Friday November 28th, 2014

Alternative Medicine Resources from Chiropractic to Herbal Medicine

Alternative medicine has become vastly popular for those who seek options other than the traditional Western medications. What makes alternative medicine attractive is that is promotes holistic wellness of body, mind, and soul, as opposed to traditional medication that only heals what is physically harmful to an individual. Many people who are feeling poor in health but whose doctors cannot find a cause for it, also turn to alternative medicine for answers. They can benefit from going through a more natural treatment, from herbs, meditation, acupuncture, to massage therapy, among many others. One kind of alternative medicine can be effective to one person, and can be rendered ineffective to another, that is why the many practices of alternative medicine should always be explored.

Acupuncture and Acupressure

Both acupuncture and acupressure originate from China centuries ago, long before hospitals and traditional medicine came into existence. Both practices are based on the belief that the human body contains “chi”, or energy, which should flow smoothly and properly all over the body. An ailment, a bodily ache, or even depression suggests that there is a blockage that prevents the “chi” from running through the body. To allow the chi to flow again, pressure points in the human body must be touched.

In acupressure, pressure points are massaged in an outward manner to open the energy blockage and initiate the flow of chi. After an acupressure session, patients can feel a rush of energy or, in contrast, a sense of relaxation. Sometimes, even a welling of emotion can be experienced.

In acupuncture, long and thin needles are used to touch the pressure points of the human body. The needles do not inflict any significant level of pain when inserted properly. Some acupuncturists employ temperature, vibration, or electricity to run through the needles to invigorate the chi in the body. Other than illnesses and pains, acupuncture is also said to treat infertility and allergies.

  • Acupuncture – Mayo Clinic gives a definition of acupuncture and why it is done
  • The British Medical Acupuncture Society – this society promotes public awareness for acupuncture, trains practitioners, and helps patients find a professional acupuncturist for their treatment
  • What is Acupressure? – contains a brief explanation of what acupressure is, and a library of articles that are related to acupressure

Ayurveda, Naturopathy and Homeopathy

The word “Ayurveda” is derived from the Sanskrit language that means “the knowledge of life.” This kind of alternative medication involves the removal of all chemical medicine and relies on the most natural methods to promote holistic well being: herbs, food, exercise, and faith.

Naturopathy is similar to Ayurveda because it also prefers to maximize the natural resources to heal the human body, as opposed to chemicals, surgeries, and other substances. The concept of naturopathy is that the human body can heal itself without any artificial aid, and Mother Nature has provided all the necessary elements for a person to live a healthy life: fresh air, sunlight, water, and vegetables.

The concept of homeopathy is also similar to naturopathy in that is also relies on the principle that the body has the ability to heal naturally. The main difference is that homeopathy has a principle called dilution, in which natural medication is diluted in the belief that it will become more potent to heal an ailing body. These diluted medicines come from all-natural ingredients, usually from plants, animals, and natural minerals. The natural ingredients are then mixed with larger amounts of alcohol and water. More potent medications are taken less frequently that less potent ones.

Ayurveda, naturopathy, and homeopathy are very similar in that they are all rooted in the belief of utilizing only the most natural elements to promote longevity, well being, and health.

  • Ayurveda – an overview of what Ayurveda is, how it works, and how effective it is
  • Naturopathy – An overview of the alternative medicine of naturopathy
  • What is Naturopathic Medicine? – The official site of American Association of Naturopathic Physicians that provides visitors all they need to know about naturopathy
  • Naturopathy – A thorough article that defines naturopathy, what its aims are, and the range of non-invasive treatments under naturopathy
  • Homeopathy Meets the World – the official website of the National Center for Homeopathy that provides updated news about homeopathy

Biofeedback and Hypnotherapy

Perhaps one of the most technical alternative medicines is biofeedback. Biofeedback uses different detectors such as brainwaves, heart rate, blood pressure, and EEG, among others, to determine the health of a person. By knowing how the body works, a person can have greater control of their body. Many people believe in the saying “mind over matter,” that is why biofeedback also promotes greater control of one’s mind to control one’s body. This principle of having power over one’s mind and body can be helpful in treating alcoholics, drug addicts, and depressed individuals. Scientific evidence also shows that biofeedback can also be useful for patients who have suffered a stroke and spinal injury.

