alternative medicine is many things to many people, there is no one-line
answer that would define the term simply and clearly to satisfy
everyone. This reason alone is why it can be so difficult for some
people to get a clear sense of what alternative medicine is — and what
it is not. The truth is that one simple definition can't possibly
describe all that is now considered "alternative medicine."
The World Health Organization estimates that between 65 and 80 percent
of the world's population (about 3 billion people) rely on "traditional"
(read: "alternative") medicine as their primary form of health
care. They further state that when these traditional medical treatments
are introduced into Western culture, they are seen as complementary or
Many alternative treatments use natural substances such as herbs,
botanicals, homeopathics, nutritional supplements and whole foods.
There is a general belief among naturopathic doctors that the use of whole or
natural products to treat maladies adds more to the healing process than their
synthesized counterparts. While many synthesized pharmaceuticals may be more
potent and fast-acting, they also often come with unpleasant side effects.