Free «Traditional and Complementary Modalities» Essay Sample

Traditional and Complementary Modalities


Complimentary and traditional therapies are important in nursing. Both methods of treatment can be combined to provide holistic healing of individuals affected (Denyer, Smith, Davies, Horne, Hankins, & Walker-Bone, 2012). The complimentary modality is usually used alongside conventional medical treatment. Although there are both similarities and differences between the two, they can be integrated together to give the best results.

Complementary and Traditional Modalities

The complimentary modality refers to the type of treatment with the primary aim to initiate healing, considering the holistic status of an individual using both traditional and conventional therapies (Denyer et al., 2012). The holistic state includes the mind, spirit and the body of a patient. Traditional therapy refers to a health practice that has evolved over time in a particular culture. Physical symptoms of an illness in the traditional modality include headaches, muscle aches, swelling, tingling, back pain, chest pain, and abdominal pain. These diseases are known for being related to pressure that must be realized for healing to occur.


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Traditional therapy includes the following methods. The first one called cupping refers to the process where a horn is placed on the affected area, and a vacuum is created on the skin by sucking using the mouth which causes a bruise. The second method commonly used is massaging (Denyer et al., 2012). The aim is to foster circulation and loosen body muscles, veins, and tendons. The third technique used is spooning; this refers to rubbing the skin with a flat edge and applying oil to smoothen the skin. Another method used is skin pricking with a needle. It is majorly done to release pressure and toxins in the affected area. The quantity and quality of blood released help to measure the strength of an injury in the affected area.

In preparation for writing the paper, I visited a tai chi practitioner Mr. D. During the visit, he illustrated tai chi and explained several issues concerning the complementary modality. According to my observation of the art, tai chi is composed of some movements and different postures with mental concentration, breathing in and out, and the relaxation of body muscles. Tai chi movements can be used for self-defense if it is practiced daily. However, according to Mr. D., the movements, mental concentration and controlled breathing have positive impacts on the control of pain and muscle relaxation. Therefore, tai chi can be used as a therapy in complementing the treatment of illnesses such as cancer among other diseases.


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Traditional and complementary modalities have some similarities. The latter are based on their curative and preventive functions. The following is a description of the comparison of the two therapies (Denyer et al., 2012). First, both modalities provide relief of pain. The traditional method, for example, skin pricking with a needle, helps to release pain and the accumulated blood in the area of an injury and acts as first aid to the patient, where conventional therapy is not around. Complimentary treatment, for example, walking after medical interventions, helps to exercise body muscles.

Secondly, both complimentary therapy and the traditional modality are done by experts. However, in the second case, the latter are elders who have experience in the area of treatment. For example, a person treating a disease like syphilis must know its signs to be able to identify which type of medicines (herbs) to use (Denyer et al., 2012). If the individual cannot do this, treatment will be ineffective. In complimentary therapy, a person administering an intervention technique like massaging should have the respective skills.

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Thirdly, both the traditional and complementary modalities have an incomplete insurance cover, which is quite low. Therefore, only the rich benefit from them at the expense of the poor. Moreover, when the government allocates funds to the traditional sector, this will leave conventional medicine with little and inadequate resources (Denyer et al., 2012). As a result, the poor purchase unregulated drugs from unlicensed vendors. Only those who can afford to pay for a insurance access regulated and traditional safe treatment approaches.

Fourthly, the research base of both complementary and traditionally modalities is quite poor. The safety and risks of the two approaches have not been researched throughly. Hence, there exist loopholes in the knowledge of side effects of drugs, either traditional or complementary (Gale, 2014). The long-term impact of therapies, including the allergic reaction of the body towards drugs and resistance that will be developed, is not expounded on.

Differences between Traditional and Complementary Modalities

Complimentary and traditional treatment approaches differ considerably. The former is administered together with the latter. Therefore, after attending a doctor, either traditional or modern one, an individual can be massaged or taking through a simple exercise for the strengthening of bones. On the other hand, he or she can forego conventional treatment and traditional therapy (Denyer et al., 2012). A person cannot combine the two at the same time. Secondly, the complementary modality is a type of treatment that is associated with people with high leaving standards. Those with less income may not qualify to use complementary therapy because they have low revenue and lack knowledge of the existing complementary therapies (Gale, 2014). Traditional medicine is mostly used to treat the poor who cannot afford conventional treatment. Moreover, they are exposed to procedures, which are not regulated and safe in many cases. It creates a gap between the poor and the rich in society.

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Benefits and Risks of Traditional and Complementary Modalities

Both traditional and complementary therapies have great significance to the individual and society as a whole. First, benefits of the traditional modality include providing the key public health healers, which helps solving the issue of inadequate health personnel in hospitals. Research shows that 60% of children are born in the hands of traditional healers (Gale, 2014). Secondly, traditional medicine acts as a basis for the production of other conventional drugs. Their use is evident since therapeutic medicines for malaria are manufactured from plants. Such drugs as quinine are derived from the traditional medical knowledge in Peru and China. Moreover, the traditional modality is also important since it cares for the poor in societies. Those who cannot afford conventional treatment seek help from traditional therapies. The latter are not expensive since they readily use the materials available in the environment and the cultural knowledge people have (Denyer et al., 2012).

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The complementary and traditional modalities have great importance for individuals, but also have challenges. Risks associated with these approaches include the following. First, service providers are not registered always. Therefore, they are not entirely answerable for their faults. Clients often doubt services that they provide, and it reduces their reliability. Secondly, the traditional and complementary modalities lack adequate evidence for their products. It makes it difficult for them to advertise the latter. In addition, they fail to give a doctor prescription of such drugs because of the lack of adequate research. Sometimes, doctors do not understand the dosage of a medicine they provide. Drugs are taken by the patient until one feels that he or she is healthy (Gale, 2014). The inefficient regulation of herbal medicines is another risk posed by the two modalities since some drugs are dangerous having adverse impacts on the people using them. It is a significant risk since they can cause the death of an individual being treated (Selby & Smith-Osborne, 2013). Insufficient regulations make the modalities more informal regarding their use. Therefore, it becomes hard to make the parties involved liable for any unethical behavior of physicians that have prescribed medicines. Such inadequate regulations as the requirement for a prescription note when buying drugs encourage people to combine therapies that sometimes may inhibit each other or even have adverse effects.

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The Combination of Traditional and Holistic Interventions

The combination of different types of treatment is usually used in chronic diseases (Gale, 2014). For instance, in the treatment of such illnesses as HIV/AIDS and various types of cancer, patients often prefer diverse means of treatment with the hope of getting better. In the case of AIDS, one may want to use traditional remedies to boost his or her immune system and at the same time use conventional treatment methods. In different types of cancer, complementary modalities are used in conjunction with traditional treatment or conventional methods to achieve a holistic treatment strategy to improve patient’s condition.


Both the complementary and traditional modalities are useful in the health sector. They can be used alongside the conventional treatment of patients. Traditional medical ideas are widespread around the globe being integrated into different health practices. They have been employed in the manufacturing process of other drugs or have been used as complements. The government should make a mechanism to support the work of both therapies (Gale, 2014). It can be done through adopting policies regulating these sectors. This strategy should ensure safety and quality of services they provide. In addition to supporting research on the modalities, governments should also formulate policies to ensure that the proper medical ethical considerations are made when people use complementary and traditional treatment.

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