Alternative and complementary medicine has swept through the world as people seek greater control of their health. It is now a popular belief that whatever ails man, the underlying cause is within himself, thus the word dis-ease.
Alternative medicine refers to practices not used by conventional medicine. Seeking alternative medicine means a referral to a homeopath or a naturopath instead of your regular doctor. The alternative practitioner do not intend for their clients stop receiving conventional care. They strive to develop a way to work alongside the family doctor with the best interest of the client in mind.
Alternative medicine is a part of complementary medicine, which means alternative practice is used with conventional medicine in treatment of a disease or illness.
Practitioners of alternative medicine use some basic and common principles, which may be similar to what conventional medicine offers.
Basic principles or alternative medicine:
LEARNING AND HEALING
Alternative practitioners believe that they can guide a patient to find ways to heal themselves. They act as mentors.
Holistic care involves treating the whole person, not just the present ailment. Alternative medicine focus on treating the whole person, it recognizes that the physical, mental, spiritual and relationships are interconnected and these play a major role in staying healthy or cause of being sick. You cannot take these factors singly and treat these separately.
This is an important factor in staying healthy, also prescribed by conventional medicine. Stay healthy, eat healthy, take good care of your health.
BODY 'S ABILITY TO HEAL ITSELF
Alternative practitioners consider themselves as facilitators. It is within us to heal ourselves. Alternative therapy encourages the natural healing process.
Our world today is too hurried, we seek too much instant gratification. A 24-hour day sometimes is not enough. This fast-paced lifestyle puts too much emphasis on the material world. It does not leave much time to look after the whole person, that is mind, body and spirit.
THERAPIES IN ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
It is not a very clear system, some therapies may interlap with another. Some techniques may apply to other therapies.
These are sets of theories or practices or remedies. The focus of these therapies is on the power of nature or the energy field of the human body. Take massage- it is not a single practice or remedy. Many of these healing systems have been used before conventional medicine came to existence. Think of the medicine man of the North American Indians and other cultures. The Chinese have practised acupuncture, there is the Ayurvedic from India, and others.
CATEGORIES OF ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
This has been practised in India for thousands of years. The emphasis is a unique cure based on individual circumstances. Treatment may include yoga, meditation, diet, massage and herbs.
Minute doses of a substance is administered to stimulate the self-healing process of the body.
This is a non-invasive treatment to encourage the body to do its own healing. Naturopaths combine different forms of alternative and complementary medicine to stimulate healing. It may include massage, acupuncture, life-style counseling, exercise, diet and use of herbs and its derivatives.
There is wisdom to be learned from the past practitioners of alternative and complementary medicine- although these were not labelled as such then. These include American Indians, Chinese, Pacific Islanders, Mayan Indians, Tibetan practitioners and others.
Mind-body techniques strengthen the communication between your mind and your body. Complementary and alternative medicine practitioners say these two systems must be in harmony for you to stay healthy. Examples of mind-body connection techniques include:
* Relaxation and art therapies, such as poetry, music and dance
Dietary supplements and herbal remedies
Herbs are so popular these days. Almost every household have a bottle or two.These medicines use ingredients found in Nature, they have been used long before conventional medicine was implemented and subscribed to. Examples are echinecea, ginseng, gingko, supplements like glucosamine, essiac, selenium Omega-3 are just a few on the long list. Herbs and supplements can be taken as tea, oils, syrups, powders, tablets or capsules.
It is advisable to consult with your family doctor, advise him of the natural supplements you are taking. Be aware of drug interaction especially if you are pregnant, nursing a baby, have chronic illness, elderly or having surgery or possible adverse interaction with regular prescribed medications.
Always, always, let your doctor know what herbal supplements you are taking. Remember that these supplements give no guarantee that they are always safe.
Manipulation and touch
These methods use human touch to move or manipulate a specific part of your body. They include:
* Chiropractic and spinal manipulation
* Other types of manipulation and touch therapies, such as osteopathy, craniosacral therapy and accupressure
Many believe that there is an invisible energy force that flows through the body. You've heard the words: I have no energy to do this, or I am energized today.
A blockage or imbalance in this energy flow can cause illness. This energy Is called CHI, PRANA or LIFE FORCE, depends on what tradition you believe in. Energy therapy works on balancing or unblocking the flow of energy to bring about healing. In acupuncture, the insertion of needles into points along the energy pathways in the body restores natural energy.
Other energy therapies include:
* Therapeutic touch
* Magnet therapy
* Polarity therapy
* Light therapy
Do doctors believe in alternative and complementary medicine?
While they may not be opposed, they are not comfortable with alternative medicine. However, as more people seek out CAM ( Complementary, Alternative Medicine), doctors are opening up to some of the therapies offered by CAM. Patients have to be more open and willing to discuss this issue with their doctors. It is a way to encourage them to learn more about CAM.
As with any profession, there are always those who muddy the waters. Some practitioners of CAM, make exaggerated claims about treating disease and even go as far as recommending to forgo conventional treatment as prescribe by the family doctor.
Realistically, some forms of may be hurtful. There is a lack of solid research of the products and practices of CAM. Controlled research and studies are expensive .
Conventional medicine rely on methods and products backed by sound and solid research. These studies, including trials receive funding directly or indirectly by government funds. The dangers and benefits of CAM treatments remain unproved.
Don't forgo conventional treatment
reference: Mayo Clinic