Conventional vs Alternative » Evelyn's Mark
Mark is the founder, raw vegan, food guru, coach & nutritional specialist at Evelyn's Mark, a raw vegan retreat for the health conscious.
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Conventional vs Alternative vs Integrative vs Systems Medicine

You may have heard of all of these terms previously and wondered – “what exactly are the differences between all of them?” To make it easier we have provided a synopsis of each, which should help with understanding the distinctions.


Conventional Medicine is the practice by which the western world is automatically subscribed to from birth. It is the diagnoses and treatments afforded to us by the current medical system of hospitals, doctors, nurses, professors, university degrees, pharmacists and prescribed medicines. It is the only fully and officially recognised healthcare system and one that requires education of all involved in the system to be of a particular standard.


Alternative Medicine is the practice of methods for diagnosing and treating health issues using a more natural approach that is more harmonious to the body.


Diagnosing and treating will typically not involve any conventional medication and would almost certainly observe foods, herbs and natural sources of nutrients, together with practices of detoxification, meditation, energetic work, exercise etc. Alternative Medicine has been used and favoured for thousands of years until the emergence of allopathic medicine, more commonly known as ‘conventional’ medicine.


Examples of alternative practices would be: Herbology, Acupuncture, Nutrition Therapy, Massage, Yoga and Meditation among many others. Alternative Medicine or Complementary Medicine are very large umbrella terms used to describe practices whose roots are embedded in nature first and foremost.


Integrative Medicine is the practice of trying to pool together the best of both conventional and alternative medicines and practices. It is much less common than the first two, but integrative medicine has grown in popularity by both doctors and patients alike, as more and more patients are preferring not to limit themselves to one particular manner of treatment, and doctors who seek to learn outside of their traditional field are too enjoying the process of becoming more well-rounded in their profession.


Systems Medicine is a term that is slightly less recognised, even though it is properly defined in the Encyclopaedia. The practice of Systems Medicine is to observe and cognise all the systems of the body as part of the whole in order to glean a much more comprehensive understanding of the patient and the problems presented. Interestingly, in Alternative Medicine this is referred to as ‘Holistic’. Systems Medicine does not define itself as being Conventional or Alternative, it leaves the concept open to interpretation of the practitioner.

All of these lines of medicine each have their place in the world. There is not one that is categorically better than the others for everything, so it’s a great idea to always do research that can better equip you for whatever choice it is that you will eventually make.