Alternative Preventative Measures
Alternative medicine refers to medical treatments that are used in place of traditional (mainstream) treatments. Some people call it “integrative” or “complementary” medicine.
More than half of all adults in the United States report using alternative medicine. However, what kinds of therapies are considered alternatives? The definition evolves as more doctors test and introduces them into the mainstream.
This is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the use of needles to stimulate various points in the body. An acupuncturist inserts thin, sterile needles into your skin to perform this therapy. The goal is to facilitate your body’s natural healing process. Studies have shown acupuncture to be effective in treating various conditions, including neck and back pain, nausea, anxiety, depression, insomnia, infertility, and others.
This practice focuses on the structure of the body, particularly the spine, and how it functions. A chiropractor is a trained professional who uses various techniques to adjust (“manipulate”) your spine or other parts of your body so that they are in proper form or alignment.
Chiropractic medicine’s goal is to relieve pain, improve body function, and assist your body in healing itself naturally.
Much of the research has centered on low back pain. However, studies show that chiropractic can help with various ailments, including headaches, neck pain, upper and lower body joint problems, and whiplash disorders.
Therapies Using Energy
These are concerned with the energy fields that many people believe exist in and around the body. This category includes the following items:
Magnetic Field Therapy (MFT). This treatment employs magnetic or electrical fields to treat various musculoskeletal issues. According to research, it may help with osteoarthritis and other pain conditions. Some studies have even suggested that it may aid in the healing of fractures. If you are pregnant, have an implanted cardiac device, use an insulin pump, or take a drug administered via patch, magnetic field therapy may not be safe for you.
Reiki. Those who use this alternative treatment believe it accelerates healing by tapping into the body’s natural energy. The practitioner hovers their hands over your body or lightly touches your skin. The goal is to channel your body’s energy through its hands to promote healing. There is very little research to back it up.
Therapeutic touch (“healing”). A therapist uses healing energy to detect and correct imbalances in a person’s energy field. The therapist does not touch you, unlike Reiki. They move their hands up and down your body. Healing touch has been shown in studies to reduce anxiety in cancer patients. It can also improve their overall well-being. However, it is still being determined whether it applies to other issues.
This alternative therapy heals the body using plant parts such as roots, leaves, berries, or flowers.
The World Health Organization estimates that 80% of the world’s population uses herbal medicine. Studies have shown certain herbs to be effective in treating various health issues, including allergies, premenstrual syndrome, chronic fatigue, and others.
Unfortunately, herbal supplements can be sold without being proven safe or effective. If you are thinking about using them, consult your doctor first.
One of the world’s oldest medical systems is Ayurveda. It originated in India over 3,000 years ago and is still widely used today.
Its practitioners treat illnesses with herbs, special diets, and unusual practices. However, Ayurvedic products can be hazardous. Researchers have discovered toxic minerals or metals, such as lead, in some of the products.