Alternative medicine (sometimes referred to as complementary or integrative medicine) encompasses a wide array of nontraditional approaches to health and healing. Alternative medicine may be explored on its own, while complementary medicine is typically used in addition to standard care practices.
Some of the most popular alternative approaches worldwide include:
Herbal healing: This is the practice of using natural supplements and herbs to aid in healing and help maintain well-being.
Relaxation techniques: Prayer and meditation are examples of commonly used relaxation techniques.
Energy alignment therapy: Approaches like reiki or energy healing reinforce the idea of using the mind/body connection to realign blocked energy flow and restore wellness.
Acupuncture and acupressure: These practices manipulate energy flow through the use of needles or by applying pressure to key healing points on the skin.
Homeopathic therapy: This is an alternative medicine approach that uses diluted substances to naturally jumpstart the body’s own healing process. According to the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, homeopathic remedies stem from substances derived from plants, minerals or animals. Before exploring complimentary or alternative medicine, the National Institutes of Health advises people to first discuss it with their doctor. The NIH also encourages people to do their research, especially when choosing an alternative care provider.