Alternative Medicine Benefits Under Health Insurance

Alternative medicines or treatments encompass a wide range of therapies and medicinal prescriptions that are not conventional to the medical profession. Such kinds of treatments have existed for hundreds and thousands of years.

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Alternative Medicine Insights

As per a Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) survey, around 48% of the UAE’s population has tried complementary and alternative medicine, of which nearly 55% were happy with the results. The UAE is one of the first countries to include alternative medicines and treatments like homoeopathy in their health insurance system.

In this write-up, we will understand more about alternative medicines/treatments, their types, overall benefits, and more. 

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What is Alternative Medicine/Treatment?

Alternative medicine includes medicines or treatments that aim to heal an individual despite their lack of testing, evidence of effectiveness, testability, and biological plausibility. It is a category of medicines that are not widely practised by the mainstream, allopathy doctors.

In today’s scenario, such medicine practice is being widely used for treating common illnesses like depression, stress allergies, child health issues, and anxiety. The practice is gaining popularity for its focus on holistic treatment as most of the branches of this medicine focus on both internal and external systems.

In the forthcoming section, we will find out more about the types of alternative medicines.

Note: The alternative medicines covered are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

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Types of Alternative Medicines or Treatment Available

Discussed below are the major alternative medicines types -

  • Acupuncture - This healing system was developed in China and involves the use of thin yet solid metallic needles to stimulate the anatomical points in the patient’s body (called Meridians). 
  • Chiropractic - This branch of alternative medicine emphasises the relationship between body structure and its function. It also deals in how this relationship affects the preservation and restoration of overall health. 
  • Homoeopathy - This medicine system originated in Europe and has the core principle of “like cures like”. Here, small, highly diluted amounts of medicine are prescribed to cure symptoms of a disease. 
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine - It is a comprehensive medical system that originated in ancient China and has evolved ever since. This medical practice has been employed to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness by stimulating the body’s own healing processes.The list of practices included under this category includes acupuncture and acupressure, nutritional therapy, restorative physical exercise, meditation, Chinese massage, herbal medicine, and more. 
  • Ayurveda - Known to be one of the oldest medicine systems in the world that originated in India thousands of years ago, this medicine practice aims to integrate body, mind, and spirit to prevent and treat diseases through therapeutic massages, herbs, yoga, and more. 
  • Herbal Medicine - In this medicine treatment, herbs, herbal materials, or finished products created from plants that contain active substances for treating different diseases are utilised. 
  • Naturopathy - This medicine system emerged in Europe and works on supporting the body’s capacity to heal itself using dietary and lifestyle changes along with complementary therapies like herbal medicines, joint manipulation, and massage therapy. 
  • Unani Medicine - This is an ancient Greek medicine practice based on the concept of balancing the body’s humours - blood, black bile, yellow bile, and phlegm. The system uses 4 elements - Earth, water, fire, and mare as well as 4 natures - hot, wet, cold, and dry to heal the body. 
  • Osteopathy - As per this therapy, diseases arise in the musculoskeletal system. This therapy was established on the belief that all the systems in the body work together — disturbance in one system can affect the function of the entire body. This alternative medicine aims to alleviate pain, restore bodily functions, and facilitate overall well-being. 
  • Hijama/Cupping - This is an ancient alternative healing technique where a local suction is created on the skin. This increases the blood flow in the body, which is believed to promote healing. The suction is created either using heat or mechanical devices.

Benefits of Alternative Medicines/Treatment

The following are the benefits usually associated with alternative medicines/treatments -

  • Alternative medicines are considered to present a holistic approach to healthcare that addresses the gaps in the conventional medicine system.
  • It is believed to have minimal side effects and is usually more affordable than other medicine forms.

Gain further insights into alternative medicines by reading the following frequently asked questions section. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Are all alternative medicines covered under health insurance?

Ans: No, all alternative medicines are not covered under most health insurance plans provided by insurance providers. It is important to check all the terms and conditions before buying a health insurance plan.

Q2. Is the claim process different for alternative medicine and allopathic medicine?

Ans: There are no major differences in the claim process. However, you should still read the underwriting carefully before filing the claim.

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