4 Most Popular Alternative Treatments: What They Are and What They Can Do For You

Alternative Therapy or Alternative Medicine generally refers to any health treatment that is not a standard medical practice. Then again, it’s rather difficult to define what alternative therapies specifically are, mainly because the field is so diverse: this discipline encompasses practices such as diet and exercise changes, hypnosis, chiropractic adjustments, and poking needles into a person’s skin, just to describe a few.

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Technically, “alternative” treatments are used in place of conventional medicine. When used alongside standard medical practices, alternative approaches are referred to as “complementary” medicine. Here are four of the more widely-used alternative treatments in recent years.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is as easy as what the name suggests. Aromatherapy uses essential oils (concentrated extracts from the roots, leaves, seeds, or blossoms of plants) to promote healing. The oils can be inhaled, massaged into the skin or taken by mouth (in very rare events). Each oil has a specific purpose: some are used to treat inflammation or infections, while others are used to promote relaxation.

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Some of the health benefits of aromatherapy include its ability to reduce anxiety, ease depression, boost energy levels, and even speed up the healing process of various forms of injury. It also helps eliminate headaches, boosts cognitive performance, and induces sleep. Generally, aromatherapy strengthens the immune system and improves digestion to aid in circulation and pain management.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture might just be the most famous of the alternative therapies that most people have seen and may have tried out. Though hearing the word acupuncture may immediately bring needles to mind, this alternative therapy is actually more inclined to an array of procedures that stimulate specific points on the body.

acupuncture

The best-known variety consists of penetrating the skin with thin needles controlled by a practitioner. This treatment is quite popular, with millions of Americans opting to undergo the procedure to find help in treating chronic pain and depression. In fact, its widespread reach and massive following have created opportunities for job growth in many states.

Chiropractic

Chiropractic treatments are the most widely-accepted alternative treatment by medical doctors. Since it’s completely backed up by modern science, it qualifies more as a complementary medicine than an alternative one.

chiropractic

Chiropractic practices focus on disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, including pain in the back, neck, joints, arms, legs, and head. The most common procedure performed by chiropractors is spinal manipulation which involves applying controlled force (typically the chiropractor’s hands) to joints that have become hypomobile: the idea is that the joints’ movements become restricted when surrounding tissues are injured either during a single event (tweaking a muscle during a weightlifting session) or through repetitive stress (sitting with poor posture for extended periods).

Chiropractic adjustments of the affected area are intended to restore mobility and loosen the muscles, allowing the tissues to heal and the pain to resolve. Studies of chiropractic generally affirm its efficacy, with research suggesting the practice can decrease pain and improve physical functions.

Homeopathy

Many claim that Homeopathy practices function in much the same way as a vaccine: it’s based on the principle of treating like with like, meaning a substance that can cause adverse reactions (when taken in large doses) can be used to treat those same symptoms.

Homeopathy is a system of natural health care that has been in worldwide use for over 200 years. Homeopathy treats each person as a unique individual with the aim of stimulating their own healing ability. A homeopath selects the most appropriate medicine based on the individual’s specific symptoms and personal level of health.

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It is recognized by the World Health Organization as the second largest therapeutic system in use in the world. While it is most popular in India and South America, over thirty million people in Europe and millions of others around the world also benefit from its practice.

Fact or Fiction – Debunking 5 Myths on Herbal Medicine

Nowadays, herbal medicines have been gaining popularity because of its efficacy and competitive price as compared to modern medicine in the market. Its use definitely has its merits. Along with this, the caveat still remains.

There has been a time when herbal medicines have been regarded as the one true way to effective healing. Shamans, health gurus and tribe doctors of the past have been the first and final resort to treating their tribe’s sick and wounded.

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However, at this day and age, is it still effective? How much do you really know about this alternative cure?

Know more about the truths and myths behind herbal medicine. It might just save your life. Literally.

  1.   Herbal medicine is an example of natural medication. Therefore, using herbal medicine is entirely safe.

You always carry the stigma about herbal medicines that since they are natural, they are already safe. You may want to think again.

Remember your first trip out of state? When your mom was looking through hotels in Vernon, you went wandering out, stumbled upon a green, exotic mushroom and tried to eat it to get an “extra life?” Instead, your luxury trip became an emergency trip to the nearby hospital.

This case serves as a reminder that despite the fact that something is natural, it may still harm you.

There are existing herbal products in the market that, when taken incorrectly, can be detrimental to your health. Yes, natural ingredients are found in almost every dietary supplement in the market. However, you need to keep in mind to always check whether the supplements are approved by the government. The dietary supplements that are not safe can harm you, starting with your liver or kidney. If you choose incorrectly, it is possible that you end up paying more rather than saving money with this option.

