Is Using Alternative Medicine A Good Idea?

alternative medicine23A large proportion of people swear by alternative or complementary medicine. It is often seen as a ‘natural’ alternative to standard medicine that might use drugs or chemicals to help make you feel better. However, the fact is that alternative medicines are only ‘alternative’ because they are not considered to be useful by medical science. This means that they have been shown not to work in clinical trials or that their usefulness has been questioned.

Complementary and alternative medicine varies very widely, but is often not supported by scientific theory and research. From multivitamins to acupuncture, this really is a growing industry in terms of medicine. By some estimates, nearly 70 percent of us use some form of complementary or alternative medicine every year. This works out at a spending of up to $1.8 billion in Australia alone. This is very worrying when we consider that most forms of these medicines are considered to be ineffective.

National registration means that chiropractors, Chinese medicine practitioners, osteopaths and soon even naturopaths will be registered by the same federal body that oversees doctors and nurses. Universities and colleges are now running courses in these fields and government spending has increased dramatically. For example, in 2005, Medicare paid out just over $22,000 on chiropractic and osteopathic treatments, while last year this figure was at $15 million.

When people are told that chiropractors and osteopaths are registered they consider that to be a sign of progress and quality. But they are not told that the industry is entirely self-regulated, meaning that there is no impartial body to determine whether the treatments are effective or even good for your health.

Alternative medicine should be avoided, as if it was proven to be effective it would be considered standard medicine and would receive the backing of hospitals and doctors.

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