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alternative medicine

1.
healthcare and treatment practices, including traditional Chinese medicine, chiropractic, folk medicine, and naturopathy, that minimize or eschew the use of surgery and drugs.
Origin
1980-85
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for alternative medicine

alternative medicine

noun
1.
another name for complementary medicine See also holism (sense 2)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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alternative medicine in Science
alternative medicine
  (ôl-tûr'nə-tĭv)   
A variety of therapeutic or preventive health-care practices that are not typically taught or practiced in traditional medical communities and offer treatments that differ from standard medical practice. Homeopathy, herbal medicine, and acupuncture are types of alternative medicine.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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alternative medicine in Culture

alternative medicine definition


Medical practice or therapy that uses methods that have not been associated with the traditional, standard care most generally taught and executed by AMA-certified medical schools.

Note: Alternative medicine includes practices such as acupuncture, naturopathy, and chiropractic, as well as such therapies as chelation therapy, homeopathic remedies, and biofeedback. There has been an explosion of interest in alternative medicine in recent years.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for alternative medicine

Alternative and complementary medicine covers a broad range of healing philosophies, approaches, and therapies. The Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines alternative and complementary medicine as "those treatments and health care practices not taught widely in medical schools, not generally used in hospitals, and not usually reimbursed by medical insurance companies." Many of these therapies are holistic, which means that the health care practitioner considers the whole person, including his or her physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual characteristics. Many treatments are also preventive, the practitioner educating and treating the person to prevent health problems from arising rather than treating the patient after disease has already occurred. Some of the commonly used alternative and complementary therapies are acupuncture, Ayurveda, chiropractic, herbal medicine, homeopathy, massage, meditation, naturopathy, prayer, shamanism, therapeutic touch, and yoga.

Learn more about alternative medicine with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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