Esoteric Medicine: is it complementary or alternative medicine and what’s the difference?

by Eunice J Minford MBChB MA FRCS Ed, Consultant Surgeon, N Ireland

I used to think that complementary medicine and alternative medicine were the same thing. I have come across others who speak of them as one and the same thing as well. The words are used interchangeably by many, and both often get tied together in the abbreviation ‘CAM’ – to refer to all things complementary and alternative in the world of medicine.

I was also very dismissive of anything that was in any way alternative/complementary and basically anything that was not mainstream medicine, and which had not been verified scientifically as I understood it. I viewed them, as many medical doctors do, with contempt and considered them all to be a waste of time and potentially dangerous if they prevented people getting access to ‘real medicine’. I had heard stories of people refusing medical treatment and who insisted on the ‘alternative’ path – only to end up dead when their cancer was of course not cured by the ‘alternative’ treatment. So it would be fair to say I was pretty staunchly against anything that had the label of complementary or alternative, as to me they were all in the same bag!

At that time I was of course very much in the arrogance of the medical/scientific consciousness, which thinks that doctors and scientists are the only ones who understand the body, illness and disease and treatment, and that unless people have been through the rigors of a bona fide medical and scientific training, then they basically have no right to make any claims as to the workings of the body – even their own.

The fact that everyone has a body and therefore has the lived experiences of their own bodies and the things that affect them was irrelevant. Unless people are medically trained, they do not know how to interpret their own bodies – or so the thinking goes. Also included in this type of thinking is the desire to own knowledge – to be the ones that know – to be the ones that tell others how it is, what they can and cannot do, tied up with a belief about being special and of course super-intelligent. The arrogance and supremacy are very tangible, even obvious, in this form of thinking – and whilst it may be a common form of thinking, it is one that is deeply harming and defies who we are as human beings.

I was deeply immersed in this form of thinking, so I know it well! The ‘need to know’ can be never-ending, the desire to know more than another, to be superior, more intelligent, and to have the power that comes from being in possession of such knowledge that others do not have or know – all exists to cover up the deeply buried emptiness, insecurity and lack of true knowing. Yes, a good dose of ignorance goes into the mix with the arrogance and the supremacy.

So rather than take the time to find out what complementary and alternative medicine were, it was easier to just clump them together and arrogantly claim they were all unscientific, unproven rubbish at best, a waste of time and money, and even potentially dangerous and life threatening if they prevented people from accessing ‘real medicine’.


I have since taken the time to find out more about them and have significantly changed my views in the process with regards to complementary medicine. The crucial difference then between complementary and alternative medicine is in fact in the name – one is complementary to and supportive of conventional medicine and the other is alternative to it. In other words in alternative medicine, a client or patient refuses all other forms of conventional medical treatment and uses only ‘alternative’ forms of treatment. As a surgeon, I therefore do not personally support the ‘alternative medicine’ approach. It can be potentially dangerous to always avoid conventional medical treatment, and I am not an advocate for alternative medicine.

However, this is quite different to how I now understand complementary medicine – which is a form of medicine that works side by side with medicine and is in fact in no way alternative to it. It embraces conventional medicine and knows that the latter is well needed in the world today. So a true complementary medicine practitioner works hand in hand with conventional medicine and would never advise a client or patient to not see their doctor for a medical condition and is supportive of medical treatments.

A complementary medicine practitioner can help the patient to go deeper, in terms of evaluating their life choices and how those choices may have contributed to the illness or disease. They take a holistic perspective that understands that all aspects of an individual are important in both illness and disease manifestation and in healing. They can address the spheres of a person’s life that conventional medicine neither has the time nor the training to address, but which are crucially important to health and wellbeing, in particular issues pertaining to the spiritual and emotional domains of life. Whilst alternative medicine practitioners may say they do likewise, I do not support it due to its anti-medicine stance.

Esoteric Medicine is a form of complementary medicine (and is in no way alternative) – but in fact it is even more than that. It is a truly holistic form of medicine that is supportive of and works with conventional medicine (hence complementary) and it takes the WHOLE being into consideration. It is encompassing of all aspects of the human person – body, mind, heart, spirit and soul. It is an aspect of Universal Medicine – which is an even grander form of medicine that encompasses not just the whole of the person, but the whole of life as we know it esoterically and energetically – and that includes God, the whole of humanity, the whole planet, the whole Universe – nothing and no-one is left out when the fullness of Universal Medicine is understood.

Therefore esoteric medicine, whilst seemingly fitting in to the category of complementary medicine, is in fact much grander and broader. As a way into understanding Universal Medicine its potential is huge. It raises the bar further and brings understandings to the whole of medicine that in my opinion are well needed and currently unsurpassed by any other form of medicine.


ps – whilst we’re talking differences – did you know that there is a difference between complementary and complimentary?
Complementary(with an e) is what we use in referring to complementary medicine as described above, and as something that goes along with, or complements medicine, and can also be where two things combine in such a way that as to enhance or emphasise the qualities of the other – ‘the colour of your coat really complements or brings out the colour of your eyes.’  Whereas complimentary (with an i) is when we get given something for free e.g. tickets to an event.  It also refers to when someone pays us a compliment, expressing appreciation, praise, adoration etc and so may be very complimentary regarding our appearance e.g. ‘you are looking very beautiful today’.


902 thoughts on “Esoteric Medicine: is it complementary or alternative medicine and what’s the difference?

  1. Eunice, I hear you, as once upon a time, I went rogue with mainstream medicine, in that I knew there was another form of healing and I tried other things instead, alternative medicine. Somehow knowing that this wasn’t it either. With the consciousness of believing that mainstream is the only way, I went into a state of confusion about healing.

