Published on : 19 June 20204 min reading time
Although controversial, alternative medicine is no less popular. They are considered dangerous and ineffective, but is this really the case?
Alternative medicine is controversial!
Acupuncture, homeopathy, phytotherapy, osteopathy… Non-conventional medicines are very popular in France, many patients turn to these practices and the number of practitioners is increasing. The scandal created by the attack of the 124 health professionals against all forms of alternative medicine has caused a lot of ink to flow and many people are wondering about their merits and their effectiveness. We are taking stock.
Alternative medicine: A “Fake medicine”?
Health professionals, at least those who fight against unconventional therapy, are without appeal: alternative medicines are fakes medicine! They denounce the practice of this care which they consider unfounded, futile and above all without any efficiency. They demand that these practices, called “esoteric disciplines”, be excluded from the medical system. On this point, they are not the only ones who do not take alternative treatments as having real beneficial effects; many people remain sceptical about their effectiveness. The cases where they do work, are for them a simple placebo effect that occurs at the right time. Natural treatments, without chemical molecules and without clinical evidence, made of medicinal plants, massages and essential oils, have no chance of really working for them without the help of chance. On the other hand, the Order of Physicians made a point of reminding us that it officially recognizes homeopathy, acupuncture, mesotherapy and osteopathy, and that all doctors can use them as treatments if they respect certain conditions.
An effectiveness that is difficult to measure… but real?
A therapy is said to be unconventional when it has not been subjected to clinical trials or either it is but the clinical tests have not proved conclusive, otherwise it would probably be medicine. This makes it difficult to gauge alternative medicine by so-called conventional methods in terms of effectiveness. However, most of them have proven their effectiveness for more than twenty years in the treatment of certain pathologies such as back pain (osteopathy), various types of pain (acupuncture) or sleep problems (hypnosis and phytotherapy). The only proof brought remains the testimonies of the patients’ feelings.
Placebo effect? We can’t say. Only alternative medicine is often solicited when conventional medicines have exhausted their resources. In the case of a chronic disease, for example, it plays the role of complementary medicine by helping conventional therapy, and for many, these methods using plants and other essential oils seem to have proven their effectiveness. In any case, traditional Chinese medicine with more than 1000 years of existence, such as acupuncture, which has provided care and treatment to patients all over the world, cannot be ignored. Osteopathy and homeopathy are treatments that have a huge following in view of their more than satisfactory results.
Beware of charlatans!
It’s already been more than 20 years since France has seen an explosion of unconventional practices. Even today, they are still on the rise, because according to studies 4 out of 10 French people opt for alternative medicine for health reasons. At the same time, the number of practitioners is increasing exponentially to indulge in this practice, claiming to be connoisseurs of the virtues of medicinal plants and essential oils. However, as it is difficult to judge the concrete effects of each therapy, it is just as difficult to know whether one is dealing with a real therapist or a con artist. During your treatment, it is therefore important to be vigilant to find a doctor who is a trustworthy follower of these methods and who doesn’t just take advantage of the system by playing on the placebo effect alone.
Fortunately, there are reputable institutes that provide adequate studies and issue diplomas in the field of alternative therapies. In addition, you can search for information and contact details of quality therapists by browsing the directories of the trade unions and associations that represent the profession on the net.
Alternative medicine in a nutshell