Hey Butterfly Effect, 

For my first round of research this cycle, I will be introducing the concept of alternative medicine and demonstrating its purpose and derivatives. Outlining the methods of treatments and controversies that surround this practice will be the main purpose of this post, as well as indicating the various approaches and procedures performed in the different types of alternative medicine. 


Alternative medicine differs from conventional medicine due to its lack of standardized treatments that are scientifically proven and researched to be effective and reliable, as well as the fact that it is less accepted and employed on a global scale (1). Unlike complementary medicine and complementary treatments, which are used to the accompaniment of conventional treatments, alternative medicine substitutes its standard counterpart (2).

There are numerous different areas of alternative medicine that can be beneficial to various areas of the body as well as the connection with the mind. Traditionally, acupuncture, Ayurveda, homeopathy, and naturopathy are all treatments that have been practiced for centuries everywhere around the world, and are widely accepted as effective (3). Acupuncture is a procedure which involves the insertion of thin needles into certain areas of your body, allowing energy to flow and therefore heal these muscles/bones and relieves either chronic or acute pain (4). Ayurveda, a treatment derived from India, expresses the importance of connection between mind and body. This includes methods such as meditation, breathing, a balanced diet, exercise, etc to maintain well-being in both your physical and mental state (5). Homeopathy is a type of medicine based off of the belief that the body can heal itself, without the need for surgery or other procedures utilized in standard medicine. Homeopathic health practitioners are strong believers that a small dosage of a material or irritant that is triggering symptoms injected into your body will aid the process of your own healing and therefore combatting this disease (6). Lastly, naturopathy builds on the same theories as homeopathy; it holds beliefs that the body has the capacity to heal its own self without any additional aid. It utilizes mainly nutritional supplements and herbal medications, as well as provide counselling in both nutrition and lifestyle in order to maintain overall health (7). Additionally, other branches of alternative medicine have recently proven to be effective and widely accepted. These include treatments in areas of chiropractic medicine, osteopathic medicine, massage therapy, electromagnetic therapy, yoga, and meditation (3).

Image result for alternative medicine

Although the purpose of alternative medicine is to heal the body and eliminate disease and pain, it provides many more proven benefits that also contribute to the healing process. Stress reduction is one of the most prevalent benefits. Both alternative and complementary treatments incorporate methods of relaxation and/or meditation, which promotes a state of stress-free and calm well-being. This, in turn, allows your body to concentrate its energy on healing the disease at hand instead of focusing on handling the stress or anxiety that you are dealing with. In addition, medicine, healing drugs, and antibiotics are all available thanks to specific branches of alternative medicine, which have been proven to boost the immune system and fight off bacteria or other pathogenic organisms that attack the body. These methods are both safe and natural, hence the popular demand and research which supports its efficacy. Cancer is a disease that is most commonly known to be considered for either complementary or alternative therapy. The interest originates from those who look for a cure but are not convinced by the treatments of chemotherapy amongst others. Normally, complementary therapy involves psychological therapy, meditation, yoga, and more mind-targeted methods. However, alternative therapies utilizing the traditional practices as well as the homeopathy and naturopathy are also of interest. In all, there have been multiple cases where alternative medicine has been proven to be effective and even a valid substitute to traditional practices (8). However, the results and methods are extremely controversial.

Image result for cancer alternative medicine

However, there are multiple controversies present in almost all different practices of alternative medicine. Here are a couple that I found to be the most interesting:

1. Studies, compared to those that have been conducted for conventional medicine, are very limited for alternative medicine. There has not been enough research conducted in order to completely prove that it is a valid alternative to traditional practices, which can be dangerous to patients deciding on methods of treatment as alternative medicine is not as reliable of a practice.

2. Homeopathic drugs, naturopathic drugs, herbal medicines, and other types of alternative medicines may be non-toxic and natural, however most contain a variety of added ingredients that may cause undesirable or even harmful side-effects. Symptoms may arise from these ingredients depending on the patient, therefore it is a difficult decision to make as some clinical and medicinal drugs offered in conventional medicine may also have toxic effects on the body.

3. Conventional therapy and treatments often can be very expensive, while alternative medicine is much less costly in most aspects. However, many studies have proven that replacing a procedure or a needed surgery with any sort of alternative medicine can be detrimental to the healing process.

