Thanks to modern medicine, many diseases that were fatal a few decades ago can now be cured. And with the decoding of the human genome, Western medicine is on the verge of taking another mighty leap forward.

Despite all this, more and more people are questioning the very basis of all-mighty modern medicine. Whether they feel uneasy about consuming too many drugs, or fear the side effects, many patients -- and their doctors -- are looking for other ways to go.

From reflexology to aromatherapy, from chiropractic to herbal remedies, "complementary" and "alternative" medicine is in the ascendant, with national institutions having been established recently in both the United States and Japan -- in 1998 and 2000 respectively.