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Types of Alternative Medicine and Holistic Therapy

Updated on July 11, 2012

Alternative medicine is a system of healing practice that is vastly different from the conventional system of medicine. It provides holistic therapy to treat the disease. It is also termed as complementary medicine. There are a variety of alternative medicinal systems in practice across the world. Most diseases will produce certain symptoms like fever, pain, nausea etc. Alternative medicine provides a comprehensive treatment that eliminates the root cause of the disease. Holistic approach to any disease is based on the assumption that there is an imbalance in the body that causes the disease. The holistic healer assumes that the disease is due to this imbalance. The imbalance could be due physical, mental or other reasons.

Holistic therapy provided by the alternative medicine believes that the imbalance is a result of abusing the body. It recommends a completely different lifestyle. It takes in to account physical, mental, emotional condition of the patient to treat the disease. The holistic healer analyzes all these problems before recommending the treatment. Holistic therapy rejuvenates and enhances the natural defense system of the body.

The holistic healer presumes that the symptoms of the disease are the result of long standing problems. They are also due to an unhealthy lifestyle. Holistic therapy recognizes the fact that the air we breathe is polluted. The soft drinks, fast food, chips and candy we consume are contaminated. Modern day lifestyle due to the desk jobs, computer and television, does not provide us enough exercise. It leads to obesity, heart attack, diabetes and cancer. Holistic therapy recommends organic food, clean water and exercise. It also prohibits the use of tobacco and alcohol.

Alternative medicine has been practiced across the world for thousands of years. Some of the popular systems are


Aromatherapy uses a variety of essential oils derived from plants to treat diseases. They are distilled by special methods. In addition to the natural oils, it uses other natural ingredients like vegetable oils, natural liquid wax, milk powders, sea salts, clays and herbs. This holistic therapy improves the physical and mental health.


Ayurveda is a traditional form of alternative medicine developed and practiced for the last 5000 years. It originated in India. It provides holistic therapy to treat physical, mental and spiritual health. The medicine comes in the form of tablets, powders, medicated oils, decoctions. All of them prepared from natural herbs, minerals and plants. The treatment does not cause any side effects.


Acupuncture is a holistic therapy, which originated in China 5000 years ago. It is believed that all living beings have a vital energy called qi which passes through the invisible meridians of the body. Needs are inserted at certain identified points on these meridians. There are about 1000 identified points. Acupuncture can provide relief to a wide range of diseases including diabetes and hypertension.


Hindu sage and physician Patanjali is known to be the founder of yoga. It is a holistic therapy which helps to improve the physical, mental and emotional health. It is series of exercises which also help to improve body flexibility. Yoga techniques which are called asanas, can provide relief to people suffering from hypertension, asthma and a host of other diseases.

There are a variety of other alternative medicine systems providing holistic therapies like Chinese medicine, chiropractic and homeopathy.


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    • bnsridhar profile image

      bnsridhar 7 years ago from India

      You cannot survive without modern medicine. Some times alternative medicine cures diseases that modern medicine cannot cure. Such cases may be very few. But according to my experience it can reduce our problems if it is used in addition to regular medical treatment. I think modern medicine can analyze and adopt proven cures from other systems.

    • fucsia profile image

      fucsia 7 years ago

      I think it is important to know other theories on our health, differents from the traditional medicine. Our medicine is a science very important, but has its limits.

      Thanks for sharing

    • bnsridhar profile image

      bnsridhar 7 years ago from India

      Thanks. I am planning to write on individual articles on ayurveda, yoga, homeopathy and other types of alternative


    • segol yoda profile image

      segol yoda 7 years ago

      nice post, ty