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Alternative medicine is a term that gets used loosely today. This term refers to many types of products, services, and therapies for health problems, but usually is not traditional medicine. These alternative treatments often are outside the standards and practices of the main medical community for a reason, or they have not been found safe or work in health care.

Because of this, it is important to ask yourself certain questions and consider the answers, when it comes to alternative medicine. Here are the most important things to clarify, before embarking on any alternative treatments or therapies as a patient.

Why Does a Product or Service Use the Term Alternative Medicine?

Alternative health approaches call themselves that for a reason. Alternative medicine uses non-conventional practices in place of clinical medicine. Any approach which this isn’t true about would use the accepted terms of complementary or integrative health care. These terms refer to non-traditional approaches that work in tandem with conventional medicine. These also will be accepted as approaches approved by the FDA, AMA, or other overseer medical organizations.

Alternative medicine always refers to something outside of this accepted spectrum of therapies and treatments. So be on the lookout for this term in product and service advertising for alternative health care approaches.

Will It Have Side Effects or Interactions with Medications?

The big problem with many alternative health products are the side effects. Products may even display these in their advertising, but are still allowed to market them to the public, as alternative medical products or therapies. Such side effects can range from minor nuisances to potentially fatal health risks, either way this is never an advisable form of medicine.

Some products may also have interactive complications for patients that are taking traditional medications for health problems. Always make be very sure your current prescriptions do not conflict with dietary supplements, vitamins or other alternative products, before taking anything simultaneously.

Has the Product or Service Been Through Standard Clinical Trials?

If something is marketed as alternative medicine, it is a safe bet that is has not gone through most standard clinical trials. Medical treatments and products that are not standardized, carry greater risks and have not be studied thoroughly. This does not mean all of these alternatives are life threatening, simply that enough study has not been done on them to determine what their effects really are.

This is not good by traditional medical standards and it is not worth taking a chance on as a patient. Any physician will be able to research alternative medical therapies and given an honest recommendation about the research and development behind such possibilities.

Is This Something That Has Been Proven Safe and Does It Work?

Alternative products and medical services carry certain inherent risks, ones that most modern medical treatments do not. Without rigorous testing and science behind an alternative treatment, patients are left to trust their health to the standards set by companies selling untested products and services. This is the inherent problem with all types of treatment that fall into such categories.

If a product has not been proven safe, then it certainly has not been proven to work. Many alternative health products are simply not doing what they claim, so they are like a sugar cube placebo with no real health benefits. Also unverified medical therapies or treatments are unlikely to be covered by major healthcare insurance providers. So all the costs will likely come out of the patient’s pocket directly.

According to ACN SCAM, “Alternative medicine generates false hope in the minds of those who use it, and then invites them to pay handsomely for it. Many throw away thousands seeking miracle cures, when they could be spending that time, energy, and money on the pursuit of a happy life, and on treatments that actually work.”

There are many watch dog agencies, medical organizations, and nursing services that actively help oversee patient safety, when it comes to alternative medicine today. Before using any alternative medicine, be sure to consult your current physician or doctor’s office for your own health safety. That way, nobody is selling you false hopes or putting your health at risk unnecessarily. It just makes good common sense, because health is the most valuable thing in a person’s life.