Guide To Common Forms Of Alternative Therapy

Alternative therapy is a method used for treating a medical condition that is different from conventional medicine. There are dozens of alternative therapies, some of which have more documented efficacy than others. Many alternative therapies have been used in multiple cultures for centuries. When discussing alternative therapies, medical practitioners make a distinction between complementary and alternative therapies. Complementary therapies are used in conjunction with conventional medicine, while truly alternative therapies are typically used to replace them. Medical practitioners recommend combining traditional therapies with alternative ones, rather than using alternative medicine as a replacement for modern treatment. Conventional medical treatments have to go through a rigorous testing process to prove they work before they can be approved by the law. Alternative therapies don't tend to go through this process, so there's less evidence indicating they work.

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Aromatherapy

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Aromatherapy is an alternative therapy that uses the scents of natural plant extracts. The practice is also sometimes referred to as essential oil therapy. The goal of aromatherapy is to use the smell of essential oils to improve the spirit, mind, and body's health. Proponents believe the practice can enhance emotional and physical health. Aromatherapy has a history spanning thousands of years. Egyptian, Indian, and Chinese practitioners have used aromatic plants in oils, balms, and resins. The specific distillation of essential oils was first attributed to Persian practitioners in the 10th century. German and French doctors in the 19th century incorporated botanicals into illness treatment. In recent years, the practice has become more widely recognized in the medicinal field. Almost one hundred different kinds of essential oils are available on the market. When partaking in aromatherapy, most individuals use the popular ones. Getting oils from reputable producers is important because essential oils do not undergo regulation by the United States Food And Drug Administration. Aromatherapy's largest documented benefits are in promoting mental health.

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Massage Therapy

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Massage therapy is a type of alternative therapy often used to help treat different types of pain. It has been employed in cases of chronic pain, ongoing lower back pain, and headaches. In this treatment, a massage therapist uses their touch to manipulate the soft tissues and muscles throughout the body. The specific area being manipulated depends on the client, their needs, and the type of massage. A massage therapist might work in a variety of different settings including franchised clinics, spas, doctor's offices, fitness centers, and hotels. Some massage therapists work on a travel basis, going to the offices or homes of their clients. Before undergoing massage therapy, the therapist will typically discuss the client's medical history, symptoms, and the results they're hoping for. They will also evaluate the patient's body to locate tense and painful areas. During the massage treatment, the therapist will manipulate the soft tissues to help relieve tension and stress. They will also provide guidance regarding ways to improve posture, relaxation, stretching, and overall strength.

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Acupuncture

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Acupuncture is a medical practice most often used in conjunction with conventional treatment. The goal of acupuncture is to stimulate portions of the body to help treat health conditions or alleviate pain. Most acupuncture treatments are completed through a needle that penetrates the skin. Acupuncture has been used in China for thousands of years. In recent years, researchers in the United States and Europe have found evidence indicating acupuncture has moderate effectiveness in the treatment of nausea and pain. One analysis of studies that encompassed almost eighteen thousand patients showed acupuncture helps treat chronic pain. Because of this, it's used as a legitimate referral option for patients with chronic pain. In addition, studies are being conducted regarding the efficacy of acupuncture on cancer treatment-related symptoms, anxiety, and depression. There's not a lot of medical evidence indicating acupuncture can treat specified health conditions like liver diseases or diabetes. Acupuncture is often recommended for patients undergoing chemotherapy, since the practice appears effective in reducing both nausea and pain related to chemotherapy.

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Homeopathy

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Homeopathy is a system of medicine centered around the belief that the human body is capable of curing itself. Individuals who practice homeopathy use small amounts of naturally-occurring substances rather than conventional medicine. The belief is that these minerals and plants are capable of stimulating the healing process. Though this type of medicine is common in countries throughout Europe, it's not very popular with individuals in the United States. The basic tenet of homeopathy is the theory 'like can cure like.' If something causes symptoms in healthy individuals, it's thought to be able to treat illnesses with similar symptoms by triggering the natural defenses of the body. One example would be the way red onion causes the eyes to water, and because of this, it is used in homeopathic treatments for allergy symptoms. Homeopaths weaken the strength of different ingredients by adding alcohol or water. Some other treatments might include ingredients like white arsenic, arnica, crushed whole bees, and poison ivy. Homeopathic remedies can be bought over-the-counter from health food stores and drugstores.

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Ayurvedic Medicine

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Ayurvedic medicine is a holistic healing system originally developed in India over three thousand years ago. Holistic healing systems are ones that believe the entire body must be taken into account when treating different medical conditions. This particular practice is based on a belief that wellness and overall health are dictated by balancing between the spirit, mind, and body. Practitioners of ayurvedic medicine believe all things in the universe are connected, including the individual and everything surrounding them. Individuals existing in harmony with the world around them are healthy. If the balance between an individual and their surroundings is disrupted, they become sick. Things capable of upsetting the balance include climate change, seasonal changes, emotions, age, injuries, birth defects, and genetic defects. Practitioners of Ayurveda believe every individual is made up of a mix of five elements, and these combine to create three life energies in each human being.

Katherine MacAulay