Alternative Treatment Caution

I recently read an article concerning “alternative medicine” in a physicians magazine. In the article, alternative medicine was described as treatment of health problems without the use of medication. The article went on to explain that in a survey that was done, one out of three people had sought alternative medicine within the last year for one or more health concerns. This article encouraged medical physicians to be open to alternative ways of treatment. Overall this was a positive article, however the author was probably a little more accepting to some forms of alternative health care than this author would be.

As a Chiropractic -Orthopedic Physician, often times our profession has been classified as an alternative form of care, since we rehabilitate individuals without the use of medication or surgery. Chiropractic rehabilitation has made many strides throughout the years, and has gained favor in many circles. Clinical trials, and research validates chiropractic care as a valid form of treatment.

There are other forms of “alternative care” that are less valid and a person may want to ask the following questions to see where their “comfort level” is before considering the mode of treatment.

1. What are the origins? When I was in Chiropractic school, we had an elective course in acupuncture. In this class, there were various symbolism’s and references that I was uncomfortable with. One day, before class began, I asked the instructor where “meridians” came from. Meridians are invisible pathways that are used in choosing where to insert the acupuncture needles. The instructor related that “these came from Chinese torture; they used to cut off body parts of individuals, and see what parts went numb”. Though this may be a valid form of treatment in some cases, after learning of this, my “comfort level” was not very high and I decided to drop this elective.

2. Does the alternative form of treatment hold up to current research, or is it biased literature from a company or a society.

3. Is there any danger / side effects (physical, psychological or spiritual) attached to it?

4. Will this therapy displace a more valid form of treatment or be used in conjunction other treatment(s)?

5. Is the alternative form of therapy dealing in the physical realm, or is this dealing in the psychological or spiritual realm; and could this be an occultic practice.

These are a few questions a person should ask themselves when considering an alternative form of treatment.