In order to start a conversation about alternative medicine, it is necessary to clarify the terminology – what are alternative therapies, methods of diagnosis and treatment are used in it, what place it occupies in medical science.
The alternative is the need to select from two(or more) possible solutions (the dictionary of Russian of S. I. Ozhegova).
Either choice is fraught with doubts, difficulties or pleasant expectations. The latter is rarely the lot of doctors who, with all the optimism is ready for extreme manifestations and disease outcomes. The choice of treatment can be an important professional, ethical, volitional, or step, especially in addressing issues at the intersection of medical specialties, there is an alternative solution. In our life most often it is, if we want to see her. However, adopt an alternative solution is not easy, as generations of predecessors have formed stereotypes, denoting them by the canons of science and the profession. At the same time, these canons of conventional and not so durable in the scale of human civilizations. They often change even within one generation of doctors and again after some time. Examples are the evolution of the philosophy of medicine, approaches to health maintenance, treatment and many others.
Medicine originated as a means of self – help and mutual aid, later to become the lot of able and successful in their work people – healers, priests, shamans, etc. over the centuries and millennia, before the clans were formed professional healers who transmit their knowledge from father to son, from teacher to student. It took several more centuries before the formation of scientific medicine in its modern sense. Indisputable how this science of medicine? Apparently, just as much as our perception of the world corresponds to reality and how skillfully and adequately implemented the achievement of big science in medicine.
Each generation in a developing society has certain advantages over its predecessors not least because the existing information it added my knowledge and took another step forward. Thus, we can assume that the change of generations or of scientific schools every time overestimates the actual achievements of their predecessors and in each case considers their new scientific views of the world. In modern medicine we look through the eyes of witnesses, but even so, the subjective perception of events see the vulnerability of many of its provisions. Of course, time will confirm or reject our self-esteem and the emerging trends in the development of medicine, but it will happen later. Retrospective assessment of events, though it loses its sharpness can actually summarize a story that has value, and very instructive.
So, let’s take a look at the current world and modern medicine with an element of friendly criticism. Modern medical field began in the XVIII-XIX centuries and finally formed in the first half of our century, and then changed mostly quantitative criteria at a constant basis. We can distinguish several specific signs of modern official medicine – specialization, well developed pharmacotherapy, surgery high achievements, the emergence of new fields of study and practice.
Specialization has allowed us to delve into the issues, and to achieve a more intensive development of separate sections of the profession. But at the same time, it has divided the doctors into separate groups and has greatly complicated the life of patients who have to go through a large range of professionals, often speak little capacity to the system analysis. Unbeknownst to us, the preparation was again needed by the society and indispensable for real life more than the narrow range of his professional activities.
The dominance of the principles of pharmacological correction stimulated the emergence of many thousands of medicines. Competitive is the race for leadership in the synthesis of new drugs with the ability to influence all levels of the organization – from subcellular structures to the regulation of body functions in General. Modern competent doctor that matches international standards professional requirements is both a pharmacologist. Merits of pharmacotherapy to humanity is undeniable, it is possible to get rid of many diseases and epidemics, prolong the lives of millions of people. But in parallel there was another destructive process manifested allergization of the population, the emergence of drug-diseases, antibiotic-resistant strains that can cause severe hospital infections. These circumstances make you think and look for some extraordinary ways to solve the issue.
The third features can be attributed the great achievements of surgery, which, passing through several difficult periods, rose to the rank of leader of the medicine and has allowed to intervene with the help of optical equipment with virtually no operation to transplant the donor and artificial organs with full replacement of lost functions. While surgery remains heterogeneous, retaining many of the national traditions. And still surgery along with the pharmacology remained helpless in the treatment of many diseases, including most chronic diseases. To some extent this circumstance can be regarded as a crisis or an impasse in the development of modern official medicine. One of the analysts and critics of the medicine of the XX century A. S. Zalmanov – a man with a broad Outlook and an independent mind, in the middle of the century offered new models of organization of the living world and the background of the beginning of specialization in medicine has made major interdisciplinary generalizations. His critique of “scientistic self-righteousness, pharmacological Orgy and tehnizatsii” activities of a doctor has caused anger and rejection on the part of official medicine. However, the internal problems of the medicine (when external well-being) had already traced, has been its destructive tendencies: even experienced doctors started to lose faith in their capabilities, and patients, expressing their discontent, are increasingly looking for healers beyond the “certified” medicine.
Gradually formed a professional and a social layer alternative medicine practitioners. Using the term “alternative medicine”, it is necessary to determine its essence. Why consider the alternative? It is the opposite of established pharmacotherapy. Equally it can be defined as “complementary” medicine. This term, according to many authors, most accurately reflects the essence of the question and expresses the possibility of symbiosis of different directions in the treatment of patients.
In parallel, alternative medicine represent other terms: “traditional”, “natural”, “unorthodox” medicine [Finder S., 1984]. Each of these terms is justified. Since the introduction of alternative techniques started a long time ago, many of them in folk medicine were used for centuries, we can call this medicine “traditional” (by combining this term herbal medicine, chiropractic and fasting-diet therapy) or “complementary” medicine (massage, enterosorption, acupuncture, mind-body therapy) as well as “unorthodox” medicine (hypnotherapy, homeopathy) or “in vitro correction” (efferent methods of treatment, quantaray). Many domestic authors give them more preference than the term “alternative medicine”.
One can argue about the legitimacy of these definitions, because each of these terms is conditional and its essence reflects only the content you invest in it. In table. 1 shows the most known methods used in European and Asian countries. They were formed in different epochs, but, as a rule, preceded the advent of conventional medicine.