Posts Tagged ‘alternative health’

When you hear the words “alternative medicine” what do you think of?

If you are like some people then you probably think of meditation, herbal remedies, acupuncture, hypnosis or something along those lines. All of these practices are treatments that fall under the larger subheading of CAM or complementary and alternative medicine.

But what is alternative medicine all about and more specifically what does it mean to the individuals that seek it out when they are experiencing health and wellness issues? Let us look at this closer.

The Definition of Alternative Medicine:

Alternative medicine does not have a definition that is set in stone. It is often described and determined differently by various individuals. It may mean something different to you than it means to your mother or father, brother or sister, spouse or child. In most cases alternative medicine includes any “healing practices that are not part of mainstream medicine.” This means that it is practices that are not commonly taught to physicians in training when they are in medical school and it is not often used by doctors in their offices or in hospitals throughout the country.

Alternative care is always in flux and is constantly evolving and changing as it becomes more and more acceptable by physicians. It is also becoming more requested and understood by patients with any number of health problems. Many practices that were brushed aside as strange, silly, harmful or downright useless 20 to 30 years ago are now viewed as beneficial therapies that complement traditional medicine that is used in the Western world.

In the United States the agency that does the vast majority of scientific research into alternative therapies is The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) that is found at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

NIH breaks down alternative care into four general categories. These categories include mind-body medicine, biologically based practices, manipulative and body-based practices and finally, energy medicine. These areas often overlap. Once you understand more about each one of these alternative therapy categories then you can determine which one of them or which varieties of them are well suited to your life and your aches and pains.

In part II you can read about the breakdown of the categories of alternative treatments.


Read Full Post »

There are some alternative therapies that have successfully made the transition into conventional medicine while others still have not crossed over.

For instance many medical doctors will recommend massage therapy or acupuncture as part of the overall treatment plan for their patients.  Let us take a brief look at the options that are available to you.

Acupuncture has been used for healing in China for 1000’s of years. It involves the insertion of needles along the meridian lines of the body in order to open up neural pathways that have become blocked. This therapy can be used for any number of health problems.

Massage therapy is often as soothing and rejuvenating as it is relaxing to the body and mind. It involves the manipulation of the joints and muscles of the human body in order to relieve stress and improve circulation. Many sports medicine clinics advocate this for injury recovery athletes.

Chiropractic therapy involves hands on adjustments made to the spine and the adjoining structures. Manual manipulation can lead to a healthier spine which can in turn lessen the risk that injuries will take place. Doctors of chiropractic can help their patients with back and neck problems, as well as headaches, joint problems such as arthritis, hand and wrist pain as well as problems with the feet.

Meditation is something that one can learn to do on one’s own. It can be used to treat everything from heart conditions to high blood pressure to panic attacks.

Herbs are a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and can be either taken by mouth or rubbed on various areas of the body to treat sicknesses and/or injuries. You have lots to choose from if you decide to give herbal therapy a try.

Hypnosis or hypnotherapy leverages the power of your subconscious mind to overcome  challenges and a skilled and experienced practitioner can help with bad habits, weight loss, confidence, stress and anxiety, phobias, and many other dis-empowering thoughts and barriers to you reaching your goals.

Other types of alternative methods of therapy you may have heard of include Ayurveda, homeopathy, naturopathy, music therapy and pet therapy. There are other lesser known kinds but these are the alternative treatments that are most often talked about and put into practice.

What you choose to try is entirely up to you. It helps to have an open mind and to be able to identify exactly what you are looking to achieve through the treatments method(s) you put to use. The various practitioners of each one of these therapies can explain to you how each therapy works and the purpose of it to the healing process.

You can ask as many questions as you like in order to figure out if it is a treatment that appeals to you and can help you to feel better.  Explore as many therapies and as many practitioners as you need to in order to zero in on what can offer the most benefits to you.

The only risk in trying any of these therapies is that they don’t work for you. In reality many people going through traditional medicine have reached the same point as well.


Read Full Post »