4.There have been numerous studies that prove that deciding on alternative medicine instead of its traditional counterpart has concluded to be ineffective and may cause serious effects on your body which can be avoided by taking the conventional route. However, there also have been cases where surgeries or other invasive procedures were not necessary, and the patient may have been put at risk where they could have decided on alternative therapy which could have proven to be safer and more effective. (9)

Thank you so much for taking the time to read over my first research round! Again, I'm so happy to be back and to be able to study my areas of interest once more and to have the opportunity to share my findings with all of you. In my next research round, I will look into conventional medicine (traditional practices of Western medicine, what is commonly used and currently widely accepted) including the recent advances made, pertinent advancements made throughout history, the different practices, treatment methods and examples, as well as controversies. Again, thank you so much for reading. Any and all feedback is welcomed and greatly appreciated!












Original Post

Hi Juliana,

Great research! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post, and it was very interesting to learn more about alternative medicine and the controversies that surround it, as well as conventional medicine. In my opinion, I think that if it has been determined that not enough research has been done on alternative medicine, then people should conduct more research on it in order to prove just how effective/ineffective it is. That way, for people who are using alternative medicine or considering using alternative medicine, they will be able to make a more educated decision on whether or not they should, as there would be more scientific evidence to support their decision, rather than simply making a decision based on their beliefs.

Here are some websites you might find useful for your next round of research:




Good luck!

Hey Juliana!

I really enjoyed reading your research! Personally, I would say acupuncture is the only alternative medicine I'm truly familiar with, so it was very enlightening to read about all the other options when it comes to medicine. I found it interesting how cancer is usually considered for complementary or alternative medicine as I view cancer as a very aggressive illness whilst I consider most alternative medicines to be able to cure "minor" things like headaches, stress, etc. I'm not sure if this is a possible stigma or stems from my own personal ignorance. Nevertheless, it may be interesting to look into this or how successful alternative medicines are for different illnesses or problems.

Here are some sources for your next round:




Good luck!

Hi Juliana,,,

I am so much interested in alternative medicine actually I may ask,do  alternative medicine really work?May be yes in some instances but in other instances it works less well than conventional medicines. They show, I think, that some alternative therapies do indeed work. And yet, they have not become part of mainstream medicine. ... So yes, some alternative medicines do work in the sense that they are better. 

Good luck in your next research!

Hey Juliana!

That was a really great research round.  It was very well worded, organized and well supported.  This is a really cool topic.  My aunt and uncle believe deeply in alternative medicine and are inventors.  They mainly work on inventions to help ones health.  Last time i visited them they were working on a computer program that that healed you through holding on to two metal bars and the different electronic waved (that did not hurt) were supposed to heal you.  They actually traveled and sold quite a few in different places.  I wish they had a website because that might have been an interesting thing to look into.  Another thing they believe in is medical marijuana, more specifically the THC oil.  I am not sure if this falls under your research as a type of alternative medicine, but if it does i think it would be really interesting to look into.    hope this might inspire you to research something you hadn't thought of before!

Here are a few sites to get you started:



Good luck with your research!

Hi Juliana!

Your research is so lovely and well organized and it's filled with so much information yet it's definitely not a boring read! Growing up with on my moms side it was very medical based (she worked in the medical field) and my family is (for the most part) against these natural ways but I myself aren't so I really enjoyed learning about this because I've never really got the chance before.Something that might be interesting to look into is if alternative medicine is covered by health insurance then why or why not? and maybe some countries or companies that do cover it. Thank you! I'm excited to learn more about this.



Hello Juliana!

Great start! A very informative introduction to medical care. My family values alternative  medical care and believes in the prevention of disease and promotion of health but also recognizes the value of conventional medical care.  My father has Lupus, an autoimmune disease, and he uses both alternative medicine and conventional. He appreciated having conventional medicine and specialist to care for him, especially in an emergency situation for example when he needed open heart surgery that saved his life.  He also appreciates a number of different types of alternative medical care that has improved the quality of life. He has found that it has reduced inflammation, pain as well as reduce the side effects of conventional medication. Exploring the benefits of both and how they can be used together is another way to look into this topic  Looking forward to learning more and seeing further research. Here are two websites that look at integrative health care that maybe helpful.



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