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A Look at Alternative Medicine

Updated on December 23, 2015

Conventional and Holistic approaches

While conventional medicine is excellent at treating acute injuries and infections it does not, however, account for the link between mind and body.

Therefore, its usefulness in chronic illness and pain is decreased as it treats the symptoms and not the cause.

A more holistic approach to management of chronic disease and pain has proven, in some cases, to be effective.

I feel that the alternative and complementary medicines I mention in this hub are all mainstream proven alternatives. However, bear in mind that each has its strengths and high success rate in certain areas - those are the areas you should work in.

Chinese medicine is strong in most areas as the Chinese very seldom need operations to fix what conventional medicine dictates should be fixed under the knife!

Holistic medicine is more about a way of life as the principles embraces whole body wellness.

Understanding Ayurvedic Treatment

The most popular alternative therapies are as follows:

Ayurvedic medicine originated in India over 5000 years ago.

The basic premise is balance in mind, body and consciousness through diet, meditation, exercise, herbal medicine and massage.

Life energy or 'prana' is contained in the body and in the earth, fire, water, space and air, and each of these elements control specific body functions.

Naturopathy makes use of the healing power of nature and combines homeopathy, exercise, vitamin supplements, stress management and hot and cold baths, and can use minor surgery.

Generally naturopaths use the same diagnostics and tests that a conventional Doctor uses, the practitioner's aim is to remove obstacles to body's normal functioning, applying natural forces to restore its recuperative abilities.

Chinese Medicine and Herbs

Traditional Chinese medicine may be one of the oldest systems, as it was developed over 2000 years ago. The life-force, although similar to the vital force in homeopathy, is treated differently.

They believe that moisture governs the body's internal conditions and qi (chee) is life energy, and the blood regulates metabolism and tissues.

The personal observations of the doctor are the subjective basis for diagnosis and treatments are geared to the individual and not the condition being treated.

A Chinese pharmacy will carry thousands of remedies made from combinations of herbs, and other pharmacopeias.



Although our understanding of what may be achieved by herbal remedies is tinged with the possibility of toxicity, one must be mindful of the interaction between herbs and prescription drugs.

The most popular herbs in the USA are ginkgo biloba, echinacea, garlic, ginseng, soy, saw palmetto, St.John's Wort, valerian, cranberry and black cohosh.


Homeopaths believe in the Law of Similars: A large dose of a substance produces symptoms of illness in a well person however, if administered in minute doses will cure the disease in an unwell person.

Also, the Law of Infintesimals which is that substances become more effective when diluted. Some substances, such as arsenic, are toxic in their natural state but therapeutic and safe when diluted for example, Arsenicum Album is a well-know homeopathic remedy.

Homeopathy is one of the least expensive forms of alternative medicine and patients are treated on all levels of their being rather than the symptom focused traditional medicine.

Complementary Medicine

Complementary medicine is non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical. These are treatments given together with allopathic treatment and not in place of it.

Here, are the more popular and accepted treatments.


The spine is manipulated to alleviate many chronic problems due to nonalignment of the body. A relatively quick relief is gained from joint, nerve and muscular pain.

Massage Therapy:

Massage treats a wide range of physical or psychological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, neurological trauma, cancer, sciatica, depression, anxiety disorders amongst others. One should never have a massage when a cold or flu virus is present as the massage quickly spreads the infections to the glands.

Always ensure the therapist is aware of any illness, chronic or otherwise, that you have.


The procedure involves needles with the acupuncturist inserts into points along meridians in the body. These energy points stimulate the Qi or life-force of the person, and it is a safe and effective treatment for a variety of conditions, including migraine, back pain, menstrual cramps, osteoarthritis, alcoholism and depression.


Reflexology reduces stress and tension, by applying pressure to points in the feet or hands, which increases energy flow and blood supply and creates a space in the body for healing to take place.

The Truth about Alternative Medicine - TAM


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    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      DDE thank you so much for visiting and your kind comments.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A brilliant approach to a helpful Hub thanks

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      elle64, I think you may mean 'kinesiology'. I am so glad you visited , and thank you for your kind comments. You have a very interesting selection of hubs and will visit you more often!

    • elle64 profile image

      elle64 5 years ago from Scandinavia

      Good hub -precise and informative. It is so fantastic with the body that it can actually heal itself- I have with great success had chinesology tratments ,and it is so good.I hope I have spelled Chinesologi right.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      Crystal Tatum, Thank you for the visit and the vote, I am glad you stopped by.

      Carol7777, Thank for your take on this, and I agree that naturally should be tried first, it's so much easier on our bodies.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      great hub... especially since I believe in all of this. Taking care of problems we have with natural means is the best way to go. Thanks for pointing out all these different ways to maintain good health. Voted UP.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      Good basic overview of alternative medicine, something I'm interested in exploring more. Voted up.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      Vespawoolf, Thank you so much for stopping Vespa, I do appreciate your comments.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      I've dabbled in most of these alternative and complementary medicines at one time or another. Thank you for a well-written overview of each of them. It gives one a lot to think about! Voted up and shared.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      MargaritaEden, Thank you for stopping by and your kind comments, I really appreciate it.

    • MargaritaEden profile image

      MargaritaEden 5 years ago from Oregon

      Shelley, what a wonderful overview you gave to the alternative therapies, I love how you explained each of the therapies!

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      mperrottet, thank you so much for visiting and for the great votes!

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 5 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      Great hub, and very interesting seeing all the different approaches. Voted Up, interesting and useful!

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      Patty, thank you so much for stopping and for the great comment!

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 5 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      Very Interesting!!! I learned a lot of information in this hub!! Thank-you soooo much for sharing the types of alternatives for those that are unaware!!

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      MarleneB, I have reflexology from a friend which helps with my tension neck pain. She works on her husband's lower back pain, and has done some very good work on a friend with spastic colon. Thanks for visiting.

      mjboomer, Thank you for stopping and commenting. As you say, wellness focused everyday life will provide the best result.

      mts1098, Glad you visited and thanks for the votes.

    • mts1098 profile image

      mts1098 5 years ago from InsideTheManCave

      Interesting and to the point...Voted up and recommended hub ;)

    • mjboomer profile image

      Mike Elzner 5 years ago from Oregon

      Great Hub Shelly, I have tried many of these alternative therapies and I am a believer in preventative approaches as well. I have slowly come to the position that avoiding illness through wellness focused behavior provides the best results. Thank You

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 5 years ago from Northern California, USA

      I am particularly fascinated with reflexology, especially since it is something that I can do on my own and it is not invasive. Nice coverage of some of the alternative treatments available today.