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Alternative medicine

We’ve all heard stories about patients who had miraculously healed from ailments like cancer, tumors and other health conditions. Some of us consider those stories to be shameless bogus deceits, while the rest of the population believes that in nature there is a cure for everything. In today’s modern society there is a pill for everything. Headaches, muscle pains, fatigue, malaria or hormonal imbalance, all these can be cured, prevented or terminated with a single pill, vaccine or therapy. On the other hand, a wise man once said that the art of medicine is to amuse the patient while nature cures the disease. Even doctors will admit that this wise man was right. Almost every pill known and tested is extracted from some herb or other raw material found in nature. So why would you waste your money, time and energy visiting doctors’ offices and undergoing medical therapies, when nature has all the answers? For one, we all believe what doctors say. Two, drinking pills is much faster than changing your entire lifestyle. However, if you’re thinking in long terms and you want to keep your body, mind and spirit in their perfect shape, alternative medicine is your best bet for longevity. More and more doctors each year begin to recommend certain holistic methods to their patients, whether as a complementary therapy or unrelated to their practice. If you break your leg for example, you have to go to the doctor and get your fracture stabilized, because there is no alternative method for curing broken bones. For everything else, from cancer to stress, you can discuss alternative treatments with your doctor.

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What to ask your doctor about alternative medicine

All doctors have to sign an oath before they start their practice, which means your doctor is obligated to give you advices about your health care even if you refuse their traditional treatments. Most doctors will tell you that there aren’t many studies made to prove that alternative medicine is auspicious. Before a certain pill is launched, big pharmacy companies pay large amounts of money to get the new medication studied, tested and verified. The problem with all alternative treatments is that most of them don’t use traditional drugs, so rarely the higher-ups are charitable enough to fund a trial and prove the effects of holistic medicine. Your conventional healthcare provider will tell you his opinion on complementary and alternative treatments and help you make informed decisions on the matter. Never undertake any other treatment if you are already under a standard medical conduct. Some holistic methods will prove to be nonworking, contra productive or even dangerous if you take them together with the medications your doctor prescribed. So collect all the information you can before you make choices regarding your well being.

Biologically based practices

The center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine tried to classify holistic treatments, but they all complement each other. Many alternative medical systems use techniques from another category and they work together as a whole. Biologically based treatments use remedies found in nature. Foods and herbs are the basis of this therapy. They include vitamins, minerals, prebiotics, probiotics, amino acids, fatty acids, herbal products and other dietary supplements. In most cases, clinically proven effects of these remedies were shown in patients suffering from diseases like colitis, Crohn’s syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. If you have any vitamin or mineral deficiency in the body, you can discuss this type of treatment with your doctor. If you suffer from anemia, have some kind of hormonal imbalance, or want to promote bone health after damage, a biologically based therapy will most likely be very beneficial. Pregnant women are maybe the most suitable candidates for this type of therapy. Holistic experts advise all nursing and mothers to be to implement soy products, unfermented and fermented milk, yogurt and fish and fish oils in their diet. These products can help balance the good and bad bacteria in the body, relieve joint pains and avoid inflammatory irritations. All foods and herbs found in nature are immune boosters or have some health promoting properties, so talk to a holistic therapist about the benefits of this type of alternative treatment. You can use this therapy as dietary management for toddlers, children, teenagers and elderly, or during menopause.