    Roll forward two decades and I meet Universal Medicine and experience healing from esoteric practitioners, and my life has never been the same. I finally started to get to the root cause of my issues, conditions, whatever you want to call it. My life has been so vibrant and I embrace illness with both mainstream medicine and Universal Medicine and I will never go rogue again. I take more and more responsibility and bring understanding to the ailments my body presents and they don’t need to be excessive either.

    I have learnt to tune into the wisdom of my body, like never before and amazed at the relationship I am forming every day. All I can say is thank God for mainstream medicine and Universal Medicine, the two definitely go hand in hand.

  2. Before your blog I hadn’t really given much thought to the difference between complementary therapies and alternative therapies, but you have given me an opportunity to understand the difference quite clearly. My experience of Universal Medicine is that it works beautifully alongside conventional medicine, offering the client/patient the opportunity not just for a cure of symptoms, but of real healing.

  3. Thanks Eunice for explaining the difference between alternative and complementary medicine so clearly. Evidence will show with the same clarity the benefits of Universal Medicine

  4. We can be rather sloppy in the choice of the words we use and it is great to stop and consider what we are saying and bring back the truth in words so that we can learn to express what we do mean. Like, spirit and Soul, some years ago I didn’t even care whether they were different, to me they vaguely pointed out something that was not physical and that was good enough for me. I am so glad to know what I do know now.

  5. I’m sure in the olden days medicine used to encompass ALL aspects of our health, including our mental and emotional steadiness and well-being, and any kind of imbalance in our health was addressed with the whole body and whole bigger picture in mind. It makes a lot of sense to me that as our health begins to decrease at a rapid rate that we begin to return to a much more whole-some way of treating ourselves.

    1. Back in the ages of when men had no medicine, they had no choice but to rely on nature to be the healer and no doubt death would have occurred when the mechanics of the body couldn’t be rectified, as there was no medicine. But to solely depend on it is a concern, now that we have so many choices too.

      So no one medicine, complementary or conventional, is it either. We discern what feels right for us and our journeys with our bodies.

  6. “A complementary medicine practitioner can help the patient to go deeper, in terms of evaluating their life choices and how those choices may have contributed to the illness or disease.” Complementary medicine can make a very powerful triangle with conventional medicine and the patient who lives with their body that is presenting with a health issue.

  7. This is really powerful, what you have written about the arrogance of thinking that unless you are scientifically medical in your training, then you do not have the ability to understand your own body.

  8. For anyone that has been in the presence with Serge Benhayon he has openly always been very supportive of the Western medicine that is needed for those who need it, how ever what Serge offers is the Universal Medicine Modalities that complement this and supports to connect and heal the root issue.

  9. This is one of the reasons why I have worked with Universal Medicine, as it is very much complementary to conventional medicine, and the way it asks you to take responsibility for the choices you have made to get your body to that state, to lovingly address this and heal it so true healing can take place with the Universal Medicine therapies. All the while when it is needed to embrace conventional medicine in full.

  10. “… nothing and no-one is left out when the fullness of Universal Medicine is understood.” This is great advice for understanding how everything impacts on our health and wellbeing in either a positive or negative way. It also encompasses the Universe and how we are a part of something grander than human life – something that can be part of our daily medicine or living way.

  11. I wonder if some (many?) medical professionals are uncomfortable with the idea that something that is not mainstream presents itself as complementary-to-medicine rather than alternative? Rejecting alternative modalities is relatively simple because medicine can fairly assume that it is the best that is available. However, with complementary-to-medicine approaches it would be more difficult to reject them, as medicine clearly does have gaps in its ability to keep us healthy, as the obesity epidemic shows as one example.

  12. Eunice it is always a delight to read your articles, and the simplicity in which you explain the difference between alternative and complementary medicine one tries to find its own answers and the latter works hand in hand with western medicine.

  13. Complementary medicine broadens and expands on conventional medicine, it not only looks at the illness but how we are living that may have caused it. It asks us to take responsibility for the part we have played and doesn’t put all the onus on the doctors to fix us. Conventional medicine is an important part of the healing but it is not the only part, conventional medicine and complementary medicine work together to deepen our understanding of illness.

  14. Esoteric Medicine is most definitely complementary medicine as it not only always supports clients to access the support of Western medicine but also taking responsibility for one’s own health so that it becomes a partnership with all working together for the best outcome.

  15. This is such a clear and very useful distinction between the two – the alternative medicine and the complementary medicine. In my experience, I don’t recall any so-called ‘complementary’ medicine that didn’t present itself as the alternative to the Western medicine until I came across Universal Medicine. Like many others, I felt the Western medicine was not the answer, and saying that I denied what it does actually offer as well. I also find that when we go for the alternative medicine, our attitude is pretty much the same as when we go to the Western medicine – i.e. asking for it to deliver/be the cure. What truly complements the Western medicine, and actually is a significant part of our healing process is us, and Universal Medicine amazingly supports us in that.

    1. Absolutely we need to take an active part in the healing process and maintaining any lifestyle changes that are required for true health.

    2. There are true complementary approaches that work with varying levels of success. One example is diets for cancer patients. Once they are successful they could then become part of mainstream medicine, which may be one reason that there aren’t many such examples at any one time.

  16. Eunice, I love the way you write – it’s intelligent, not just based on facts but on the simplicity of life.

  17. As a former homeopath I erred on the side of alternative medicine, despite training as a nurse formerly – a complete reaction against the system. Coming to Universal Medicine therapies I now understand and have used personally the amazing combination of both western medicine and the esoteric modalities – each complementing the other – true Medicine of the future.

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