Conventional, Complementary, or Alternative?

You’ve probably heard the terms Conventional Medicine, Complementary Medicine, and Alternative Medicine. But what do they mean?


CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE is the diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of a disease by a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, therapist, or other healthcare professional. It is what we think of as traditional healthcare.

COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE is medical treatment not included in standard care, that you may choose to do along-side/ in addition to what your doctor or healthcare professional prescribes.

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE is medical care or treatment that you choose, in place of standard treatment. It takes the place of what is prescribed by your doctor or healthcare professional.

Simply put… if I go to the doctor with respiratory problems, and he tells me I have asthma, he may give me albuterol (an inhaler that uses a prescription drug). This is Conventional Medicine. He has prescribed a drug for me to take when I am having trouble breathing.

If I am a cautious person and do not like to use drugs except when absolutely necessary, I may decide to try some other things in addition to the inhaler – breathing exercises, herbal inhalers, etc. This is Complementary Medicine. I am still using what the doctor initially prescribed, but have added some other factors in that may be helpful.

If I were to completely reject the idea of using an inhaler, and resort to other methods of treatment that I thought better… I might start taking omega-3 fats (like fish oil), drinking herbal teas, using essential oil, exercising, getting chiropractic care, or doing steam bowl treatments… This is Alternative Medicine. I have rejected the idea of doing what the doctor recommended, and am now resorting to other natural ideas (this may include herbalism, homeopathy, acupuncture, etc.).

So Which Method is Right?

We need doctors! We need surgeons. We need people who are experienced in their field, or “niche”, who can be there to help us when we have an emergency! We need doctors who can tell us that our grandfather has cancer, our child has pneumonia or that it’s just a bad virus going around… and sometimes we need surgery or chemo-therapy or prescription drugs.


But is it right to put our trust in the healthcare industry? Is it okay to let our health rely on what the doctor says, or what the therapist recommends? Are they ever wrong?

Doctors, nurses, therapists, health advisors…they are imperfect, fallible people just like us. They work hard, study hard, and learn from trial and error. They have devoted their lives to {hopefully} becoming the best in their area of expertise. But that does not mean that they are always right.

Sometimes there is a better way… Sometimes the doctor will look and see a symptom, and remember from his big book what that symptom means. And he’ll treat it to the best of his abilities. But in many cases he has failed to look at you, or your child, or someone you love, as a whole person. In the process of caring for who-knows-how-many people each day, he probably fails to realize that there is much, much more to healing than addressing the surface cause, and eliminating symptoms.


There are other symptoms, and years of health history dating back to the day you were born… there are things happening in your life (physical, emotional, and spiritual) every day that can affect your health – relationships, joys, sorrows, challenges, catastrophes, life, death… there are ways you react to certain things, and things that make you feel a certain way… and all of this you know – but the doctor does not.

It would be wise to prayerfully consider day by day, when conventional medicine is required for the safety or well-being of someone you love, and when there is a better way (that avoids the toxicity, side-affects, and danger involved in taking medical drugs and remedies). Does God have a will in this matter? Does He have a right or wrong for your child’s cold, your grandmother’s stroke, your best friend’s cancer? I believe that He does.

proverb 3

Whichever form of medicine treatment you may choose today, tomorrow, or next month, it is choice that you will make again – 100…1000 times in life. You will make this choice when your child wakes up with a cough, or when you cut your finger while chopping carrots, or when there’s a broken bone, or stomach pain, or a fever. Choose wisely. Because there is a balance – and finding that balance requires wisdom.

Wisdom = “Seeing and responding to life situations from God’s perspective.”

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and my products are not approved by the FDA. This information is based on my own research, study, and personal experience. This information is not intended (and should not be used) to diagnose, treat, or take the place of required professional medical treatment.


One thought on “Conventional, Complementary, or Alternative?

Share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s