Complementary therapies in health care are not new. The use of herbs, oils, lying on of hands or the treatment of forms of energy within the human body appears to have existed in some form or another for thousands of year.
Social trends and cultural change similarly influences a person's health care beliefs. As a result ,some health care practices such as herbalist or healing have been the object of persecution during certain periods of social history .Perhaps current health care trends demanding choice in health care treatment are simply social trends and a response to consumer desire in the search for the 'Panacea for all ills'.
Interestingly the shift towards individualised forms of health care is not only occurring in one small area of western society but, according to the British Medical Association (BMA), a number of indicators suggest that there has been an increase in the use of non-conventional therapies not only in the UK but also in the US and in Europe.
Additionally, the successful use of preventive medicine and enhanced quality of health in the West has resulted in an increasingly critical reflection of the way in which health and illness is perceived and care meted out when treating disorders. There is growing recognition of the interplay between mind and body upon the state of an individual's health and wellbeing.
The reasons for increased interest and use of complementary therapies are not well understand ,though many opinions have been offered .Some have suggested that the move towards complementary therapies represents a '' flight from science ''(Smith ,1983).In all studies ,patients using complementary therapies tend to be those will relatively more education and higher incomes (Sharma ,1992).These results are 'not compatible with a picture of a patient unable to understand the medical possibilities or to make discriminating choices'(Fulder and Munro ,1985).
Complementary therapies ,which are generally used for chronic, as opposed to conventional treatment ,rather than as a replacement for it( Thomas et al.,1991).Patients seem rather to consider a range of therapeutic options including self-medication ,complementary therapies and will make use of different forms of medicine on different occasions ( Thomas et al.,1991;Eisenberg,Kessler and Foster ,1993).The average patient has a discriminating mix and match ,rather than on either approach to seeking advice and treatment for their ailments.
There are number of possible reasons for turning to complementary medicine .Some patients are 'pushed' because they may have become dissatisfied with orthodox medicine ,rejecting its reliance on high technology and wary of the dangers of invasive techniques and the toxicity of many drugs. Other are'pulled'because while they may retain a belief in the value and effectiveness of orthodox medicine, at least in certain areas, they may find some aspects of complementary medicine attractive .They may regard it as especially efficacious for some conditions and dealing more with the emotional aspects of the illness, or as having a spiritual dimension that is not seen as important in orthodox medicine.