There are instances when conventional medicine is unable to treat intense pain or even fatal diseases. In such situations, patients turn to alternative medicine not just to seek temporary relief but also in hopes of finding a ‘miracle’ cure. Then there are those who use alternative medicine as a way of life to prevent a major health issue as most of these treatments have natural origins.
Though conventional medicine is proven science, a lot of it involves use of strong chemicals; on the contrary, alternative medical therapies are more holistic in their approach and focus on an individual’s body composition to cure ailments. The following is a list of the some of the more popular alternative treatments for better understanding:
Ayurveda – The system uses plant extracts, salts and certain naturally occurring elements grounded in mixtures of various proportions. The orally administered doses of various mixtures are used to treat diseases ranging from common cold to cancer.
Ayurveda originated in India more than 2000 years ago as a treatment documented by Patanjali, its most famous practitioner. Its philosophy is ‘Prevention is better than cure’ and hence suggests various breathing techniques, a balanced diet and yoga as part of everyday routine.
Ayurveda aims to maintain the balance and health of the ‘Pran’ or the life force, through natural means. Most of the illnesses are an expression of the imbalance of the life form, as per this system.
The Food and Drugs Association (FDA) cautions against excessive use of Ayurvedic medicine as it can have a high metal content. Also there is a lack of documented scientific evidence to verify the claims made by this type of treatment.
Acupuncture – This is probably the most famous of all alternative treatments with even the World Health Organization recognizing its claims for treating 28 conditions.
The system identifies nearly 500 points in the body from which the body’s natural energy flow or ‘qi’ can be directed to cure ailments. The difficult part for most patients is the use of needles which are used to ‘puncture’ these points. The manipulation of the energy flow can also be managed by massage of the identified pressure points. This variation does not involve use of needles and is known as ‘Acupressure’. The foot is a body part with lots of pressure points and hence walking is considered a great exercise by this system as most of these points get pressed naturally.
This alternative treatment as a high rate of success in curing pain, digestion and circulation related ailments. Though Acupuncture is used by a significant portion of the population these days, it is recommended that it be used by trained practitioners only as a complement to conventional medicine.
Homeopathy – The system is based on the idea that if something in small amounts causes a disease then that same thing in small amounts may galvanise the body’s immune system to conquer that disease. Homeopathy has German origins and is close to two hundred years old.
In homeopathy, all treatments are customized and the treatment for the same ailment might differ among different individuals. The practitioner gives different pills with very small doses to trigger the patient’s immune system. Just like Ayurveda, this system also recommends healthy living as the best cure and suggests lifestyle changes to achieve that.
Homeopathy is known to act well against allergies. But like the other two systems described before, it ought to be used alongside conventional medicine. Since most of the remedies in Homeopathy are customized, it is difficult to determine their overall efficiency is treating a disease. Also as the doses are small, it is difficult to predict their impact on a given person.
Other Popular alternative medicine treatments include: