Alternative medicine is a term used to describe nontraditional approaches to health management and healing. Complementary medicine refers to alternative treatments that are used in conjunction with standard care practices.
Different types of Alternative Medicine
Alternative medicine covers a wide array of options.
- Herbal healing is the practice of using herbs and other natural supplements to help the healing process. They are also commonly used to maintain overall well-being.
- Relaxation techniques, which include prayer and meditation, utilize the mind/body connection to promote improved health. Visualization exercises are often used during relaxation, as well.
- Energy alignment therapy includes techniques like reiki or energy healing, which reinforce the idea of using the mind/body connection to restore blocked energy flow and promote wellness throughout the body.
- Acupuncture and acupressure are popular practices that manipulate energy flow via thin needles or by applying pressure to specific healing points on the skin. Different pressure points are associated with healing corresponding ailments.
- Homeopathic therapy is another alternative approach that uses diluted substances to naturally jump-start the body’s own natural healing processes. These types of remedies stem from substances derived from plants, minerals or animals, according to the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine.
The National Institutes of Health advises people to first discuss alternative treatment options with their doctor before trying them out. Choosing an experienced alternative care provider is also important. Alternative medicine is associated with a variety of health benefits. A recent study from Loma Linda University actually found that joyful laughter produces brain waves similar to those associated with deep meditation. Researchers say that laughing supports wholeness, better health and overall wellness. Other studies have echoed similar messages. Practicing yoga has been linked to improved breast cancer healing, as well as improved irregular heartbeat. Acupuncture has also been touted as an effective treatment for chronic pain.
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