Medicine is the science and practice of caring for a patient, managing the diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, treatment, palliation of their injury or disease, and promoting their health. Medicine encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness. Contemporary medicine applies biomedical sciences, biomedical research, genetics, and medical technology to diagnose, treat, and prevent injury and disease, typically through pharmaceuticals or surgery, but also through therapies as diverse as psychotherapy, external splints and traction, medical devices, biologics, and ionizing radiation, amongst others.
There are different perspectives, systems and cultures in medicine. There is a mainstream based on western thought and science, sometimes called mainstream medicine or conventional medicine. Besides that there are systems with different cultural origin, or different paradigms. These bear different names like traditional medicine, alternative medicine or complementary medicine. An impulse of integration of different medical approaches lives in integrative medicine.
Script error: No such module "main". The World Health Organization (WHO) defines traditional medicine as "the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness." Practices known as traditional medicines include Ayurveda, Siddha medicine, Unani, ancient Iranian medicine, Irani, Islamic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, traditional Korean medicine, acupuncture, Muti, Ifá, and traditional African medicine.
The WHO stated that "inappropriate use of traditional medicines or practices can have negative or dangerous effects" and that "further research is needed to ascertain the efficacy and safety" of several of the practices and medicinal plants used by traditional medicine systems. As an example practitioners of traditional medicine are not authorized to practice medicine in India unless trained at a qualified medical institution, registered with the government, and listed as registered physicians annually in The Gazette of India.
Evidence on the effectiveness of the alternative medicine practice of acupuncture is "variable and inconsistent" for any condition, but is generally safe when done by an appropriately trained practitioner.
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