Complementary modern health care system, individuals are


and alternative medicine should be formally provided as part of the mainstream
health care. These methods are only helpful to the patient, as they increase
the recovery and prevention of the illness in healthy, natural ways. Mainstream
health care is a system in which doctors follow to treat the patient’s illness
or injury using techniques involving drugs, radiation or surgery. Canada’s
mainstream health care system not only provides beneficial advantages for the
population but also has disadvantages which may alter the publics’ decisions
for health care treatment. On the rise, complementary and alternative medicine
is “diverse systems of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention based on
philosophies and techniques other than those used in conventional western
medicine” (Strohschein, Weitz p.191). Three examples of this treatment include
natural health products, mind and body practices, and other complementary health
approaches like homeopathy and naturopathy. In order to better the mainstream
healthcare system, complementary and alternative medicine would give Canadians
multiple resources to better their health and sustain a fit lifestyle.

mainstream health care system now involves only a few standard ways of curing
illness and injury which includes, drugs, radiation, and surgery. Under the
modern health care system, individuals are provided with these methods along
with dental surgery no matter what income, medical history or standard of
living is. Having complementary health care is lucky for Canadians; however,
the government should offer alternative medicine as part of the standard
mainstream health care system. This is where the disadvantages of the mainstream
health care come into play and could be fixed if they incorporated alternative
medicine. The mainstream health care may be free, but it also suffers from long
wait times to see a doctor, to get into emergency rooms, and even a longer wait
time for the problem to be diagnosed and treated. These wait times may put the
specific individuals at risk while they wait for a surgery or their condition
may deteriorate with these long hours, or sometimes, even days. These waits
could be solved through the idea of adding alternative medicine to the basic
health care plan, as it would provide other remedies for treatment at a faster
pace – there is more than one option for alternative treatment, therefore
everyone would not be at the same place. The Canadian health care system has
only little disadvantage, however complementary and alternative medicine can
improve it significantly.

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mainstream medicine – which is mostly based on scientific facts and focused on
proof, and often uses trials to demonstrate the benefits and harms of a
treatment – alternative medicine consists of practices which claim to have
healing effects similar to medicine. Complementary and alternative medicine is
defined as any medical system, product or practice that is not thought of as a
standard form of care (Born and Laupacis, 2011). There has been a significant
increase of some of the forms of alternative medicine; comparing the years of
1997, 2006 and 2016 (see Appendix A). Studies show that more than 70% of
Canadians regularly use complementary and alternative health care therapies
such as vitamins and minerals, herbal products, homeopathic medicines and other
health products to stay healthy and improve their quality of life (Government
of Canada, 2008). It is easy to see numerous benefits of an individual choosing
to use alternative medicine to better their health. An advantage of this is
something termed as “whole-body care”. Professionals and specialists of
alternative medicine claim that not just the physical body is affected by these
practices but also the individual’s emotional and spiritual health. Another
simple advantage of alternative medicine is its focus on prevention of
sickness. Traditional medicine often focuses on the aspect to cure diseases as
they are present, whereas many types of alternative medicine encourage
individuals to get treatment which prevents disease before it can occur.

There are few
disadvantages to alternative medicine, one being the lack of scientific
research – the main reason for limited information is because of the high
expense of research. Many types of alternative medicine have not yet been
scientifically proven, and therefore there are unanswered questions which make
individuals uneasy about using these forms of medicine. Some people may have
doubts about complementary and alternative medicine but many people trust the
various forms available, as they have helped them significantly. From the many
types of complementary and alternative medicines available, the most common are
natural health products, mind and body practices, and other complementary
health approaches such as homeopathy and naturopathy.

Natural health
products are a popular alternative medicine that people are using in order to
bring back or maintain a good, healthy lifestyle. These supplements are known
popularly as vitamins and minerals, herbal medicines, probiotics, and amino
acids, among many others. Natural products can come in multiple types, but
widely known in the forms of tablets, capsules, creams and, ointments. It is
important to know possible risks that are accompanied by such natural health
products, which may include manufacturing problems such as contamination,
unproven claims which may lead people to misuse the product, not enough
information, or even unwanted side effects such as an allergic reaction.
However, it is important to note that the Natural Health Products Directorate
(NHPD) of Health Canada has created rules to make sure that all Canadians have
access to natural health products which are safe, effective and of high
quality, all while obeying personal choice, and philosophical and cultural
diversity (Government of Canada, 2013).

Mind and body
practices is another type of complementary and alternative medicine. These
methods are used to enhance the health and well-being or manage health symptoms
and problems. Some methods of this are meditation, yoga, spinal manipulation,
acupuncture and massage therapy. Mind body practices have had studies done and
it shows that yoga can benefit cancer patients as this technique lowers
distress and improves quality of life. A specific example is that it improves
their sleep, causing them to be less tired and lower levels of the stress
hormone causing them to be happier just by doing yoga. Also, studies have shown
that yoga has improved people with arthritis in the knees. Just a few weeks of
yoga and they got improvements in their walking and because they are able to
walk more with less pain it has made them happier. Massage therapy has a
technique that can help relieve neck pain causing headaches and migraines to go
away. Those are just a few of many examples of how mind body practices can fix
the problem and at the same time improve the attitude of the patient as well.
This is all without any drugs or cream just all natural healthy ways to improve
people’s health.

The last type of
complementary and alternative therapy are other forms such as homeopathy and
naturopathy. Homeopathy is an approach where they use a very small dose of
natural substances that in a healthy person would produce symptoms of a
disease. Homeopathy is encouraged for individuals because of its major benefits
like all aspects of the patient are considered, low doses of products are used,
it helps treat allergies and asthma, it can reduce anxiety and depression and
most importantly, it controls pain. Naturopathy is therapy in which disease can
be successfully treated without drugs and with techniques such as control of
diet, exercise, and massage. Naturopathy is considered a good option for
individuals who might not find relief for their chronic illnesses with the use
of traditional medicine provided in our healthcare system. For instance,
naturopathy is highly encouraged to help ease the side effects of patients
going through chemotherapy. Both these forms of alternative therapy offer
patients a different approach to curing diseases.

 Overall, improving Canada’s modern health care
system by offering the population with different medical selections through
complementary and alternative medicine would be beneficial.  Considering the advantages and disadvantages
of our health care system allows us to appreciate the great convenience which
contemporary and alternative therapies would provide for the public. Expanding one’s
knowledge about natural health products, mind and body practices, and other
forms such as homeopathy and naturopathy, can easily educate individuals about
other medical options available.