Alternative medicine

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Acknowledgment of alternative medicine by the WHO

The WHO officially sees alternative medicine this way: "Traditional and complementary/alternative medicine is widely used in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of an extensive range of ailments. There are numerous factors that have led to the widespread and increasing appeal of traditional and complementary/alternative medicine throughout the world, particularly in the past 20 years. In some regions, traditional and complementary/alternative medicine is more accessible. In fact, one-third of the world's population and over half of the populations of the poorest parts of Asia and Africa do not have regular access to essential drugs. However, the most commonly reported reasons for using traditional and complementary/alternative medicine are that it is more affordable, more closely corresponds to the patient's ideology, and is less paternalistic than allopathic medicine. Regardless of why an individual uses it, traditional and complementary/alternative medicine provides an important health care service to persons both with and without geographic or financial access to allopathic medicine.

Traditional and complementary/alternative medicine has demonstrated efficacy in areas such as mental health, disease prevention, treatment of non-communicable diseases, and improvement of the quality of life for persons living with chronic diseases as well as for the ageing population. Although further research, clinical trials, and evaluations are needed, traditional and complementary/alternative medicine has shown great potential to meet a broad spectrum of health care needs." (, read 10.7.2018)