The presence and awareness of a modern therapeutic paradigm is characterized by settings, situations and places that integrate psychological and physical environments; these are critical to treatment and healing. Significantly, holistic approaches to health uses complementary medicine to demonstrate defined humanistic concepts in furthering the examination of emerging therapeutic practices. For instance, acupuncture is among the alternative medicine treatment techniques that has commanded a significant presence and remains persuasively attractive to the modern world health applications. However, the degree in which alternative medicine has clinical efficacy is subject to the ongoing debate and research. While the clinical efficacy of alternative medicine is subjective to the medical Practitioner’s scientific opinion; a significant number of patients have sought alternative medicine, more so, acupuncture on the premise that it is a potent method of treating ailments which the conventional medicine is unable to treat.
This perception is reinforced on the basis of traditional and cultural beliefs on the effectiveness of alternative medicine. The characterization of alternative medicine as integrating practices that are influenced through diverse cultural, social and economic bias overlooks the cultural dimensions of alternative medicine. Consequently, this aspect has led to the development of deferential definitions in respect to alternative and conventional medicine; thus widening the gap existing between the two practices. As a result, the development of biomedicine development is derailed as a result of its association with technology and scientific sophistication in contrast to alternative medicine such as acupuncture which are perceived as primitive and simple.
Holistic approaches towards health care should not perceive the subscription to alternative medicine as a backward abandonment of scientific development; however, both alternative and conventional medicine are scientific integrate science in their practices in reinforcing their respective moral authority, self definition and legitimizing the power of their service. Meanwhile, the characterization of alternative medicine as traditional and unscientific fails to recognize the intensity of alternative medicine training. This may involve prolonged periods of studying complex bases, relations and intricate identifications of causalities and subsequent empirical testing of applicable practices (Clarke, Doel and Segrott, 2004 p. 332). For instance, in acupuncture the assumptions underlying a defined procedure may differ fundamentally with biomedical model assumptions.
A distinct feature of alternative medicine practices is that it is premised on cultural and traditional experiences over time; therefore, these do not adopt the notion of controlled research exercises such as clinical experiments, which are undertaken under controlled environments as is the case with conventional biomedicine. In light of this, alternative medicine can be appraised as a patient friendly practice. Hence, it can be described as a practice based on solidarity, holism and unity in contrast to neutral, distant and statistical conventional depicted by modern science. This is because alternative medicine such as acupuncture is person centered practices which is the ultimate measure of quantifying the success of the treatment process; this characterizes the hallmark for the treatment process’s authenticity. As a result, it is not premised on trial and error practice nor are there any placebo effect issues impacting on the integrity of alternative medicine treatment processes and outcomes (kaptuchuk 2002).
It is evident that the inclusion of alternative medicine in a holistic approach towards modern scientific paradigms is essential. This because alternative medicine is not influenced through radical observations and skepticism; furthermore, alternative medicine appeals to the peoples beliefs through selective appropriation of normal scientific research. For instance, consumers are infatuated with acupuncture; meanwhile their hope for the success of acupuncture is premised on its ability to exceed scientific constraints. The premise that acupuncture primarily originated from the Chinese is incorrect; various forms of acupuncture are identifiable to various indigenous societies across the world including the United Kingdom. Thus, the holistic approach towards modern scientific paradigm in health care should incorporate the alternative and contemporary application of acupuncture in medical care and therapeutic procedures.
There is a need to incorporate acupuncture based research in medical models that are readily acceptable in the United Kingdom; as such, it proves to be a significant asset in the development of health care systems and inherent therapeutic applications. A significant number of private medical institutions in the UK have incorporated the use of acupuncture in their therapeutic programs as such it is cited as among the consistently used therapeutic and treatment methods (British Acupuncture council, 2011). It is estimated that over seven percent of people in the UK have at one time or other, received medical and therapeutic treatment using acupuncture; where the treatment is administered by alternative medicine specialists without other conventional medical or nursing qualifications. Additionally, the British Medical Acupuncture Society has in its membership over 2000 medical practitioners who have implemented the use of acupuncture in their hospitals (British Acupuncture council, 2011).
