A Look at Alternative Medicine
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 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 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.