Conventional medicine is used by the majority of people in this country. However, some people completely shun conventional medicine (i.e., doctors, hospitals, pills of any kind, etc.) in favor of holistic healing and natural medicine. Others make an attempt to combine the two.
I lean more toward the third option of combining the two. My personal choice is that conventional medicine and alternative medicine both have their place, and both have benefits and drawbacks. That’s the position I choose for myself.
I do personally know some people who shun modern medicine, usually from a sense of great distrust. The recent upheavals in the economy and health care industry likely have not helped matters at all. And that’s fine for them to make that choice. If they don’t want to see a doctor, I certainly will not force them or condemn them for the choice. I may not agree, but it’s not my life, so I don’t have to. However, I do take issue with those people who choose to not see a doctor for themselves but make the same choice for children who cannot make the choice for themselves or for elders who are old enough to make the choice, but may not be in a position to get themselves to the doctor without aid.
There is something to be said for not using modern medicine. Modern medicine largely seems to consist of drugs and overmedication, which causes problems when it comes to viruses, for example. There is also a danger with prescription medicine abuse. That being said, herbs used for medicinal purposes can sometimes pose similar problems in that they can be used improperly, overused, and even abused, though that last is more difficult to do with herbs.
I understand the desire to not want to mess with modern medicine and operate only from alternative/complementary medicines. A relative of mine does that. She never goes to a doctor; doesn’t trust them. And I have used alternative medicine options such as chiropractors, hypnotism, energy and color therapy, etc.
For me, the alternative-only approach doesn’t work. It’s not something I would recommend. I have migraines, for one, and I have yet to find an approach that takes care of them completely. Usually I have to combine solutions. In addition, birth control is a necessity for me in order to get through a cycle without ripping my uterus from my body. Probably more information than you wanted to know–sorry–but it’s the truth, and it’s the biggest example I can think of for why modern medicine is required in my life.
As for those people who never go near complementary medicine, they could be missing out on something beneficial. What falls under complementary medicine? In many states, massage, acupuncture, chiropractors, reiki, herbal treatment and supplements, Eastern treatments and energy therapies, color therapy, hypnotism, and more fall under the label “alternative or complementary medicine.” Massage can be great to help you relax, if you don’t mind strangers touching you (I mind, so massage doesn’t work that great for me). Reiki and herbal treatments can sometimes be beneficial, depending on what you’re using them for. But going the no-alternatives approach, those people could be ignoring possible beneficial therapies that can complement the conventional approach.
I also have relatives who would never be caught dead at an acupuncturist or chiropractor.
So that’s just my brief expression of opinion on the matter. I can see both sides of the arguments for or against modern and complementary medicines. When people ask me for advice, I usually tell them to go to a doctor first and go to alternative medicines second, especially if it’s an emergency or a life-or-death situation.
A short description of alternative medicine from the NIH: here.