Hypnotherapy primarily uses hypnosis for treating patients for various reasons. People who want to quit an addiction such as smoking, drinking, and drugs, but don’t have the willpower to do so, can undergo hypnotherapy to obtain an aversion to the things they are addicted to. Phobias and traumas are also believed to be cured through hypnotherapy. This type of alternative medicine has yet to prove that it can cure physical illnesses, because hypnosis is more effective when it comes to treating mental and psychological problems.

  • Biofeedback – concise information on the measurements that biofeedback uses, such as the heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension, among others.
  • Biofeedback Training – A biofeedback program that assists individuals in obtaining biofeedback and self-regulation skills in order to maintain a healthy and balanced life
  • Biofeedback: A Working Definition – an comprehensive view of biofeedback, its uses and contraindications. It also defines who can use biofeedback more effectively
  • Hypnotherapy – an overview of hypnotherapy, from its history and its risks, to finding a good hypnotherapist
  • The Hypnotherapy Association – the official website of the Hypnotherapy Association that represents certified and approved hypnotherapists in the United Kingdom

Massage Therapy and Chiropractic

Massage therapy is among the more popular alternative medicines, with the increase of health and wellness spas that feature many kinds of massages. Massaging is an effective way of relieving stress in certain areas of the body, such as in the back, the neck, and the head. When massage therapy is applied on the whole body, it alleviates stress and provides rejuvenation for the body and mind. Massage therapy helps to circulate the blood and relax stiff joints and muscles. Many people also incorporate massage therapies in their weight-loss strategies, believing that massaging and rubbing large muscles can promote faster metabolism.

The practice of chiropractic usually deals with the skeletal system, especially the spine, believing that misalignment of the skeleton can be a cause for many disorders. Chiropractic primarily involves mechanically moving the bones into the correct alignment through massaging, gentle pushing, and mobilizing the muscles and joints. Many people who suffer from scoliosis, back pains, and sometimes even a slipped disc, can go to a professional chiropractor to remedy their problems without undergoing any surgery or drastic treatments.

Both massage therapy and chiropractic are similar in that they involve touching and rubbing of the body to give a sense of wellbeing to the patient. The only difference is the massage therapy is mostly used for the muscles, while chiropractic is mainly for skeletal problems.

  • American Massage Therapy Association – an association of massage therapists that provides therapists the tools needed to become successful, from training and research, to seminars, among others.
  • Massage Therapy Foundation – the official website of the Massage Therapy Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to support the field of massage therapy through research, education, and service.
  • World Chiropractic Alliance – the official website of the World Chiropractic Alliance, a non-profit organization that aims to protect and strengthen chiropractic globally through education and policies.

Reiki and Energy Therapies

Reiki is a form of alternative medication that is based on the principle that all living creatures have an unseen energy that flows throughout and out of their bodies. Reiki is formed by two words: “rei” meaning spirit, and “ki” meaning energy. The “ki” can be transferred from one body to another through the use of a common technique called palm healing. A patient who is sick or is in pain is said to have low levels of energy, and another willing individual can transfer his energy to the patient by holding out his palms toward the person. The usual method behind Reiki therapy is that the hands do not touch the recipient’s body. A person who is receiving energy from Reiki therapy could experience warmth or even tingling.

Energy therapy is similar to Reiki in that it believes there is an energy flowing through and out of living bodies. When negative energy is dominant in an individual it destroys the energy equilibrium and balance should be restored. Energy therapy can involve touch therapy, in which the therapist lays his hand on the area where the energy is supposedly blocked. Sometimes, it can even employ the use of magnets and electromagnetic fields. These magnets are believed to stimulate the energy and endorphins in the body, which result to having a happy and healthy disposition and an increase in blood circulation. For aches and pains, energy therapy is said to reduce the swelling of joints and muscles, relieving the stress in one’s body.

  • The Reiki Association – the official website of the Reiki Association which explains the natural healing and treatment process of Reiki, and what problems it can remedy
  • International Association of Reiki Professionals - the official website of the International Association of Reiki Professionals, an organization of Reiki professionals and masters who offer training, sessions, and public awareness of Reiki
  • Energy Therapy Net – a website that aims to provide services for everyone who has an interest in knowing more about energy therapy.

Additional Alternative Medicine Information

Alternative medicine appeals to many people because it mainly encourages all people to live their lives in a healthy manner and with a happy disposition, using natural approaches. Below is a list of further resources about alternative medicine.

  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine – an article catered to teenagers discussing thoroughly what CAM is, why people use it, its limitations, and what precautions should be followed before trying any CAM.

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