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Any of a broad range of healing approaches not used in conventional Western medicine. Many are holistic (seeholistic medicine); many also emphasize prevention and education. Alternative therapies include acupuncture, aromatherapy, Ayurveda medicine, Chinese medicine, chiropractic, herbal medicine, homeopathy, massage, meditation, naturopathy, therapeutic touch, and Yoga. Though considered alternative in the West, such medicine is the main source of health care for up to 80% of people in less-developed countries. Some alternative-medicine practices are useless or harmful; others are effective and may offer treatments in areas where conventional approaches have not succeeded (e.g., chronic disorders).
Variants of ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
alternative medicine or complementary medicine
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on alternative medicine, visit Britannica.com.