Glossary Building #5

With the growing price of pharmaceuticals, doctors visiting and medical procedures, in combination with the rise of chronic disease, many Americans have turned towards alternative forms of medicine. In fact, 40% of Americans use some type of alternative medicine.

To understand what alternative medicine, we need to define Western Medicine. Western Medicine is the main style of treatment used in the United States. A disease is fought using drugs, surgery, and radiation. This form of medicine has heavy military influences and looks at disease as an invader and something that must be defeated.

Alternative Medicine is health treatment not typically used by Western Medicine. Many forms of medicine fall under this blanket term. For example, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a style of traditional medicine used for over 2,500 years in China. This practice utilizes herbal medicine, acupuncture and tai chi to help treat/prevent health problems. TCM looks at disease differently than Western Medicine. Bad health in TCM is thought of as being out of balance and treatment focuses on restoring the natural processes of the body to their original balanced state. TCM is typically good for treating chronic conditions and addressing poor lifestyle choices.

Western Medicine: The main style of medicine used in the United States. It heavily focuses on biology and physiology. Treatments involve drugs, surgery, and radiation.

Alternative Medicine: A blanket term used for forms of medicine that do not fall under Western Medicine.

Traditional Chinese Medicine: A style of traditional medicine born in China. It focuses heavily on restoring natural processes and healthy lifestyles. Treatments include herbs, acupuncture and tai chi.

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