Non-traditional (complementary/alternative) treatments

Describe what is Non-traditional (complementary/alternative) treatments………


Medical or health practices centered on untested, non-traditional or non-scientific methods or principles are known as alternatives or complementary treatments. They are based on beliefs that are metaphysical and anti-scientific. Past research has revealed that most alternative medical practices are not in essence “alternative,” but “quackery.”  Complementary or alternative medicine is produced whenever the “alternative” health practices are offered along with scientific medicine since it amalgamates to “good” medicine with quackery.

Non traditional treatment is slowly etching into the health and medical profession mainstreams since the practices offered act as alternative or complementary healing of certain diseases. In addition, it is because of these reasons that people peddle for these treatments making the latter to be highly profitable. According to Sampson (2007), the National institutes of Health’s Office of Alternative Medicine had revealed a number of research studies of unorthodox cures, or exotic procedures such as the use of shark cartilage to treat cancer and bee pollen in allergy treatment. Popular “alternative” therapies and supernatural processes include prayer, massage, yoga, chiropractic, relaxation techniques, herbal medicine, myriad nutritional supplements, acupuncture, and laser treatment among others. Practitioners of non traditional treatment rarely handle high caliber scientific studies (Bausell, 2007). If they do studies at all they neither involve control groups nor study adequate-sized samples. For example, when the results of the acupuncture studies in China became positive, one could tell that something was amiss. Most studies and procedures carried out by “alternative” practitioners are usually shallow and have scant evidence of effectiveness and some have been to be dangerous. Nonetheless, most of the practitioners have supported metaphysics that is, magical thinking and faith and have strongly disdain science.

In addition, many questionable products have found their way into consumer markets touted as cures for extreme illnesses such as heart disease or cancer. Customers are convinced that the products are as a quick and effective cure for all types of ailments (Sampson, 2007). Nonetheless promoters use catchy words such as miraculous cure, secret ingredient, scientific breakthrough, ancient remedy or exclusive product to etch into the cognitive reasoning of the client. Most people would prefer an abrupt path to healing because they believe that delays might result to sudden deaths. Therefore to disguise scientific terminologies, alternative practitioners use ambiguous texts such as “medicalese”. In order to retain more customers, promoters have gone the extra mile to claim that they have been conspired by the government, research scientists and medical professions to suppress the products. Others have advertised products and services alongside undocumented case histories that claim remarkable and abrupt results. Nonetheless, promoters convince their clients’ that the advertised products come from only one source therefore it can be heavily relied upon. From the consumer’s point of view, the overall rule is “it is probably real if it sounds too good to be true.”

Most people are drawn to these procedures however lethal or threatening they turn out to be.  Potential life threatening problems such as nerve damage, allergic reactions, Hepatitis B infections and delayed cancer diagnoses have been caused by non traditional treatments such as chiropractic and acupuncture. Studies have indicated major side effects such as spinal cord compression and manipulation proven to have been triggered by chiropractic or osteopathic techniques and complementary therapies. Acupuncture treatment was blamed for lodged broken needle and severe hallucinations whereas Homeopathy led to people having numerous asthma attacks (Blom & Lundeberg, 2000).

Personality traits influence how easy or difficult certain procedures and tasks are likely to be handled.  In relation to extraversion personality traits, people end up purchasing products or attend acupuncture and yoga lessons simply because others are doing it and excellent results have been seen. It is easy for an extraverted individual to get cure for his ailments than an introvert because he is ever consulting and discovering. Neuroticism or emotionally stable people prone to nervousness and depression are more easily persuaded and swayed by catchy advertised words about a certain non treatment product. They are people who would take commitments and responsibilities towards getting a cure for their conditions. Still on the other hand, there are people who are open to any experience and are willing to try new techniques or alternatives for cure. These people might have lost hope in the previous cures or treatments thus opt for the traditional alternatives.

People with the above personality traits are characterized by desperation that is, they are willing to sacrifice their time, money and efforts to get cured; hopelessness that is, they have been treated on several occasions but have suddenly lost hope in healing and curing from scientific medical practices. In terms of cognitive reasoning, most people are drawn to therapies such as hypnotherapy, acupuncture, chiropactic or schema-focused cognitive therapy because of the beliefs that past experiences have root causes to negative cognitions. For example when a person has an Early Maladaptive Schema (EMS) such as abandonment, they have memories such as child abuse or victimization and emotions of depression, anxiety attached to abandonment (McCaughan, 2000). Most people with these cognitive reasoning prefer therapy treatment because they believe that the sessions help in transforming the early painful memories which had led to negative beliefs. People experience security in knowing who they are and what/who surrounds them through the assessments of moods and clinical interviews carried out by therapists. Scheduled activities which are graded are developed to allow individual practice new abilities monitored by therapists. Therefore, many turn to these therapies because they develop a sense of security and predictability which is more familiar and comfortable. People who experience stress and high tension levels prefer subsequent sessions related to stress management and self-reflection which would not require a lot of money to be spend on medical practices such as surgery.  Non traditional treatments and practices are preferred since during these sessions a person is encouraged to examine and build evidences for or against their thoughts and establish newer perceptions of events.

Most people shy away from scientific medicines because they fear surgery and the side effects caused by drugs. In addition, past researches have revealed that scientific medicine often bring harm to the patient. People believe that non traditional treatments are less likely to bring harm and are less risky. According to Robinson (2004), bias confirmations and thoughts that are selective have easily made people focus on instances where surgeons amputate the wrong limb or brain or causing deaths by giving excessive dosages of anesthesia. Nevertheless people have put a blind eye towards patients who have survived through surgery and focus on those who have been disabled permanently because of mistakes done by surgeons.  Therefore majority turn to non traditional treatments due to fear and false beliefs of surgery practices. Most fail to realize that these harms are caused by unpredictable reactions to surgery and drugs or malpractices. Nevertheless, most people believe that the risks of being harmed positively by an alternative practitioner are legible as opposed to those caused by physicians conducting extreme surgeries (Robinson, 2004).  Another reason why people seek out for non traditional treatment is that they “think it works” most have attested that after treatment they feel much better and more relieved. However in most circumstances a person’s conditions would have improved if he or she had done nothing at all. Others have decided to go for treatment which is cheap since surgeries have proven to be more expensive and complicated. In conclusion, non traditional treatments have gained popularity since people believe that surgery and drugs are not necessarily part of the healing process. Inevitably, people need to understand that treatment of harms or injuries do not come as a result of getting treated but from positive intervention which would increase a person’s life span or  improve his/her health condition.


Bausell, S. (2007) The Health Robbers: A Close Look at Quackery in America, Amherst, N.Y.     Prometheus Books.

Blom, M., & Lundeberg, T. (2000). Long-term follow-up of patients treated with acupuncture for            xerostomia and the influence of additional treatment. Oral Disease, 6, 15–24.

McCaughan, E. (2000). Informational needs of cancer patients receiving     chemotherapy at a day-case unit in Northern Ireland. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 9, 851–       858.

Robinson, A. (2004). Disclosure of CAM use to medical practitioners: A review of qualitative      and quantitative studies. Complementary Therapy Medicine, 12, 90–98.

Sampson, W.(2007). Science Meets Alternative Medicine: What the Evidence Says About            Unconventional Treatments. Prometheus Books.

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