It’s an expectation of consistency — medicine is meant to be a practice without flaw, an easy answer to all questions. Science is to be definitive. Healing is to be understood. There can be no doubt, only certainty. And the public fears what it doesn’t recognize, is wary of anything… new.
Alternative medicine is therefore a source of much contention — if only because its name doesn’t inspire faith.
The notion of unconventional healing is one that sparks debate: the majority assume it to be unwise, think that it will lead to poor decisions and poorer results. It cannot be proven and is therefore unworthy of their time. They dismiss it.
Such a dismissal can be traced back to a name, however. Alternative medicine suggests less than reputable practices. It conjures images of back-alley attempts and dirty needles, unqualified physicians. The truth is far different, however. This is a process laced in natural remedies — with an emphasis on herbalism and homeopathy. It’s meant to treat the mind as well as the body. Too often is this forgotten, however, when a title is offered.
A modern sensibility must therefore be given instead — and new names have slowly started to creep into the public consciousness: complementary medicine and integrative medicine are terms that encapsulate all of the alternative treatments without lessening those treatments. They are meant to offer patients a greater sense of trust; and they allow the focus to be placed on the procedures, not on the supposed meaning of a name.
Controversy can be replaced to better sense — and this is vital in bridging the gap between traditional care and other options.