Mind-body alternative medicine

The responsible factor for the development of more than 80% of all diseases is stress. Many studies have been made in the past 50 years to prove that negative emotions have devastating effects on the human health. The main purpose of the mind-body medicine is to heighten the mind’s ability to improve and assist the body in naturally lowering stress levels, blood pressure, while boosting the immunity. There are many techniques used in this type of therapy and every day a new practitioner develops his own unique way of assisting people to live their lives well. Patients diagnosed with conditions and diseases such as HIV, insomnia, post-traumatic stress, anxiety or even cancer find their relief in these holistic methods. Health is not just a state of the body, but also of the mind and spirit. In many hospitals, trauma relief programs, schools and community health centers have used techniques like mindful eating, guided imaginary, meditation and prayer. All these methods have been proven to have sedative and pain relieving effects on people. Undergoing a mind-body therapy will not only affect the physical wellbeing of a person, but also his mental and emotional health. You’d be surprised how many people need guidance when it comes to attaining their happiness, self-love, cheer and optimism. Mostly because extended periods of stress, negative thinking patterns and emotions clutter the body and scatter the mind. This alternative medical approach will guide you to integrating self-care, self-awareness and ultimate happiness into your life.

Alternative medicine done by hand

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There are many ancient healing therapies which promote good health. Acupuncture, chiropractic, osteopathy, homeopathy and neuropathic medicine are all traditional alternative techniques known to relieve pain. Most of them were primarily practiced in China, Mongolia and Tibet, but today many western practitioners use them to assist their patients. Acupuncture originates in China and it’s a 5000 year old alternative medicine. This practice involves exceptionally thin needle insertion in deliberate points of the body. The reason of this insertion is because according to the ancient practice, every living being has a life force, energy flow or chi. This energy pours freely through the pathways called meridians. When the flow of this energy is disrupted or blocked, the body reacts in creating a disease, pain or some sort of discomfort. There are 12 major meridians and they all deliver chi energy to different organs in the body. When the needles are inserted just below the skin, it is believed they rebalance and correct the flow of the life force. There were many researches made to prove whether or not this practice is effective and the World Health Organization managed to list more than 40 ailments that can be treated with acupuncture. They include: sinusitis, tonsillitis, migraines, colds, asthma, speech aphasia, immune dysfunction, depression, menstrual pain, hormonal imbalances, many addictions and other ailments. Many people think that this type of treatment acts like a placebo effect on the patient. If you are among those people, maybe a chiropractic specialist will help you ease up your discomfort. This type of medical practitioner will provide you with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment for your health troubles. Although they focus on the neuromusculoskeletal system, the therapy might consist of joint manipulation and adjustment as well. Nerve damage and back pain can easily be treated with couple of appointments, but if you have difficulties coping with sport injuries, carpal tunnel, osteoarthritis, ear infection or respiratory conditions, you can schedule an appointment too.

Controversial alternative medicine

It’s a well-known fact that you have to face your fears in order to overcome them. The same principle is associated with the alternative medicine practice called homeopathy. It was based on the doctrine: like cures like, by Samuel Hahnemann in 1796. This practice suggests that using small amounts of allergens will treat the allergy in the long run. That’s just one example and in this holistic practice, unlike the mind-body treatment, every patient is treated separately. There is no cure applicable for several patients, unless the diagnoses suggests otherwise. In most cases, the homeopath will prescribe highly modified substances, mainly in tablet form. Their aim is to trigger the body to naturally guard itself from the disease. Most specialists in the scientific and medical community regard this type of treatment as quackery. Different countries value this practice as unethical, and the prevalence and regulations about this holistic treatment vary significantly.

Risks and safety of alternative medicine

There is always a risk of a medical negligence, whether you choose a traditional doctor or a specialist in the alternative medicine practice. Different medical approaches offer different results. Just as there are no two identical people, there are no identical patients too. What worked for hundreds of patients before you doesn’t mean it will work for you, so be extra careful in choosing your healthcare provider.

References

1. Alternative Medicine http://www.alternativemedicine.com/

2. WebMD - Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Overview http://www.webmd.com/balance/what-is-alternative-medicine

3. List of Alternative Therapies http://www.altmedworld.net/alternative.htm

4. Alternative Therapies - Stanford Medicine http://cancer.stanford.edu/information/alternativeTherapy/

5. Five Types of Complementary and Alternative Medicine http://altmedicine.about.com/od/alternativemedicinebasics/a/types.htm

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