2. Alternative medicine is the name given to a collection of systems and methods intended to cure people's ailments without the use of surgery and drugs. These methods include the taking of synthetic vitamins, minerals and enzymes; acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, herbs and herbal remedies, chelation and so on.
The theoretical basis of homeopathy is that diseases are curable by those drugs which produce effects on the body similar to the symptoms caused by the disease. The effect of the drug is increased by giving them in minute doses. Many traditional systems of medicine that are pre-scientific are also holistic, such as the four humours, yin-yang, and various schools of the mind over matter persuasion. Holistic medicine is also practised whenever there is universal treatment of the body by electricity, magnetism, immersion in still or agitated water, immersion in mud, hypnosis, colours, music, yoga, massage, herbs, herbal packs and compresses, dietary regimes, copper bracelets and metallic talismans, and astrological charms or witchcraft.
Integrated systems of alternative medicine include: Anthrosoposophical Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, Chiropractic Medicine, Healing Systems of Central and South America, Homeopathy, Kampo and Traditional Japanese Medicine, Native American Medicine, Naturopathy, Nursing, Osteopathy, Tibetan Medicine, Tribal African Healing, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and various other indigenous medical systems.
Methods employed by alternative and complementary medical practitioners include: Art Therapy, Behavioural Kinesiology, Bioelectromagnetic Treatment, Bioenergetics and Orgonomic Medicine, Biofeedback, EDTA Chelation Therapy, Hypnotherapy, Imagery, Light Therapy, Magnetic Therapy, Massage, Medical Acupuncture, Meditation and Mindfulness, Megavitamin and Orthomolecular Therapy, Music Therapy, Phytomedicine, Qi Gong, Radonics, Reiki, Relaxation, Shamanistic Practices, Sound Healing, Therapeutic Touch, Transendental Meditation, Yoga, and a variety of other Body Work approaches.
In wealthy countries, growing numbers of patients rely on alternative medicine for preventive or palliative care. In 2001: in France, 75% of the population has used complementary medicine at least once; in Germany, 77% of pain clinics provide acupuncture; and in the United Kingdom, expenditure on complementary or alternative medicine stands at US$ 2,300 million per year (2001), more than double that of the whole of western Europe 20 years previously. The global market for traditional therapies stands at US$ 60 billion a year and is steadily growing.
2. In 1993, it was reported that Americans were spending more on complementary approaches to health than on hospitialization, while Australians were spending more on alternative medicines than on pharmaceuticals.
3. Alternative medicine playa a valuable part in future treatment of disease simply because many people lack the intelligence and willpower to observe strict lifestyle habits, even when chronically ill.
2. Often such "alternative" procedures are claimed to be natural remedies and indeed are less unnatural than removing organs by surgery or poisoning them with drugs. In most cases "alternative medicine" is helpful to sick people to some extent because their pain is relieved and perhaps the symptoms of disease are diminished or removed. Better results are achieved without the damaging side-effects of drugs. However, alternative medicine cannot be said to be natural because if the simple laws of nature are observed then no medicine of any kind is necessary. The body is self-healing.