Alternative medicine is usually defined as being any medical or healing practice that is conducted by someone who doesn't have an MD or DO (Doctor of Osteopathy degree) This will include a large range of practices that might include herbal remedies, chiropractic medicine and acupuncture. If the traditional and alternative are combined then it becomes what is called complementary medicine. The doctors that practice both are usually in what is called naturopathy.
The idea of naturopathic medicine is that healing will happen through nature. This is a very broad concept and will often include a regular doctor who also believes in taking a lot more time to treat their patients, it also includes pharmacists who try to look for alternatives to the biochemical drugs their patients take. This kind of alternative medicine has six principles that they follow:
- Trusting the healing powers of nature.
- Treating the whole person.
- Finding the true underlying cause of the symptoms.
- Using less harmful cures.
- Teaching their patients how to care for themselves.
- Promote wellness.
There are medical courses in naturopathy in a lot of different institutions and two of the more popular ones are the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, CT and Bastyr University in Seattle, WA.
The alternative homeopathy is considered to be a practice that uses highly diluted substances in order to help the body start the natural healing process. Those who practice this type of alternative medicine believe that smaller doses of different remedies can be used to help treat their patients. Someone who is a homeopath can be a medical doctor that chooses to work with pharmacists that are homeopathic. There are many different schools that are open to those who want to become homeopaths. Two of those schools would be Bastyr University and Resonance School of Homeopathy in Reno, NV.
Everyone knows that acupuncture comes from the traditional Chinese medicine that's been practiced for centuries and it focuses on the fact that the body has several key points within it that can help remedy many different ailments. Generally this type of alternative is used to manage pain by apply pressure to the points on the body that can help heal itself. A license is needed to be able to practice acupuncture and you must meet all of your state requirements but an MD is not required. There are many alternative medicine schools that offer acupuncture classes and you can become an acupuncture therapist by taking these courses and they don't need any previous medical experience. For example the New England School of Acupuncture in Newton, MA does offer these courses to students with no previous experience. However, students should have a BA with at least 6 credits of biology and chemistry.
The alternative medicine of chiropractic medicine has become a very highly recognized in the Unite States and even though you don't need a bachelor's degree to get into chiropractic college, it is still recommended that you do have one. Anyone who might think of doing this should probably have at least 2 years of biology, chemistry and anatomy. You will spend probably at least 4,200 hours in school when training to become a chiropractor and this will include practical experience in intern as well as externships before they can get their degree. After they are finished they can then go a head and set up their practice alone or work with a group of chiropractors. All graduates are required to pass a Ntional Board of Chiropractors Exam in order to open up practice.