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What are the complementary systems of medicine?

Q: How many medical sciences are there and which is the best?

A:Many traditional systems of medicine are practiced by individual cultures throughout the world. In Asia, traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine have been present for ages while in the occident medical systems include homeopathy and naturopathy. Other systems have been developed by Native American, African, Middle Eastern, Tibetan, and Central and South American cultures. Though these systems differ in their philosophical approaches to the prevention and treatment of disease, they share some common themes like the belief that ones body has the power to heal itself and that healing depends on multiple techniques that involve the mind, body, and spirit. Alternative or complementary medicine is a therapeutic practice, which is not currently considered an integral part of conventional allopathic medical practice. It may lack biomedical explanations but as it becomes better researched, some, such as physical therapy, diet, and acupuncture, become widely accepted while others are rejected. These include folk medicine, herbal medicine, diet fads, homeopathy, faith healing, new age healing, chiropractic, acupuncture, naturopathy, massage, and music therapy. Biologically based practices (dietary supplements) include botanicals, animal-derived extracts, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, proteins, prebiotics and probiotics, whole diets, and functional foods. Energy medicine deals with energy fields of two types – Veritable (which can be measured) and Putative (which have yet to be measured). The veritable energies employ mechanical vibrations (such as sound) and electromagnetic forces, including visible light, magnetism, monochromatic radiation (such as laser beams), and rays from other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. They involve the use of specific, measurable wavelengths and frequencies to treat patients. Putative energy fields (also called biofields) have defied measurement to date by reproducible methods. Therapies involving putative energy fields are based on the concept that human beings are infused with a subtle form of energy. This vital energy or life force is known under different names in different cultures, such as qi in traditional Chinese medicine, ki in the Japanese Kampo system, doshas in Ayurvedic medicine, and elsewhere as prana, etheric energy, fohat, orgone, odic force, mana, and homeopathic resonance. Vital energy is believed to flow throughout the material human body, but it has not been unequivocally measured by means of conventional instrumentation. Nonetheless, therapists claim that they can work with this subtle energy, see it with their own eyes, and use it to effect changes in the physical body and influence health. The general term manipulative and body-based practices includes a heterogeneous group interventions and therapies like chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation, massage therapy, Tui Na, reflexology, rolfing, Bowen technique, Trager bodywork, Alexander technique, Feldenkrais method, and a host of others. They focus primarily on the structures and systems of the body, including the bones and joints, the soft tissues, and the circulatory and lymphatic systems. Finally, Mind-body medicine focuses on the interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behaviour, and the powerful ways in which emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and behavioural factors can directly affect health. It regards as fundamental an approach that respects and enhances each persons capacity for self-knowledge and self-care, and it emphasizes techniques that are grounded in this approach. It is difficult, if not impossible to say what is best.


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