One of the more confusing terms in common use is "alternative medicine". It is common to hear of Oriental or Chinese medicine referred to as an "alternative" to Western medical practice. This is a misguided distinction based on economics and politics. For reasons unrelated to clinical effectiveness or scientific validity, some practices have become dominant in our society, and some, ignored.
Techniques that have stood the tests of time and patient acceptance in other cultures are often rejected because they are unfamiliar and strange to physicians increasingly trained in a narrow industrialized model of medical care. Any practices unendorsed by the medical industrial complex can be considered "alternative medicine".
When I have taught electives on Japanese or Tibetan acupuncture at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, I define medicine as the "science, art, and craft of understanding suffering, its causes, and its remedies". Having studied with some of the greatest living physicians of the West and East, I can assure you that no medicine can solve all problems, but also that effective techniques of diagnosis and therapy exist in each.
So, effective techniques which relieve suffering, regardless of their origins, are correctly considered "medicine", and those which do not, are correctly seen as "not-medicine". Whether the source of the physician's understanding and the patient's relief is French, Arabic, Persian, Chinese, or Tibetan matters not at all. In foreign lands, pharmaceuticals and surgery might be considered "alternative medicine".
The traditional medicines which developed in Africa, Asia, India, and Tibet are self contained systems with their own diagnostic criteria, pathophysiologic classification, and treatment regimens. Modern Western disease categories and theories are not directly translatable into traditional concepts, so it is more correct to understand that each medical problem needs to be diagnosed in the traditional system and appropriate traditional remedies be applied for the best results.
Dr. L.B. Grotte, M.D., was the first physician in Ohio to be board certified in both acupuncture and Chinese herbology and is considered a pioneer in the field of alternative medicine. Our Cleveland practice specializes in creating individualized treatment plans integrating Western and Oriental methods. Call us at 440-461-7488 or visit our website for more information, or to make an appointment.