While there is widespread rejection – ranging from total to partial – of the medical model, there is no clear “best” alternative. There are, indeed, a multitude of alternatives. The more reasoned approaches seem to recognize the wholeness of a person, that people exist in complex environments, that individual needs are so varied, that there is no “one shoe fits all” approach, and that it is important to be open to and to use, different approaches, often simultaneously (Luhrmann, 2012).
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
Functional medicine and Integrative medicine
Various broad terms have arisen to describe treatments which are different from the mainstream medial model: alternative, integrative, functional, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). These approaches, often overlapping, generally view the person more holistically, recognize the body's own healing powers, emphasize the importance of wellness and preventative approaches to living, and acknowledge the importance of the relationship between healer and patient. Alternative connotes alternative to, and complementary describes treatments complimentary to, mainstream western medicine. CAM includes complementary and alternative treatments. The integrative approach incorporates CAM in a partnership with mainstream western medicine (Lake, 2007).
Thus safe, effective alternative methods of treatment from all corners of the earth that can complement or, in some cases, supplant pharmaceutical and other mainstream therapeutic tools, have gradually come to the attention of physicians and the public alike. As research continues to unfold, such treatment options, their efficacy demonstrated through published studies, shed more light and hope on the “impenetrable darkness that the profession has confronted since psychiatry’s inception.”(Stradford, Vickar, Berger & Cass, 2012).
Functional medicine seeks the underlying cause of an ailment rather than simply treating the symptoms, since just fixing the symptom may leave the underlying problem. Mark Hyman, MD, a functional doctor, sees “the patient as a whole person instead of merely as an assortment of disconnected parts. The body is an extraordinary system; every part is connected via an intricate web of body, mind, and spirit. In functional medicine, we seek the root causes of illness so that we can address the underlying triggers that have thrown the patient off balance. In order to heal properly, the whole patient requires attention; that includes the emotions, thoughts, and spirit of a human being—not just the physical body.” There is significant overlap amongst these different approaches. For instance yoga can be viewed and used as a complementary therapy to promote relaxation and general health. But kundalini yoga can also be used as the major treatment for psychosis. Or acupuncture can be seen as an alternative treatment or used within an overall treatment of integrative medicine.
On this site, "alternative" refers to any and all of these approaches, and simply means approaches different from the mainstream approach.
How to choose which approach or combination? Are there criteria to determine which approach is best for a particular person or type of person” No. It is, therefore, important to consider what fits the particular individual, what the individual will be comfortable with and will stick with. For almost all therapies, willingness and motivation are important.
We look at some of these alternatives:
These alternatives can be found at the Treatment tab at the top.
Alternative Treatments Overview