Do the Benefits of Alternative Medicine Outweigh the Health Risks?

Updated on February 23, 2021

According to John Hopkins University, over 40% of Americans are using alternative medicine for pain relief whenever the prescribed dose is ineffective. 

Alternative medicine gives a cohesive approach to body recovery and may comprise interventions like reflexology, massage therapy, remedies, chiropractic, acupuncture, and nutritional supplements. 

Most health experts are beginning to recommend alternative therapy usage combined with conservative medical treatments; however, more studies are being done to examine the safety and usefulness of these modified treatments. 

Why Do People Use Alternative/Complementary Therapies?

There are various reasons people use alternative medicine. For example, most cancer victims have used complementary therapy sometime during their sickness. 

Although there is no clear evidence that alternative medicine cures or prevents cancer, there is currently a shred of slight evidence in some therapies showing they help with some symptoms, such as hot flushes and pain. 

Feeling Much in Control

You may be fed up at some point when the doctor gives you many ineffective prescriptions and instructions concerning your treatment. The medicine the physician gives may take some time to bring any notable change in your body, that’s when you begin to feel you are out of control of what is happening. 

This is the point when patients opt for alternative medicine and forget whatever the doctor had prescribed. A big percentage of them claim that complementary therapies make them feel better compared to conventional treatment. 

Talk and Touch Comfort

Complementary therapists are gentle and friendly. The time, talk, and touch they offer are fantastic. A caring and skilled aromatherapist make you feel cared for. They give the much-needed support during treatment and recovery.  

You opt to take alternative medicine to receive this comfort as it improves your quality of life.

Boosting Immune System 

Alternative treatments can enhance the immune system hence helping prevent chronic conditions like cancer and diabetes. Physical therapy for reducing anxiety and to feel good boosts one’s immune system.  

Staying Positive 

A positive outlook is vital when coping with a chronic disease. People want and hope for better treatment. Alternative medicine plays an important role in a patient’s positive outlook, and therefore should be part of treatment.  

Looking for Cure 

The conditions of the majority of people with advanced ailments believe improved rapidly, thanks to alternative medicine compared to conventional treatments. 

Natural Therapy

Complementary therapies are natural and non-toxic, and they can help with the cure of particular side effects or symptoms. Going forward, what should be looked at is how alternative medicines would best cope with conventional treatments for the cure of chronic conditions

Does Complementary Medicine Work? 

Although there is little scientific evidence showing the cure of chronic conditions using alternative medicine, patients say it improves their condition and makes them feel better.

Most cancer victims opt for alternative medicine in their treatment approach, but there is no proof of cure in treatment.

Alternative medicine treatment is recommended as it is very effective in reducing and cure of side effects. For example, it lessens secondary cancer complications, which conventional cures cannot.

Personal or religious beliefs, medical system distrust; may be a factor contributing to the use of alternative medicine. Whichever the reason, what are the health risks involved?

Complementary medicine may interrupt the normal reaction of conventional treatment in the body.

What Are the Risks of Using Complementary Medicine?

A recent study on complementary medicine and cancer at Yale School of Medicine showed that cancer patients who opt for alternative medicine; for example, radiation, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy are at high risk of developing health complications.

This study was conducted to find out the efficacy of treatment using alternative medicine. When a patient is seeking advice about an important decision to make, he or she may lack potential and valuable life-saving info. 

This study provides such info to people who are looking for treatment options aside from conventional methods.

The researchers conducted a study of 840 breast, lung, colorectal, and prostate cancer patients from the National Cancer Database (NCDB). The comparison patient outcome was from 2004 – 2013. 560 patients had undergone conventional treatment, while 280 patients opted for alternative medicine.

The Study Results

  • There was a greater risk of complications for patients who opted for alternative medicine
  • Those who opted for complementary treatment were more likely to die within half a year, compared to those who underwent conventional treatment
  • Colorectal cancer victims particularly are four-times at risk 

Are There Any Risks If You Combine Alternative Medicine Alongside Conventional Treatment?  

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is a term used when conventional treatments are used in combination with alternative medicines.  

While complementary treatment can increase the risk of complication in the health of a patient, according to the above study, there are also some benefits of using it alongside conformist medicine.

For instance, relaxation and meditation techniques have shown to ease mood ailments and lower anxiety. Acupuncture minimizes chemotherapy effects, vomiting, induced nausea, pain management, and fatigue reduction. 

Yoga improves sleep, increases life quality, and reduces fatigue. Cannabis (now available for therapeutic use) has benefits in pain reduction, nausea effects reduction, and appetite boosting. 

Consult Waldman Legal Group to offer you legal advice on the way forward before opting for any alternative medicine use.

Complementary medicine treatment methods can significantly reduce side effects; for example, bowel and pain issues, which would improve quality of life, tremendously. 

Never opt for a complementary method of treatment without seeking legal and professional advice, to know which CAM treatments are safe for you and the possibility of litigation in case of health complications.

Not all doctors fully disclose information regarding a certain alternative medicine treatment method. Some may give you a yes, regardless of the significant health risks involved. Before approaching any doctor, ensure they are licensed and qualified by your state. And that they’ve been in the field for quite a long time.

Should you opt For Alternative Therapy, Conventional Treatment, and Or Combine Both? 

This remains a personal decision. Having gathered and consumed the necessary information, you can now decide on which way to go. 

It is an act of balancing. It can help if you consider the use of both conventional treatment and alternative medicine. 

Trust can erode in some medicinal form of treatment. It’s only when you’ve grasped significant information is when your trust can be restored. That said, an act of balancing is required in the use of alternative medicine so as not to bring substantial health risks to patients.

A conventional form of treatment is essential, but it may require to be combined with complementary medicine for the full benefit of the patient. Continued discussion and looking at scientific results in open discussions will leads to an improved understanding. 

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