UAE residents start relying on Alternative Medicine

There’s been an increasing trend of UAE residents relying on Alternative Medicine in comparison to conventional medicine.

Alternative Medicine (AM) is a category for medical treatment that is not based on conventional modern medicine that you would usually find at mainstream hospitals or clinics. It is more likely based on traditional medicine that was exercised, taught and passed down from the times before modern medicine came into prevalence.

Ten years ago, AM would be considered by many as “fraud” or “hoax”. However, in recent years it has been gaining popularity, with AM clinics reporting increasing numbers of clients, specially Emiratis, who feel more satisfied with their services and are spreading the word to their friends and families.

The credibility of AM is on the rise, especially with the increased attention from modern science towards these more traditional and less scientifically based practices. In the UAE, all alternative practices are regulated by the Dubai Health Authority, Health Authority – Abu Dhabi or the Ministry of Health.

Some UAE residents, including expats, were surprised to find that their company-provided health insurances already cover a decent amount of Alternative Medicine treatment. Even the most basic insurance cards may have that coverage, but it all depends on the size of the company and the package agreed to.

Many of the reasons UAE residents may have turned towards such alternatives stem from the rising complaints towards UAE hospitals and clinics in terms of increasing prices, unprofessionalism, unqualified doctors and discrimination.

The UAE relies heavily on expatriates, who make up around 90% of the population, to hiring doctors and medical personnel. This adds fuel to the fire due to the issues that stem from hiring and maintaining medical personnel that mostly find themselves in a “temporary” mindset. Visas, contracts, licensing, accreditation, regional stability, economy and political issues are issues that interfere in the medical space and are bound to affect its quality.

The UAE, being a Muslim country, is no stranger culturally and religiously to traditional medicine, as Islam introduced and recommended the traditional and holy practice of “Hijama”, also known in its modern form as Cupping Therapy, where tiny incisions are made in the skin and suction cups are used to draw out blood from specific areas in the body depending on the health problem.

Here are a few of many Alternative Medicine practices that are fully recognised by both the federal and local health authorities in the UAE:


An acupuncurist will insert needles into a person’s body with the aim of balancing their energy. This, it is claimed, can help boost wellbeing and may cure some illnesses. Conditions it is used for include different kinds of pain, such as headaches, blood pressure problems, and whooping cough, among others.

Traditional Chinese medicine explains that health is the result of a harmonious balance of the complementary extremes of “yin” and “yang” of the life force known as “qi,” pronounced “chi.” Illness is said to be the consequence of an imbalance of the forces.

Qi is said to flow through meridians, or pathways, in the human body. These meridiens and energy flows are accessible through 350 acupuncture points in the body.

You can easily book a session and try for yourself at TCM : acupuncture Dubai.


Homeopathy is a medical system, developed in the late 1700s, based on the belief that the body can cure itself. Those who practice it use tiny amounts of natural substances, like plants and minerals. They believe these stimulate the healing process.

A basic belief behind homeopathy is “like cures like.” In other words, something that brings on symptoms in a healthy person can — in a very small dose — treat an illness with similar symptoms. This is meant to trigger the body’s natural defenses.

For example, red onion makes your eyes water. That’s why it’s used in homeopathic remedies for allergies. Treatments for other ailments are made from poison ivy, white arsenic, crushed whole bees, and an herb called arnica.


Chiropractors use hands-on spinal manipulation and other alternative treatments, the theory being that proper alignment of the body’s musculoskeletal structure, particularly the spine, will enable the body to heal itself without surgery or medication. Manipulation is used to restore mobility to joints restricted by tissue injury caused by a traumatic event, such as falling, or repetitive stress, such as sitting without proper back support.

Chiropractic is primarily used as a pain relief alternative for muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissue, such as cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. It is sometimes used in conjunction with conventional medical treatment.

At the end of the day, only you can decide what’s better for you, and giving one of these treatment a try just might prove to be beneficial to your health.

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