Acupuncture is administered through a process where stimulation to defined points in the human anatomy is made; this is achieved through the use of sharp objects such as needles. The administration of acupuncture requires an intimate knowledge of the human anatomy; hence, alternative medicines Practitioners interpret health on the basis of energy flow in the body’s meridians. As a result, a healthy individual must have the adequate strength in the energy flow along the meridians and body organs. However, a significant percentage of emerging acupuncturists have abandoned the concept of energy flow along the body’s meridians; these have instead linked acupuncture with corresponding physical and psychological functions where diagnosis is premised on modern conventional interpretation.
One of the applications of acupuncture is in relieving pain. Pain is an automated response by the brain indicating that a defined part of the body that is experiencing discomfort. Acupuncture serves as a medium within which pain is relieved. The transmission of signals resulting to pain from a defined part of the body is through a network of pathways described as the meridian networks. Acupuncture seeks to stop the pain from occurring through blocking the transmission of these signals to the brain. The placement of needles in strategic nerve centers will relieve the pain or stop it completely. Acupuncture’s functionality is premised on its ability to block pain through stopping transmission of signals to the brain or by subsequent stimulation of the brain to release endorphins.
Research towards Acupuncture’s ability in stimulating the brain to release endorphins gives it significant advantage over other methods used in relieving pain. Endorphins are criticl components in relieving pain; which act through giving a patient a euphoric state which mask’s the pain; hence leading to pain relief. The administration of acupuncture requires an experienced and knowledgeable acupuncturist. The nerve centers where needles are to be placed require keen attention in order t achieve the desired pain relief; therefore, the fundamental principle is to trick the brain’s perception of pain (Radiology Society of North America, 2010).
Acupuncture’s application also extends to the treatment of diseases and infections. A wide range of studies has been conducted to ascertain its relevance and effectiveness in treating cancer related cases. These studies have made clear findings that the effects resulting from cancer treatments can abate if acupuncture is used. Acupuncture serves as a therapeutic alternative to these patients; meanwhile, its significant function is to relieve pain resulting from cancerous infections and treatments (Adeline, et al., 2010, p. 811-816). In men, suffering from severe cases of prostatitis acupuncture appears to give a degree of relief to the pain they experience. The effects of hormone therapy in curbing prostate cancer leaves the patient experiencing hot flashes. The study suggests that the use of acupuncture helps to mitigate the effects of the hormone therapy. Acupuncture achieves this by reducing the severity of the hot flashes that patients’ experience (Radiology Society of North America, 2010).
Acupuncture’s functions in cancer cases extend to the relief of nausea to patients experiencing the after-effects of radiotherapy. Although the effects of acupuncture to these patients is dependent upon the methods of administration, and the intensity of the care given to these patients. Motivation and encouragement enhance the effectiveness of acupuncture (Radiology Society of North America, 2010). Studies into the effectiveness of acupuncture in reducing the frequency of hiccups in cancer patients under treatment were significantly successful. The study established acupuncture as an effective method of reducing hiccups enabling comfortable recovery from cancer treatments (Adeline, et al., 2010, p. 811-816).
These studies have made it significantly clear that acupuncture is an effective and reliable technique of solving health related issues. Acupuncture’s effectiveness and success where modern medicine has failed make it more readily acceptable to most people. Acupuncture as an alternative medicine has its merits in that; it requires few types of equipment for successful administration than the pre-requisites of modern medicine. The side effects of acupuncture are minimal if they exist at all. The general conclusion of all the studies is that acupuncture is an effective and relatively safe method of treating pain and diseases.
Meanwhile, there is a dire need for an impeachable systematic approach aimed at ensuring the safety of acupuncture. This should entail a thorough systematic evaluation of all applicable aspects of the practices including clinical practices, professionalism and patient care in order to ensure that all medical practitioner’s protocols and regulations are observed. Significantly, it is critical to ensure that safety standards are implemented to avoid physical injury during the administration of acupuncture such as injuries to internal organs, nerve damage and bleeding.
Though the benefits of acupuncture as an alternative medicine are significant, it has its shortcomings. Some scholars are of the view that acupuncture’s ability to relieve pain is temporary and cannot be depended on to act as a permanent method of relieving pain. Suggestions made indicate that acupuncture relies immensely on the patient’s conviction of pain relief once the procedure is complete. The individual’s mind set and belief of acupuncture as a method of relieving pain makes them experience relief (Radiology Society of North America, 2010). Therefore, the notion that acupuncture has a placebo effect where it makes people feel physically and psychotically better but does not change anything physiologically is to some extent merited.
