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Alternative Medicine
 
Alternative Medicine - the saviour of medical treatment in the 21st century -
 
Recently, we are hearing more and more about "alternative medicine". Do you know what it is?
 
What is alternative medicine?
Alternative medicine is every act that is not scientifically verified in the field of modern Western medicine, or is not applied to clinical. Since the fault and the portion run short of Western medicine are compensated, it is also called complementary medicine. As for the range, it covers medicinal food, Chinese medicine, herbs, aromatherapy, acupressure, hypnotic therapy, behaviour therapy, acupuncture-and- moxibustion treatment, chiropractic, psychological treatment, vitamins, minerals, aerobics, allergy desensitization therapy, etc. far and wide. It is said that most medical students in a medical advanced nation of the United States desire practice of alternative medicine although Japanese people are not yet interested in it. Furthermore, it is told that one out of every three used a certain alternative medicine in the United States in 1993 and over 40% in 1997. As supported, in 1999, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) was established in National Institutes of Health in the United States and the program to implement alternative medicine in modern Western medicine is studied and developed.
 
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Why has alternative medicine received much attention?
In the United States, one of the reasons is the difficulty in having expensive Western medicine since approximately 15% of people are non-insurers. On the other hand, it has been spotlighted gradually in Japan including holding of the 1st Japanese Society for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 1998. As the background, cost problem on medical economics such as collapse of a universal national health insurance system and bigger share of medical bill, deal with disease which Western medicine cannot solve the cause and improve, medical side effects and ineradicably drug-induced problem, environment pollution, and distrust to doctors and medical institutions can be considered. Consequently, alternative medicine has become the focus of public attention as treatment which can help preventing from disease and decreasing the symptom, and as good body-build to promote natural healing power. Furthermore, the market for nutritional supplement food against the background of preventive medicine has been also a topic in the latest newspaper. By arrival of highly networked information society, it is described that the patients who ask for alternative medicine rapidly increase on a global basis and become the trend of future medical treatment.
 
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Challenges for the future
Alternative medicine is now being sought for the combine of Western medicine and the movement to review food roles from the viewpoint that the first step to be in good health is eating has been intensifying. However, compared to United States, the problems, such as strict legal restrictions for effect-efficacy of food, overemphasis of the price and preternatural aspect, current situation that some people do not have the accurate information, and over consumption of vitamins and minerals are left behind and should be solved. Furthermore, It is also important to accept reality without assuming it that alternative medicine is unscientific automatically, because the date that proves the action mechanism and efficiency has rapidly increased. For patients, it can have the more choice of medical treatment, solution of many problems on medicine, and advance of the quality of medical. Therefore, alternative medicine has a potential of becoming the saviour of medical treatment in the 21st century.