Family Integrative Medicine encompasses a vast array of practices and systems from cultures around the world. It is often used in place of or alongside conventional treatments. But it is important to note that not all alternative treatments are safe or effective. Some even have negative effects or can cause injury if not properly followed. Many of these practices have not been tested in clinical trials or follow incorrect research protocols. The practice of alternative medicine should always be supervised by a trained medical doctor.
In Latin America, inequities against BIPOC communities keep them tied to traditional practices. These practices are often the only option for them to access health care. They may also be the only options they can afford. However, they can also impede their ability to get well and improve their quality of life by keeping them from accessing better treatment options.
Beyond Conventional Care: Embracing the Possibilities of Alternative Medicine
The practice of alternative medicine can include nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, dietary therapy, and more. However a lot of these therapies are not regulated as carefully as drugs. They are sometimes contaminated with harmful substances (such as mercury or lead) or they may not do what they claim to do. For example, some herbal remedies have been found to have no effect on illness or may interfere with certain medications.
In contrast, modern medicine uses the scientific method to test plausible therapies through responsible and ethical clinical trials that produce repeatable evidence of their effectiveness or lack thereof. Alternative medicine has not been subject to this scrutiny and relies on anecdotes, tradition, superstition, beliefs in supernatural “energies,” errors in reasoning, propaganda or fraud.