Our lives follow a natural discourse. For example, if the season changes and it is suddenly winter you are more likely to get sick. This cause and effect is inherent to our physiology and sociology because it also affects are methodology. The discourse of causality and the accompanying methodology can also be applied to medicine. We prescribe, induce and hope for the best. However, there is a disruption in the pragmatic nature of medicine. People are not as trusting as they once were in regards to pharmaceuticals and manufactured drugs. There have been high profile cases of corruption, incompetence and fatality. Due to this there has been an influx of interest in alternative medicine. Alternative medicine may out source prescription drugs in the future and many pharmaceutical companies are beginning to incorporate natural substances into their products so they can cross the event horizon unscathed and within profit.
In 2001, Kate Wong of Scientific America once said, “Bio-prospecting is tedious work and on average only one in thousands of natural compounds tested show pharmaceuticals promise and only a handful of those make it to the market. Yet, despite the risk of failure, researchers press on, driven by the realization that nature is the ultimate chemist”. In 2001, natural resources are considered to be the driving force within medicine. Both the perception and sale of alternative medicine is improving. Studies show that the general public is turning towards alternative method but for what reason?
A study called ‘Complementary and alternative medicine versus prescription drugs: Perceptions of emergency department patients’, examined the perceptions between prescription drugs and (CAM) complementary and alternative medicines. The main variables judged the perceptions of people’s safety and efficacy. The reasons why the CAM users perceived this alternative more favourably are very surprising. For example, small numbers believe that they use CAM’s because of the unsafe nature of the prescription drugs. In regards to this study, it is unlikely that the relationship between the perception of pharmaceutical drugs being unsafe and the use of a safer alternative such as CAM are mutual. Furthermore, the study shows that the concept of naturalness is not pre-requisite for nullifying harmlessness. In light of this, the considerable portion of patients in the study believed that CAM’s are drug free and that it is safe to combine CAM with prescription drugs. This is not true since natural resources can have by-products that are either stimulating or psychoactive in nature. Overall, the studies subject pool seemed to attribute their positive perceptions to a natural resource such as CAM and negative perceptions towards prescription drugs.
Matt McMillen from WebMD said, “That in 1990 a third of all Americans have used some form of CAM. By 2002, the number of people who had tried CAM has nearly doubled”. This exponential rise in regards to CAM can be attributed to many things. People adapt in relation to social climates and our current social climate is based on the monetary system. Therefore, the rise of alternative medicine is most likely due to the social economic and more specifically, the inability to afford health care. Sociologist Dejun Su, PHD, from the University of Texas-Pan American agrees that the rise in CAM products is in direct relationship with the current state of social economics. Su says that, “The rising cost of health care is outpacing inflation and salaries, and there is a good possibility that it is linked to increasing CAM use”. Due to this more people are turning to cheaper alternatives and there is nothing more cost affective than something that grows out of the ground. Paired with the influx in information in regards to natural produce due sharing platforms such as social media and you start to see the bigger picture. It is not just one singular factor that is defining the rise in alternative medicine.
In fact, there are a number of contributing factors when considering the popularity of CAM’s. More people are looking for ways to become self-sufficient so they can save money as well as live healthier lifestyles. Another important factor includes the collective movement towards more naturally sourced processes. The green movement has inspired people to develop energy, food and materials more organically. I believe that medicine is the by-product of that.
This article was written by Christopher Simon, who works as a blogger for Origym. Origym provide personal trainer courses to a number of students across the UK.