Why Alternative Medicine is Gaining Popularity

Western medicine has done a lot to cure a variety of diseases, prevent illnesses, and provide long-term treatments to those with chronic ailments. But many people are learning more about the benefits of holistic medicine and they are fully embracing this form of medicine. There are various reasons why alternative therapies are becoming more and more mainstream. From rising healthcare costs to a focus on preventing illness, a concern about the adverse side effects of pharmaceuticals and a general desire to find harmony in both mind and body, it is really no wonder that people are turning to alternative healing modalities.

Saving On Medical Costs

By knowing how to prevent illness, patients can not only improve their quality of life but also save money on healthcare costs. Quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, and eating less meat, dairy, and processed food can all help a person’s body naturally heal. Combine that with the right supplements that are taken to strengthen a person’s unique constitution and there is an increased potential to save money that would otherwise be spent on visits to the doctor, prescription medications, and various treatments. 

Consider that the average American household spent almost $5,000 per person on health care in 2018. That’s a 101% increase from the roughly $2,500 per person that Americans spent in 1984, according to an analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditures Survey by data company Clever. The biggest reason for the increase in insurance costs, which have grown by 740% since 1984. The average American paid about $3,400 for insurance alone in 2018.

Individuals who rely on employer-based insurance benefits are paying an average of $1,242 in out-of-pocket costs, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s annual employer benefits survey. Overall, the average premium for a single American is about $7,188 for 2019, with employers carrying a significantly larger portion of the overall expense. Employer-based insurance for families costs about $20,576 this year, about a 5% increase from last year. Yet families are still on the hook for an average of $6,015 in out-of-pocket expenses, which is about a 71% increase over the past 10 years.

Even though many people have to pay for alternative healing modalities out of pocket, the costs of things like herbs, massage or yoga, are still far below what one would pay in medical bills and hospital visits.


Lack of Transparency in Health Care Market

Unlike most markets for consumer services in the United States, the health care market generally lacks transparent market-based pricing. Patients are typically not able to comparison shop for medical services based on price, as medical service providers do not typically disclose prices prior to service. Government-mandated critical care and government insurance programs like Medicare also impact market pricing of U.S. health care. According to the New York Times in 2011, "the United States is far and away the world leader in medical spending, even though numerous studies have concluded that Americans do not get better care” and prices are the highest in the world.


An Increased Focus On Preventing Illness

People are focusing more on preventing disease rather than trying to cure it after it strikes, and holistic medicine offers a lot of advice and natural supplements that can assist the body in maintaining a state of health and wellness. Having an understanding of holistic healing modalities, such as herbal medicine, homeopathy, massage, yoga, meditation, supplementation, acupuncture, and nutrition can help healthcare professionals, including highly qualified nurses, teach their patients to keep their bodies strong and in balance as common practice in public health. Not only does preventative medicine save you from the time and energy it takes to go through the medical system but it also saves you money in the long run.


Fewer Side Effects

Natural medicines can have side effects, but they typically minimal compared to the side effects that people suffer from when they take the prescription medications that are on the market. And some natural remedies do not cause any side effects at all, making them a lot safer than the conventional alternatives. In fact, some people have to take a cocktail of prescriptions just to combat the side effects caused by their primary medication that actually treats the problem they are dealing with. Nurses who have passed ADN to NP programs or RN to MSN programs are especially aware of side effects that are associated with medications, so many of them choose to move into a holistic medical practice to use their knowledge to support naturopathic doctors and help people treat themselves naturally.


Working With The Body Rather Than Against It

Western medicine often works against the body, rather than with it, in order to cure illness. But other options, such as Ayurveda, chiropractic care, Traditional Chinese Medicine, homeopathy, herbal medicine, and vitamin therapy, work with the body’s own immune system to gently help it heal itself. Many people prefer this gentle yet effective approach for their health, which is yet another reason why holistic medicine is growing increasingly popular.


Taking Back the Power for One’s Health

There is a growing recognition that science and medicine can achieve great feats such as saving lives, curing diseases and generally treating the symptoms of chronic illness. However, as much as modern medicine has made great advances, there is also a recognition that it cannot make you healthy. The answer to most illnesses is to prescribe a pharmaceutical drug, often with adverse side effects, covering up the root cause of illness by suppressing symptoms. More and more people are recognizing that alternative healing modalities can offer a holistic diagnosis to someone’s ailments and that holistic multi-pronged treatments heal body, spirit, emotions, and mind. Many people are finding that sense of taking their health into their own hands, deeply empowering and healing in and of itself. We are moving away from fear-based medicine and toward empowering ourselves and there are a multitude of reasons to choose holistic approaches to health. This does not mean that all pharmaceuticals are bad or unnecessary but it does shine a light on the deficiencies of modern medicine and the fact that one does not cancel out the other. It is, in fact, possible to marry the two approaches and get the best of both worlds. And next time you think that a massage or herbal remedy is too expensive, think about how your self-care is cheaper than treating an illness after the fact. Invest in yourself and in your future by taking care of yourself.


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