What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of alternative health treatments? Does your brain immediately jump to the crazy things you’ve heard only in legends, like summoning spirits of healing and black magic? Or do you think of the more typical alternative health treatments that are starting to be embraced by western health professionals, like acupuncture and cupping?
Either way, you’re both wrong and right. Alternative health treatment is subjective to the reader, which means that treatments that you and I may think are normal, may not be normal to others, and vice versa. For now, we’ll simply focus on what western medicine considers alternative health treatments. As our medical professionals continue to experiment with these, the good, the bad, and the crazy start to become more apparent.
This article will review some of the main alternative health treatments and give you a rundown of what seems to work, what doesn’t, and what we still don’t know. Remember to keep an open mind as you read, and to always discuss any treatment or medication plans, alternative or not, with your trusted physician.
-Acupuncture: Acupuncture has slowly and steadily infiltrated western medicine and is now more readily accepted by the general public than most other alternative medicines and treatments. For some people, acupuncture may even be covered under an insurance plan.
Acupuncture works by inserting small, thin needles into areas of the body, often those inflicted with pain. It is meant to clear any blockages in your energy pathways, and allow for clear and unencumbered routes for your energy to flow. Qi, pronounced “chi”, is your life force is meant to flow through your body, but is blocked with when burdened with an injury.
–Gua sha, often known as scraping, creates micro abrasions, or bruising on your skin. It is meant to break up tense or tight tissue. The basis of scraping is much like acupuncture, which is the concept of qi needing to be released so it can flow easily. Scraping is also more widely accepted in western medicine for its massage like release as well, since it is promoting blood flow to the affected area.
-Aromatherapy: Pleasing scents have always been a lovely addition to a home, but aromatherapy goes a little further than just pleasing, and boasts healing properties as well. Some of the more generally accepted uses of aromatherapy are for relaxation and anxiety reduction, as well as simply promoting deep breathing.
-Reflexology: This treatment stands on the line between accepted alternative treatments. Regardless of your feelings towards it, you can find reflexology quite easily in many alternative treatment facilities, or even spas and massage businesses. Reflexology uses pressure on different parts of your foot, which are believed to correspond with different health issues.
-One major problem with alternative treatments is when people ignore medicine or important treatments in favour of natural remedies or some of the treatments listed above. When life saving medicines can fix a problem, like antibiotics or cancer treatments, but are ignored and treated with something like acupuncture, the alternative treatment no longer becomes effective. When used in conjunction with medicines or treatments, rather, the alternative treatment can sometimes help significantly.
Alternative treatments are not typically suggested for major health issues, and rather are helpful for ailments or minor aches and pains. They should also not be used in place of proven treatments, like vaccines for your children.
-Another issue is when people self treat with alternative medicines and treatments. Mixing drugs and treatments without telling your doctor can create a serious clash in your body, which could lead to detrimental effects. They can also cancel each other out, rendering each treatment or medicine useless. Make sure you always discuss your self prescribed treatments with your doctor to make sure they can work hand in hand, and to avoid any serious health issues.
-Some people believe some crazy things about alternative treatments. One of them is about chiropractic care. Many people assume that chiropractors can hurt your bones, or crack them out of place altogether. The truth is, a good chiropractor can provide anything from migraine relief to shoulder therapy, and can give some serious pain relief and actual treatments that will get you feeling better.
Another myth about chiropractic care is that you’ll need to go back forever to maintain your level of health. This is partly true and partly completely false. Think about a course of antibiotics; you have to complete the whole pack in order for it to be effective, right? Same goes with the chiropractor. You’ve got to treat the injury fully, before you can quit the treatment. Then, you can return to the chiropractor only as needed from that point out.
-Taking herbs or oils is another myth in that, they can’t be used alone to heal you. In some ways, this goes for almost all alternative treatments as well. Most of them can’t be used on their own, as a freestanding treatment, especially if you suffer from some serious issues, diseases, or chronic pain. However, using them in conjunction with your prescribed treatment plan can help get you on the path of healing.
-One final myth is that natural, means safe. Natural is an unregulated word, which means that any product can market itself as natural, but can actually be dangerous, or at the very least, completely bogus. The moral of this particular myth is that you can’t just simply rely on a natural label, or other clever marketing schemes, when buying medicine or treatments especially. Always remember to do your research on the side effects of anything you’re buying to treat something.
Regardless of your feelings towards alternative medicines and treatments, the underlying truth is that they can sometimes be helpful. Even if just for their placebo effect, alternative treatments leave people feeling better, healthier, and more at peace than they were before. If you can afford the treatment and are interested in it, don’t be afraid to give it a go. Just do your research to find reputable treatment facilities, and get started today.