Conventional, Complementary, Alternative: What's the Difference?

The growing body of science behind different types of medicine has generated a huge interest in the consumer market on what options may be best for different health conditions. More importantly, it has informed us that there are options.

Conventional Medicine

noun. A system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals (such as nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery. Also called allopathic medicine, biomedicine, mainstream medicine, orthodox medicine, and Western medicine

Source: National Cancer Institute

Conventional Medicine is the primary form of healthcare recognized in the United States, and is the approach we are most accustomed to in the Western world.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), however, more than 30% of adults and at least 12% of children participate in healthcare approaches outside of Conventional Medicine. We've all heard the terms "Alternative" or "Complementary" medicine in describing these different approaches – but what do they mean?

The NIH defines them as:

  • Complementary – A non-mainstream system of healthcare practice used together with Conventional Medicine.
  • Alternative – A non-mainstream system of healthcare practice used in place of Conventional Medicine.

When Are They Used?

A true Alternative approach to healthcare, where Conventional Medicine is not used at all, is not very common. In most cases, a Complementary approach is more effective, providing wellness where Conventional Medicine falls short or is not preferred.

Most Common Complementary Approaches

Source: National Institutes of Health

Where Does Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Stand?

Originating in China, Traditional Chinese Medicine is a healthcare discipline with over 2000 years of recorded efficacy and history. It views health as a whole with interconnected systems both inside and outside the body, including one's physical, mental and spiritual environment. It is still the primary approach to healthcare for a large population of people in China. In the U.S., TCM is used as a highly effective form of Complementary Medicine.

Key Points

Total Wellness.

You wouldn't have a nice home if only one of your rooms was in shape, while the other ones are in shambles. In the same way, your wellness depends on the degree to which you care about your body and your mind, and the things that affect it.

Go with Nature.

TCM treatments and therapies are all-natural. We believe that what you put in your body is what you get out of it. Treatments include acupuncture, natural herbal medicine, moxibustion, cupping, massage therapy and more.

Healthcare, not Sickcare.

Prevention is King. It is much easier to maintain wellness than it is to treat a health condition when it becomes a problem. To us, wellness is a journey and a lifestyle, not a destination. Good habits and regular wellness practices can go a long way in promoting health and longevity.

You have the power.

Your body is a true miracle and has the natural power to heal itself. Modern medical science is still learning from our body's own healing mechanisms to combat illness. TCM seeks to promote the body's own healing abilities to restore your health to its optimal level.

Schedule your visit.

Good health is one visit away. Schedule your visit today.

StudiesTim Chow