially going into the field of health of physical therapy, I am very open to the idea of treatment that looks at the body as a whole instead of just the immediate problem.  As a PT, many times someone might have pain in their feet from say, plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation of the connective tissue on the bottom of someone’s feet.  Although you must treat that immediate pain, a good PT will also explore what else is going on in your body to produce such pain; hip weakness or sometimes tight calves could be the culprit.  The point is, in the long run what will alleviate this person’s pain?  Homeopathic medicine often does this as well; how can the body be improved beyond what its condition was prior to the illness being treated.  Many times alternative medicine comes under fire as being “voodoo” because there are no FDA regulations and because, well, honestly people are just very skeptical of home remedies and something that isn’t made in a lab.  But the truth of the matter is that more and more people are realizing their health is a reflection of their body’s imbalances, and often you don’t need very much to push yourself back into alignment.  One of the bigger picture problems that is on the horizon is because of the skeptics, many times insurance companies will refuse to pay for homeopathic treatment (such as acupuncture), so people are very often left to pay out of pocket.  Isn’t it my right to be able to chose my own treatment?

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