Types of alternative medicine

Alternative medicine, also known as Eastern medicine, has been around for centuries. It is based off the philosophy that the body can heal itself and uses holistic approaches to complement this natural healing process, including medical systems, practices, and products. It is a very different approach than the traditional Western medicine scope in which medication and technology are the primary focus. The techniques that are used by those who practice alternative medicine are large in number, but rather small in practice compared to traditional medicine. But, quite surprisingly, more and more people are choosing alternative medicine as a replacement, or in conjunction with, Western medicine because they are disappointed when standard medical care does not give the desired results.

Mind and Body Techniques
This type of alternative medicine gets its concepts from the belief that emotional and mental factors can influence a person’s overall health. Mind-body techniques can be used to treat: anxiety, panic disorders, chronic pain, coronary artery disease, depression, headaches, insomnia, and incontinence. They can also aid in childbirth or in coping with the difficulties of dealing with cancer. The most commonly practiced methods are meditation, relaxation techniques, guided imagery, hypnosis, and biofeedback.

Biologically Based Therapies
This type of alternative medicine can use different types of substances naturally found in nature, including herbs, foods, and vitamins.

  • Herbs. In this case, plants and plant extracts are used to relieve symptoms of certain conditions and to maintain overall wellness. Each herbal remedy has its own healing properties in different situations, and there is just about an endless amount of choices. Actually, some doctors have been using herbals for thousands of years. If using herbals is something you’re interested in and you’re also taking medications prescribed by a doctor, be sure to discuss this with your doctor because sometimes side effects can occur.
  • Foods. Using food as a type of therapy would be eating fresh, whole, unprocessed foods that offer a lot of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Vitamins. This would include dietary supplements.
  • Acupuncture and Acupressure
  • Both acupuncture and acupressure are types of therapy to relieve pain in certain areas of the body. Acupuncture involves tiny needles that are poked into the body in designated areas and they can be manipulated to achieve the desired result. People who frequently use this technique on individuals claim it can have very beneficial results with many different ailments; however, available research says that it is most helpful in relieving headaches and muscle soreness. Acupressure uses the same concept of pinpointed therapy to relieve pain, but practitioners use their hands, elbows, or other objects to apply the pressure instead of needles.

Chiropractic Medicine

Chiropractic medicine got its popularity by relying on the belief that disorders of the musculoskeletal system, mostly the spine, can affect overall health by way of the nervous system. Chiropractors most commonly use their hands to manipulate the spine or surrounding tissues into a more natural and comfortable position. It has shown to be very beneficial in reliving back pain in many individuals.

Massage Therapy
Massage therapy combines acupuncture, acupressure, and chiropractic medicine into one in an effort to relieve pain and lessen the severity of stress-related illnesses.

Energy Therapy
This type of therapy comes in two different forms.

  • Biofield therapies involve the use of energy fields by targeting the ones that surround the human body by touching and manipulating. While the existence of said fields are not scientifically proven, it is a fairly common practice. An example would be therapeutic touch.
  • Bioelectromagnetic-based therapies use the unconventional use of electromagnetic fields. Examples include pulsed fields, magnetic fields, and alternating- or direct-current fields.
Last updated on Jun 30th, 2010 and filed under Alternative Medicine. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses for “Types of alternative medicine”

  1. As a professional massage therapist for 24 years, I disagree with the above article that includes the paragraph, “Massage therapy combines acupuncture, acupressure, and chiropractic medicine into one in an effort to relieve pain and lessen the severity of stress-related illnesses.”

    This would lead people to believe that a massage therapist is in some way also trained in Chiropractic medicine which is NOT true, unless they actually have a diploma or certificate from a school of Chiropractic which most, if not all, massage therapists do not.

  2. burhan says:

    Alternative treatments such as acupuncture (traditional china medicine) or hijamah (cupping) is now trusted by the world community. so, it needs the cooperation between medical practitioners with the therapists to provide best services to the community to seek solutions to cure a disease

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