By definition, alternative medicine is the practice of medicine without the use of drugs. Doctors sometimes call it complementary medicine. Some complementary techniques are dietary or exercise changes. Alternative medicine is sometimes used to support medical treatment in which drugs are used. This kind of medicine does not follow generally accepted medical methods and may not have a scientific explanation for its effectiveness. Some doctors say it is unscientific, while others try to combine it with conventional medicine. (Conventional medicine refers to medicine in which drugs are used.) Conventional medicine is when doctors use symptoms and medical tests to determine the problem and prescribe a treatment. It is diagnosis lead. Alternative medicine is now the largest growing industry in health care. .
In the second half of the 1900's, people became more aware of alternative medicine and began to use it more instead of conventional medicine. Many began to use because of the risk, cost and inability of conventional medicine to cure common diseases. Today, even though its not proven to actually work, some people use it because they think that surgery should be a last resort, doctors prescribe prescriptions for no reasons, or that the doctor focuses too much on the disorder being cured rather than the patient. Dr. Spiegal, a professor at Stanford University said, "Patients want to be treated as a whole person, not just a disease. They want to be active participants in their treatment, they want better communication with the practitioner and want treatments that arent worse than their diseases." According to Landmark Healthcare Inc., an alternative care company in Sacramento, California, by 1997 42% of American adults used a type of alternative medicine. Other studies have been conducted since then, that show a 71% of people predicting a future increase in alternative medicine and that more people make more annual visits to alternative care practitioners like acupuncturists, chiropractors, herbalists, massage therapists, etc.