The other week I found myself chatting with a fellow healthcare (and Cisco) enthusiast on Twitter about alternative medicine and I experienced an Aha! moment – alternative medicine may soon have an entirely new face if it’s driven by consumer adoption of advanced (and in many cases, currently available) technologies.


Let me explain. I recently wrote a post about the true price of affordable healthcare, which focused on the innovative technologies that will help make healthcare more efficient overall by incorporating dynamic monitoring techniques as a means of prophylactic care. When I wrote that post, I didn’t realize I was actually describing a new age of alternative medicine!

When most of us think of alternative medicine (myself included), we initially associate it with traditional homeopathic remedies and elements from Eastern medicine like acupuncture and herbal therapies.

However, alternative medicine encompasses virtually all forms of non-scientific medical treatment other than mainstream, Western medicine, focusing on a holistic approach. Although alternative medicine often forgoes any type of digital integration, I believe it could be greatly more beneficial if the technological advantages afforded by the IoE (Internet of Everything) were incorporated.   Take headaches, for example. They’re arguably one of the most common problems people experience and most of us just reach for a couple pills (usually Tylenol, Advil or Aspirin) to resolve the headache. This is a ‘broad spectrum solution’ applied by almost everyone, but headaches are much more unique than they seem – they’re usually caused by different things at different times for different people. Sometimes headaches are caused by tension or lack of sleep, while other times they’re caused by over/under-caffeination, and still other times headaches are caused by skewed vision (which could be caused by an incorrect prescription or a scratch on the lens of your sunglasses) to name a few. Regardless of the cause, we mostly apply the same remedy which makes the symptom (the headache) go away, yet doesn’t do anything to address the cause of the problem. In other words, the headache is almost always presenting itself to tell us something else is going on and we’re just telling the headache to keep quiet.

Most of us aren’t sensitive enough to know what’s really going on when we have a headache and alternative medicine would have us become more in-tune with ourselves so we can identify the root problems we’re experiencing. But what if we just haven’t developed that skill, or need help doing so? That’s where technology can step in to help teach us how to be more sensitive, or at the very least, learn to determine the cause of symptoms like headaches and tell us how to address the root problem.

Imagine a piece of wearable technology (or a group of wearable products) that monitor(s) both internal and external conditions to identify the precursors to headaches, using something like our smartphones to warn us to change something we’re doing to help prevent the headache. I believe this kind of mass customized alternative medicine can and will revolutionize the way we diagnose and treat problems, evolving the grassroots concept of alternative medicine to include some of the latest and greatest technologies.

Do you believe in alternative medicine & do you think it could benefit from a little dose of the IoE?