The term non-conventional medicine in the West means a wide variety of treatment methods that are not based on the experimental method, one of the foundations of the scientific approach to facts. They are based on some ancient traditions or practices that emerged in the nineteenth century, but mostly before the advent of medicine based on the facts (in English evidence-based medicine). The non-conventional medicines are therefore considered unscientific.
Depending on the country, their traditions and laws, they may be common (Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, England ...), tolerated (as in France and some Latin countries) or be banned. They are often preventive, and based on the relationship of trust with the patient, expressing a personal quest and the quest for a framework of care that is outside the frameworks of modern medicine.
Some techniques are used by doctors or paramedics, other allied health practitioners from various ( "health practitioners" in Germany and Switzerland, under the control of the state), and others by practitioners whose quality of training is not subject to a state diploma and can hardly be estimated, being based on assumptions not validated experimentally. They develop as a complement or alternative to conventional medicine.
The non-conventional medicine are not recognized by much of science, particularly by those belonging to the contemporary skeptic movement.
Semantic complexities of the name
The term unconventional medicine is the term used by the European Commission to describe alternative medicine, which are the subject of a growing recognition in Europe since the 1990s.
It also uses the terms of alternative medicine, complementary medicine, natural medicine, alternative medicine, alternative medicine or holistic medicine sometimes (as some argue treat humans as a whole).
* Speaking of "alternative medicine" seems to mean that there are two conceptions of medicine involving two health care systems operate independently of one another, with the same degree of efficiency and scientific method: patients would therefore choose between two therapies they may consider as alternatives or as competing and complementary to each other.
* The term "alternative medicine" seems to regard the aggressive practices of conventional medicine.
* The term "alternative medicine", we consider these practices as health care proxy, therefore, likely to replace conventional therapeutic approach and conventional.
* The term "holistic" criticizes the focus of conventional medicine to treat an organ or a specific function and not the patient in his lobalite. It probably is the case for medical specialties but not systematically for medicine in general.
* The term "complementary medicine" rather favors the idea of combining treatments that may be "therapeutic philosophies" different but able to cooperate in the interest of the patient.
According to some non-conventional medicine share a preconceived mechanisms of the human body and disease. For example,
* Energy medicine (acupuncture, qi gong, shiatsu ...) assume that one has a vital influx (prana in India, ki in Japanese or Qi in Chinese) which flows harmoniously, the sickness is a disturbance of this harmony should be re-balanced.
* Homeopathy is based on principles that:
No evil comes from a problem inherent to the person, the "ground" and this field must be treated;
No treatment is done according to the principle of similarity: it administers a substance known to cause symptoms that treat symptoms;
No longer a product is diluted and "energized" (vigorously shaken) is more active;
* Osteopathy assumes that the disorder stems from a blockage of these anatomical structures, a malfunction "mechanical". It is based on 4 principles: the structure governs function, the model structure, the unity of body, and the artery is supreme.
Conventional medicine is based on facts. It applies if the treatment is proven effective (superior to the natural healing and the placebo effect). The theory used to explain the effectiveness is subject to verification that there is an effective therapy. Thus, we used aspirin and penicillin without knowing the mechanism of therapeutic action of these substances. The explanation of their action would change with new discoveries, this would not alter their effectiveness.
In general, the fact that a theory, a design a priori, either true or false is independent of the result achieved and can explain a fact by a false theory, and the fact that the theory is false does not being true. For example, in the Middle Ages, they knew how to make iron and soap, however, the theory explaining the transformations of matter, alchemy was generally false.
* If it is proved that the theory underlying a given medicine is wrong, this does not mean that the treatments associated with this medicine is ineffective;
* The fact that treatment is effective not only valid provided medical theory which justifies it.
* Evidence of effectiveness must be compared with the natural healing and a placebo on a sufficient number of cases that we can have a statistically significant difference.
Use of unconventional medicine by physicians
The Hippocratic oath updated indicates that physicians should respect "everyone [...] without any discrimination based on their status or beliefs." Thus, even if he disagrees with unconventional medicine, a doctor may well have recourse to respect the beliefs of the patient. The use of unconventional medicine by a doctor, possibly in a hospital is not a form of validation of the method. From a pragmatic point of view, as the method provides well-being and comfort to the patient, the doctor can use it even if it is satisfied that the effect is just placebo (conventional medicine also uses Frequently placebos). In the same vein, the presence of places of worship and chaplaincy in a hospital does not indicate that the nursing staff is thinking, but he respects the beliefs of patients and agrees to implement anything that is not harmful and brings comfort.
Nothing prevents a physician from practicing medicine unconventional. Their practice is not reserved for doctors. Many allied health professionals use them. They may be offered by persons who are neither doctors paramedics (nurses, physiotherapists, etc.;). Faces in the diversity of these unconventional practices with practitioners very heterogeneous attempts regulations and controls are trying to establish.
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