Orthodox Medicine is provider-dominated with a narrow range of choice; by contrast, Alternative Medicine is a marketplace offering a vast and growing range of choices. But the difference between Alternative and Orthodox Medicine is clear enough;Orthodox Medicine is based upon the scientific study of disease processes (or is working towards this goal), while Alternative medical systems have non-scientific approaches based on spiritual, mystical, or otherwise intuitive insights. But much Orthodox Medicine is not evidence based either.
Orthodox Medicine seeks to fix or repair, and not to support. Orthodox medical practitioners do an invaluable job within their area of expertise, as do holistic practitioners. Orthodox Medicine is well organized, unbelievably well funded, and has total control over the news media due to the massive amounts of advertising dollars spent by the pharmaceutical industry AKA "Big Pharma".
Orthodox Medicine is provider-dominated with a narrow range of choices; by contrast, Alternative Medicine is a marketplace offering a vast and growing range of choices. Orthodox Medicine resembles a highly restricted but nutritionally-balanced diet; Alternative therapies are like an endless pick-and-mix banquet from which the consumer selects what they fancy, taste it, then decide whether to eat more or try something else. Orthodox Medicine has evolved from its founding principles into a model that is today, based on disease care. Orthodox Medicine treats the body (person) in isolated parts and believes it has the power and knowledge to fix an innate (natural) system by interfering in its normal homeostasis (whole body balance) using powerful man-made chemicals. Orthodox Medicine has never been a model about health.
Alternative Medicine, on the other hand, is very poorly organized, equally poorly funded, disjointed, and severely persecuted by Orthodox Medicine. Alternative practitioners may learn homeopathy, herbalism, kinesiology, electrodiagnosis, chiropractics, osteopathy, aromatherapy, reflexology, body works, iridology, cymatics, gem therapy, electro-magnettherapy, colour therapy, nutritional therapy, naturopathy, acupuncture, stress release,counselling etc. Alternative Medicine fits very well with some of the dominant attributes of modern society because it is characterized by continual generation of choice and depends upon the mass media for dissemination of information.
Since the goal of Orthodox Medicine is simply to remove symptoms of disease rather than attain a condition of optimum health, the elimination of symptoms becomes an end in itself rather than a means of identifying and correcting the underlying cause of disease. The direction in which Orthodox Medicine is progressing is abundantly clear. Firstly,if Orthodox Medicine is to begin to accept responsibility for treatment of lifestyle diseases then it must cease its interventionist approach and utilise the traditional caring and supportive approach of holistic medicine.
While Orthodox Medicine is clearly superior to holistic medicine for the treatment of serious trauma and acute or life threatening diseases, holistic medicine, with its fundamentally supportive nature and its ability to embrace the importance of nutrition, is much more effective when it comes to promoting healing and preventing further illness in the future. It is in this area particularly where accurate diagnosis and a high level of co-operation between Alternative Medicine and Orthodox medicine is highly desirable.