The history of alternative medicine is a long and fascinating one, beginning some 5000 years ago. Many different cultures contributed their traditions to this history, including the Chinese and Indians, whose beliefs we still practice today. Most of the cultures thought that the body’s energy had to be synched with nature both in spirit and in body. Alternative medicine doctors were only there to facilitate this synchronization by helping their patients to figure out what things were standing in the way of their balance. Doctors also made suggestions to their patients that, if followed, would enable them to live harmonious and happy lifestyles.
One cannot speak of the history of alternative medicine without going back in time a bit. During the lifetimes of our great great grandparents in the 19th century, medical doctors were more like today’s naturopaths and not our no-nonsense, prescription writing physicians of the 20th and 21st centuries. Doctors of old were wise, kind, and had good bedside manners,
The medical care of that era was not too terribly different from what it had been the century before. It is safe to say that the history of alternative medicine remained fairly static during this time. Things moved along at this slow and easy pace until early 20th century days.
Conventional medicine began to differ from its old, comfortable ways into something very different. The medical community was excited and motivated with the discovery of drugs such as
Insulin this drug gave new hope to diabetics whose life expectancy was quite short because of their disease.
Penicillin – The mother of all antibiotics and touted as a wonder drug, this discovery enabled infections that had been untreatable to be cured.
Streptomycin one of the first mycin drugs that proved to be effective against many forms of tuberculosis, and infections that penicillin could not destroy.
Vaccination programs were introduced to the population, saving untold numbers of adults and children. Intensive care units were introduced in hospitals, and major surgical procedures invented such as kidney transplants and open heart surgery.
One would think that the history of alternative medicine ceased to add any sort of progress to its timeline due to all the progress made during this period by conventional medicine. This was definitely not the case. Doctors tossed aside what they believed to be outdated treatments such as homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, and even prayer, embracing the new and exciting discoveries exclusively. Quietly and purposefully, alternative medicine took the treatment leftovers and worked with them, strengthening the discipline to such an extent that many patients were loathe to leave them behind altogether. Thus was born complementary medicine, which combines aspects of the best of both alternative and conventional treatments to create a perfect range of remedial therapies that many patients embraced fully
The long and colorful history of alternative medicine is still quite the open book, and all signs point to it remaining this way for some time to come.