  1.   If you are sick and you opt to have herbal therapy, it is fine not to discuss it with your family doctor.

You have access to herbal medicines anywhere. You can go to the mall, and you can already see a great number of stalls that sell herbal medicine. Similarly, it is easy for you to locate herbal medicines in your town market. From dried roots and barks to freshly ground leaves and encapsulated powdered flower of an exotics shrub, these herbal shops offer the widest range of natural medicine for almost every health need.

 

One of the factors that set them apart from medical pharmacies is that the herbal medicine stores do not ask for prescription by your attending physician. In this regard, the public’s mindset have evolved to self-diagnose and self-medicate in order to avoid the cost and hassle of a professional medical doctor

On the contrary, if you do opt to incorporate this alternative cure, your doctor should still be in the know.

doctor and patients

When your doctor is monitoring your health due to any ailments, it is just proper (and responsible) for you to discuss to your doctor your decision to include herbal therapy in your treatment. As stated above, not all herbal medicines are good for your health. If the herbal therapy has an effect that can cause bodily harm in conjunction with your prescribed medicines, your doctor can, and most likely will, misdiagnose you. Furthermore, if an adverse reaction occurs, it would be more difficult for you to recuperate from your initial ailment. At the end of the day, you just have to keep an honest relationship with your doctor for your own good.

  1.   Herbal medicines are based on primitive methods and old beliefs. Scientific evidence does not support herbal medicine.

Scientific research supports many natural products for several health conditions. In essence, clinical medicines that medical doctors prescribe you are practically the result of science trying to solve the mysteries behind Mother Nature’s gifts. Almost all medicine, from the most basic aspirin to the most powerful antibiotic, is a result of the technological advancement trying to maximize the use of natural ingredients to help mankind.

One good example is the spearmint. According to research, spearmint can improve blood circulation and elimination of toxins in your body. It also protects from infections, helping wounds heal faster.

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Lemon extracts and essential oils serve as an excellent natural first aide medicine, especially ailments related to the digestive tract. Stomach cramps due to indigestion and constipation are common ailments that lemon oil can help cure.

Kava is also another example. There is a scientific research that says it can reduce anxiety, stress, insomnia and depression. Furthermore, it has a curative effect on the liver.

There are many herbal medicines that science supports, giving you more options for your health. Remove your idea that herbal medicine is just based on folktales. More often than not, they are based on olden experiences of curing various ailments. The knowledge is handed down from one generation to the next.

At this point, herbal medicines are still in the process of determining its potency and use to treat diseases. Studies are still needed in order to determine the safety, effectiveness and proper dosage of herbal medicines, regulating the herbal medicines that are rapidly saturating the 21st century market.

  1.   The secret behind herbal medicine’s effectiveness is its bad taste.

You cannot deny the fact that there are herbal medicines that just simply taste unpleasant. Sometimes, you cannot even find the right word to describe the taste. Then you ask yourself begin to question why Mother Nature produce such bitter tasting natural medicine.

However, there are herbal medicines that, surprisingly, still taste good! Thus, the effectiveness of herbal medicine has nothing to do with its taste.

take your medicine

Peppermint gives off a mild minty fresh taste when taken as tea. Obviously, citrus fruit-based curative ingredients leave that tangy sweetness that even kids would appreciate. Berries have that bittersweet essence that in spite of the lingering bite on the taste buds, they still leave a mildly pleasurable flavour with every intake.

Herbal medicine does not need to be bitter in order to be effective. There are herbal medicines that taste sweet, yet it is good for you digestive system. Every time you think that the foundation of herbal medicine is the taste, try to remember cinnamon, mint, ginger and even liquorice. You can use these natural ingredients as herbal medicine, and still enjoy their naturally appealing flavours.

  1.   Herbal medicines do not have a place in conventional medicine. In other words, conventional medicines are of a different league from herbal medicines.

Half of the clinical drugs that the industry is using right now are based from herbal medicines. Nature is still the best source of medicine. In fact, for the past decade, dozens of new drugs have already been derived from plants and microorganism.

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Medical technology has been on the limelight in terms of advancing society’s need for better health care option. It is in this regard that scientists and researchers have returned to Mother Nature for alternatives and improvements in what is already working.

There are notable examples that you can recognize that use herbal medicines as basis for their chemical formulas. The opiate painkillers, such as morphine and oxycodone, are good examples. These painkillers were derived from the latex sap of the opium poppy. The foundation of aspirin also comes from herbal medicines. Aspirin is a derivative of salicylic acid, which you can find in willow.

At the end of the day, the objective of both forms of medicine is to improve the lives of humans, creating better options to address various diseases and health concerns.