Today we generally refer to medical practices that have evolved with indigenous people and later accepted by others, largely as a result of emigration, as traditional or alternative medicine. We consider methods utilized in the western world and developed over the past couple hundred years as western medicine. Alternative and complementary medicines are often used to describe medical practices used in the western world that are used as an alternative to western-based medical methods.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has identified five groups of practices:
- Biologically based practices. This includes vitamins and mineral supplements. These are natural and include products such as chondroitin sulfate, which is derived from bovine or shark cartilage; popular herbal supplements, such as ginger and cinnamon; and unconventional diets such as low-carbohydrate or high-protein approaches to weight loss.
- Mind-body medicine. Many ancient cultures assumed that the mind exerts powerful influences on bodily functions and vice versa. Attempts to reassert proper harmony between these bodily systems led to the development of mind-body medicine, an array of approaches that incorporate spiritual, meditative, and relaxation techniques.
- Manipulative and body-based approaches. This includes methods such as massage which have long been recognized in certain cultures. In the 19th century, additional formal manipulative disciplines emerged in the United States: this includes chiropractic and osteopathic medicine which are widely accepted in helping you in getting healthier. Both these approaches attempt to relieve structural forces on vertebrae and spinal nerve roots. This relief can help release stresses that are possibly evoking a panoply of illnesses beyond mere musculoskeletal pain.
- Energy medicine. This approach uses therapies that involve the use of energy—either biofield- or bioelectromagnetic-based interventions. An example of the former is Reiki therapy, which aims to realign and strengthen healthful energies through the intervention of energies radiating from the hands of a master healer.
- Alternative medical systems. Acupuncture has been used in Asian cultures for centuries as they believed that good health depends on the balance and flow of energy throughout the body. The ancient Greeks believed that health requires a balance of vital humors. Acupuncture, replaces vital energy flow by placing needles at critical body points.
Multiple Healthier Approaches
Alternative systems of medicine often utilize multiple approaches. For example, traditional Chinese medicine incorporates acupuncture, herbal medicines, special diets, and meditative exercises such as tai chi. An eight week study conducted by Harvard researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) determined that meditation literally rebuilds the brains grey matter in just eight weeks. It’s the very first study to document that meditation produces changes over time in the brain’s grey matter. (1)
Alternative Health Therapies
Ayurveda similarly uses the combination of meditative exercises of yoga, purifying diets, and natural products. In the West, homeopathic medicine and naturopathic medicine each began gaining popularity in the late 19th century as emigrants introduced treatments from their own cultures. Many alos believed that the western methods of medicine were ineffectual and toxic.
Alternative health therapies as a whole have come a long way over the last decade. Ideally, getting healthier with alternative medicines can also help treat the underlying cause of illness. That alternative therapies can actually benefit people is now well recognized and acceptance within the medical community. Where non-traditional treatments were once scornfully shunned, they are now either accepted and embraced by many.
One research study agrees with the national guidelines that one should consume moderate amounts of fish oil— either in supplement or through the dietary intake of fatty fish with low mercury levels. (2)
One example is with omega 3 fatty acids which are now recognized as enormously beneficial in for people with heart ailments. However, omega-3 fatty acids are far more complex than any drug because they work at several different levels from acting as molecular building blocks to powerful hormones that control inflammation to altering the expression of inflammatory genes. Get healthierr with these natural solutions to improve heart health.
Omega 3 fatty acids benefit people with heart ailments, and ginger has actually proven to be a great relief to cancer patients suffering from the nauseous side effects of cancer treatments. Ginger included in a diet not only helps you improve your health but eating healthier during chemo is vitally important
Alternative Therapies for Chronic Disease
There are an increasing number of alternative health therapies that are becoming widely accepted in the medical world. A considerable amount of research is being conducted into alternative health therapies for chronic diseases and various serious illnesses including cancer, diabetes, obesity and arthritis among others.
We are all well aware that conventional medicine is still the only method followed by many, and it has had a stranglehold on healthcare for decades. Thankfully times are changes and the outdated beliefs in healthcare are changing too. Approaches to holistic methods are becoming more widely accepted.
An All Inclusive Approach
Holistic medicine is based on the all-inclusive approach, covering the mind, body and emotional wellbeing of the individual. A number of healing techniques are incorporated into this type of medicine. Doctors are now more aware and more willing to advise patients of the benefits of alternative therapies and are now recommending therapies such as herbal therapy, acupuncture, homeopathy, energy healing and others.
Those seeking alternatives treatments need to be aware there is no miracle, and many of these options require changes in diet and lifestyle, and the reversal in illness does not happen overnight. But following a more natural and holistic approach will often produce long term health benefits.
Autoimmune illnesses arise when the body’s immune system revolts against body tissues or results in changes to an organ’s regular functions, causing a range of terrible symptoms and in extreme cases resulting in death. Over 80 autoimmune illnesses have been found that commonly affect the blood cells, blood vessels, thyroid, pancreas, joints, muscles, connective tissues and skin. Many illnesses exhibit similar symptoms such as inflammation, sleep disorders, digestion problems, headaches, depression, fatigue, joint and muscle pain and fevers.
Restore Natural Balance
While there are not many known cures for various autoimmune diseases, various natural remedies have proven to be effective in helping to soothe and in some cases restore the natural balance of an over-active immune system. Natural anti-inflammatories can work to repair and restore a body’s self-healing mechanism.
Results from a number of studies suggest that acupuncture may help ease types of pain that are often chronic such as low-back pain, neck pain, and osteoarthritis/knee pain. It also may help reduce the frequency of tension headaches and prevent migraine headaches. (3)
Herbal remedies are considered gentle on the system, effective to a large extent and without the potentially damaging side effects that many prescription medicines come with. For example, herbs such as sarsaparilla are used to detoxify the blood and cleanse it. Herbs such as yarrow maybe used as an anti-inflammatory for muscle and joint pain. Natural ingredients such as turmeric are used to treat the symptoms of autoimmune disorders and is widely accepted in helping getting healthier after cancer treatment.
Alternative Therapies for Lyme Disease
Lyme’s disease is a rather tricky disease that health officials find difficult to identify and difficult to treat. People are infected through a tick bite and common symptoms include rash, fever, stiffness in the body and a feeling of fatigue. One of the challenges with Lyme’s disease is that it can be misleading because it tends to mimic the symptoms of other diseases and there is a possibility that it may not be correctly diagnosed. Lyme’s disease is a good example of a serious disease being helped by alternative health therapies.
There are many alternative health therapies for Lyme’s disease such as detoxing the body, herbal and vitamin supplements, homeopathy, ozone therapy, bio-body detox treatments and more. Homeopathy focuses on treating the whole body based on the symptoms demonstrated by the patient.
Herbs have a wide spectrum of natural chemicals and contains antimicrobial properties. They contain a wide spectrum of chemical substances that suppress microbes in different ways and therefore are often the best course of action in getting healthier.
The goal is to repair the underlying cause to get healthier. Heat therapy is worth mentioning as an alternative therapy that successfully raises the core body temperature of patients to help treat the symptoms of Lyme’s disease.
But while there is now more widespread acceptance of alternative health treatments we still need to exercise caution when choosing the right therapy for a specific ailment. Getting healthier together! Always visit your medical practitioner before undertaking medical treatment. Getting healthier together!