However, studies have proved that acupuncture provokes defined brain responses; therefore, shedding light on its impacts on the alleviating the human body’s pain. As a result, a significant number of western trained medical practitioners have embraced eastern alternative medicine. Professionalization is among the key factors that governments, patient groups and the media focus on as a result of their concerns for consumer and patient wellbeing. Furthermore, the possible integration of alternative medicine such as acupuncture into public funded health services is among the motivators for such intense focus on professionalism in health care (Clarke, Doel and Segrott, 2004 p. 330). Therefore, medical practitioner associations have integrated professionalism in their strategic management of healthcare.
While a significant number of medical Practitioners are receptive towards the integration of acupuncture into modern biomedicine administration; only defined aspects of alternative medicine are capable of being integrated. Therefore, the notion of a holistic approach towards health care is significantly influenced by modern biomedical preferences. This is premised on the notion that modern conventional medicine is authenticated through scientific processes and research; therefore, the subsequent results are quantifiable in scientific terms.
In the UK, alternative medicine is compared to biomedicine in orthodox treatment procedures; this has led to the developed of a holistic approach aimed at integrating the strengths of alternative medicine with those of conventional biomedicine. This has led to an inclusive amalgamation of medical practices in developing a holistic outlook towards health care development. However, while acupuncture and other forms of alternative medicine are essential in this respect; not all aspects of alternative medicine can be integrated into the development of a holistic approach. Thus, the medical profession in the UK has continued to be increasingly unified in respect to biomedicine assuming a holistic attitude towards alternative health care.
In light of this, the assimilation, usage and acceptance of alternative medicine, more so, acupuncture in modern medical practices geared towards the development of an effective holistic medical model assumes that alternative and contemporary medicine succeeds in being integrated in medical learning curriculums since acupuncture is widely recognized by the British Medical Association. Hence, medical Practitioner’s in the UK who are already practicing alternative medicine can be perceived as mediators between public demand for treatment and evidence based approach towards the provision of medical services.
As a result, it is inevitable that social and economic pressures will drive a significant percentage of patients to seek alternative and contemporary medicine. Consequently, acupuncture has been widely accepted in the UK especially in instances where conventional medicine has failed to offer relief or is incapable of sufficiently addressing the patient’s health condition. Therefore in order to mitigate these issues a significant number of hospitals in the UK have integrated acupuncture into their medical practices with the help of the Foundation for Integrated Medicine (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012)
While a holistic approach is critical towards the provision of health care is beneficial, increased input into qualitative research in respect to acupuncture is required. Meanwhile, a critical evaluation towards acupuncture’s integration into medical learning curriculums is needed. These will enable medical Practitioner’s in the UK to appreciate the vital contributions of alternative and contemporary medicine; while developing medical paradigms that are holistic in nature.
Alternative medicine contributes to a large extent to the general health care of a significant number of people in the United Kingdom. The widespread use of acupuncture and belief in its effectiveness makes it a formidable resource that cannot be ignored. Acupuncture is a valuable contributor to the health care of a large percentage of individuals across the social and economic divide (Leung and Cheng, 2004). The studies conducted are conclusive proof to this fact; where the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating pain and other ailments is evident. Though, it has its shortcomings it is clear that its benefits are tremendous. Therefore, the claims of alternative medicine in regard to the viability of acupuncture as a means of treating ailments and relieving pain are true and accurate.
The benefits accruing from acupuncture are significant to the United Kingdom population given their economic disparity. Acupuncture is a low cost form of treatment and does not require a lot of financial resources. Its effectiveness in treating ailments that arise as a result of using modern medicine makes it a valuable resource. The National Health Service and the government should allocate more resources into the research and training of acupuncture techniques and methodologies. The contributions of acupuncture in the United Kingdom afford it attention and significant appreciation.
Although a significant number of people approve the use of acupuncture as an alternative medicine, there are those who do not believe in its practice. Their argument is that the use of needles on the basis of correcting life energy in individuals is a farce and has no scientific basis; therefore, there is no proof of acupuncture's effectiveness. They believe that only modern medicine can offer quality health care. Its practice is not scientific; therefore, the results arising from the use of Chinese medicine are not quantifiable and no relevant reliance to the health industry.