Alternative Therapies – A Growing Field in Healthcare


As more and more people begin searching for medications and therapies that do not fall into the conventional realm of medical care, alternative therapies have become increasingly popular. Alternative therapies is an umbrella term that encompass a wide array of health care practices, including homeopathic therapy, energy therapy, mind-body medicine, and osteopathic manipulation. Alternative therapies are also referred to as complementary medicine. Some of the famous examples of alternative therapies include acupuncture, traditional Chinese herbal medicine, chiropractic, osteopathy, and Reiki.

Acupuncture is a health practice that originated from ancient China. It involves putting needles into specific parts of the body. Many argue that acupuncture can effectively improve a person’s health conditions. Scientific research has shown that acupuncture can alleviate pain and nausea in patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. However, the inner workings of acupuncture remain a myth to medical scientists.

Also originated from China, herbal medicine has long been respected in East Asian countries. This practice assumes a holistic approach that views the human body as a complete whole rather than the functioning of individual organs. Chinese medicine also assumes a view of the body according to the five elements in Fung Shui–metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. Practitioners believe that diseases occur when the chi of these five elements are not balanced inside the body.

For people who are suffering from external muscle pain that cannot be resolved by conventional medicines, they may choose to seek help from a chiropractor. Chiropractors rely on a skill called spinal manipulation to normalize the spine because they assume that mechanical disorders in t body are often caused by a malaligned spine. The goal of chiropractic is to help the body utilize its powerful self-healing ability.

Closely related to the philosophy of chiropractic is osteopathy. Osteopathy is based on the assumption that each human is a holistic integration of mind, body, and spirit. Practitioners operate under two principles: the body is able to self-regulate, and the body structure and its function are intimately linked. Osteopathic physicians rely on skills of manipulation to help improve the health of patients.

The last alternative therapy that will be discussed here is Reiki, a form of energy healing originated from Japanese Buddhism. It stresses relaxation, which practitioners claim can promote healing of the body. It emphasizes the life-force energy of a person, which is intimately linked to the feeling of peace and of spiritual improvement.

Bear in mind that since the effectiveness of many alternative therapies cannot be scientifically tested, do not engage in practices that may potentially hurt the body. Always consult a physician and conduct ample research before attempting any complementary medicines


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