Alternative Medicine: Holistic and Natural Wellness Solutions

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Introducing Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine is a term that describes medical treatments that are used instead of traditional (mainstream) therapies. Some people also refer to it as “integrative,” or “complementary” medicine.

More than half of adults in the United States say they use some form of alternative medicine. But exactly what types of therapies are considered alternative?

Holistic Medicine
Holistic medicine goes beyond simply getting rid of the symptoms but considering the whole person and the situation. Holistic practitioners view symptoms as signals that something is out of normal. These providers view each patient as a whole instead of an ache or a pain. They view a patients physical, mental, environmental, and spiritual aspects that all need to be addressed and kept in balance before any attempt at a cure can really work.

Holistic often use practices referred to as alternative medicine. These can include herbal solutions, nutritional solutions, ayurvedic applications, exercise, yoga, meditation and traditional Chinese medicine applications. They do not discount modern medicine or its treatments, but rather utilize these more traditional therapies in conjunction with holistic approaches.

Holistic practitioners encourage patients to participate with an active role to facilitate their own healing. They encourage patients to be committed to making the changes necessary to improve their health.

Mind–Body Therapies
These combine mental focus, breathing, and body movements to help relax the body and mind. Some examples are:

  • Meditation: Focused breathing or repetition of words or phrases to quiet the mind.
  • Biofeedback: Using simple machines, the patient learns how to affect certain body functions that are normally out of one's awareness (such as heart rate).
  • Hypnosis: A state of relaxed and focused attention in which a person concentrates on a certain feeling, idea, or suggestion to aid in healing.
  • Yoga: Systems of stretches and poses, with special attention given to breathing.
  • Tai Chi: Involves slow, gentle movements with a focus on the breath and concentration.
  • Imagery: Imagining scenes, pictures, or experiences to help the body heal.
  • Creative outlets: Interests such as art, music, or dance.

This is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that uses needles to stimulate specific points around the body. The person who performs this therapy (an acupuncturist) sticks thin, sterile needles into your skin. The goal is to help your body’s natural healing process kick in. Studies show that acupuncture can be effective in treating a number of conditions, like neck and back pain, nausea, anxiety, depression, insomnia, infertility, and more.

Herbal Medicine
This alternative therapy uses parts of a plant -- its roots, leaves, berries, or flowers -- to heal the body.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 80% of people around the world use herbal medicine. Studies show certain herbs are effective in treating a number of health issues, like allergies, premenstrual syndrome, chronic fatigue, and more.

These are a few of the most popular forms of alternative medicine. We cover many other modalities that can be used to treat many chronic health issues.

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