Allergy Terms: Western, Eastern, Alternative…

By Heather Legg

As you are deciding on your allergy treatment, or deciding to change what you are already doing, maybe to try something new, you may find a lot of confusing terms in your research. What’s the difference in alternative and Eastern, holistic and homeopathic, complementary and CAM? Here are some definitions and maybe these will help you sift through to find the best treatment, or combination, for you.

Western Medicine – also known as conventional medicine, it is the medicine practiced by M.D.’s and by their allied health professionals, such as physical therapists, psychologists, and registered nurses.

Eastern Medicine – A broad term for Oriental, Indian, Tibetan, Japanese, and Chinese medicine, all of which share philosophies about the energy system of the human body and the necessity of balance and harmony. Practitioners are trained to use a variety of ancient and modern techniques of diagnosis and treatments.

Complementary medicine – used together with conventional medicine. An example of a complementary therapy is using aromatherapy to help lessen a patient’s discomfort following surgery.

Alternative medicine – used in place of conventional medicine. An example of an alternative therapy is acupuncture to treat allergies instead of allergy shots.

Integrative medicine – Practitioners of integrative medicine have training and interest in both conventional Western medicine and alternative and complementary therapies, bringing a variety of techniques to their practices.

Holistic medicine – Philosophical approach to health care which treats the patient as a whole person, not simply as a disease process or a collection of symptoms. Holistic health care practitioners may combine allopathic medicine with complementary therapies, taking into account the emotional, spiritual, social, nutritional, mental, environmental, and physical aspects of health and illness.

Homeopathic medicine – homeopathy is an alternative medical system that treats the symptoms of a disease with minute doses of a natural substance or remedy. In larger doses, the remedy would produce the same symptoms as the disease or disorder that is being treated.

CAM Therapy – the combination of complementary and alternative medicine.
TCM – Traditional Chinese Medicine, which includes a variety of ancient and modern therapeutic methods, such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, heat therapy, and nutritional and lifestyle counseling-that treats a broad range of chronic and acute illnesses, including allergies.

Check out these sites for more information on these terms and more:
http://www.nwhealth.edu/healthyU/liveNaturally/gloss.html#C
http://www.revolutionhealth.com/healthy-living/natural-health/natural-health-101/complementary-alternative-medicine/CAM-overview

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