Why Millions Use And Believe In Alternative Medicine

Why Millions Use And Believe In Alternative Medicine

The National Center for Complementary ad Integrative Health defines Alternative Medicine as any non-conventional interventions that are used in the place of conventional treatments. Such interventions can include acupuncture and herbal remedies among several others (Huang, 2017).

Alternative medicine has been relied on by people for years and continues to be used and believed in by millions of people each day. The National Health Interview Survey reports that approximately 38% of adults (4/10) and approximately 12% of kids (1/9) use some form of alternative medicine (Avery, 2019).

History & Culture

Alternative medicine is rooted in ancient civilizations. Many of the practices of alternative medicine, including homeopathy, herbalism, and Ayurveda have been in existence for centuries. The long history of the practice of many alternative medicine practices serves as proof of its effectiveness and reliability.

The fact that people have used these practices for years and they have continued to thrive supports the idea that they have value. Additionally, many people like the idea that these practices are rooted in cultural origins and roots versus medicine, making them more meaningful or valuable for some because they are tied to spiritual practices or have deeper meaning and beliefs behind them (Avery, 2019).


The modern healthcare system is incredibly expensive, particularly in the United States. High administrative costs and a lack of political support has prevented the government from taking a larger role in controlling healthcare costs, thus driving costs up. Plus, many hospitals and medication companies have become for-profit businesses, again driving up costs for consumers (Investopedia, 2015).

These costs have made it too expensive for many people to treat or manage their health using traditional medical approaches. Thus, alternative medicine options such as essential oils or herbs can become a more wallet-friendly means of managing their health than visiting a doctor or using a prescription while still allowing them to meet their basic daily needs (Avery, 2019).


Many people turn to alternative medicine as a means of taking more control over their health. Often people feel trapped in a traditional healthcare system that does not value them as an individual but rather treats them as a number. There seems to be more focus on treating symptoms than the root cause of an ailment, and people can feel lost and as if they have little input in the overall process.

Alternative medicine allows people to be actively involved in their treatment and often times they are the ones doling out their own “treatment” so they know exactly what is going into their care. This allows them to be informed about their health and empowers them to advocate for themselves and make decisions for themselves (Avery, 2019).


There is a lot of skepticism about the safety of the procedures and ingredients being used in the healthcare system. While the medications and procedures may have benefits and my work, there are risky side effects and risks that leave many people leery.

Alternative medicine, on the other hand, tends to pose far fewer risks and have far fewer side effects for many people. This makes alternative medicine a safer option that many people feel much more comfortable with utilizing consistently (Avery, 2019).

Improve Lifestyle & Health

Simply put, many people experience a positive change in their overall health and wellness as a result of implementing alternative health options in their lives. Often people note an improvement in symptoms of chronic pain, decreased headaches/migraines, decreased nausea, and other lifestyle improvements associate with alternative medicine options such as

acupuncture, essential oils, herbal remedies, massage therapy, or other options (Avery, 2019).

Alternative medicine is and will continue to be relied upon by many people. Its rich history, affordability, the amount of control and safety it offers people, and the benefits it seems to provide its users go a long way for speaking to the overall popularity of the practice. Thus, alternative medicine will likely continue to thrive and be sustained for centuries to come.


  • Avery, J. (2019, March 15). 5 reasons millions of people use alternative medicine. Farm Homestead. https://farmhomestead.com/5-reasons-people-use-alternative-medicine/
  • Huang, C. (2017, July 12). https://www.usnews.com/news/healthcare-of-tomorrow/articles/2017-07-12/what-is-alternative-medicine
  • Investopedia. (2015, August 6). 6 reasons healthcare is so expensive in the U.S. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/080615/6-reasons-healthcare-so-expensive-us.asp