Alternative medicine, also known as alternative therapies, lie outside the realm of
States. They are also called adjunctive, unconventional, or unorthodox therapies.
those general areas, and give examples of each. One area of alternative therapy is alternative
sense of numbness, heaviness, or soreness while the needles are in place. Acupuncture is used to
diseases, and some mental illnesses. Another example of alternative systems of medical practice
speaking, it is not a treatment. Rather, it is an entire medical system whose goal is the prevention
Ayurveda medicine encompasses a wide range of treatments and lifestyle measures, including
usually occupies the mind. Its primary goal is to induce mental tranquillity and physical
relaxation. There are many different approaches to meditation, each with its own specialized
meditation, mindfulness meditation, and breath meditation. The calming mental exercises of
find it helpful for headaches and respiratory problems such as emphysema and asthma.
Biofeedback is another example of mind-body interventions. Biofeedback is a specialized
to consciously control these medically important functions. Biofeedback is not a passive
treatment. It requires a persons intensive participation as they learn to control such normally
tension, breathing, and digestion.
A third type of alternative medicine is manual healing methods. An example of one of
these methods is chiropractic. Chiropractic is a system of health care that emphasizes the
relationship between structure and function in the body. Doctors of chiropractic believe that
can be a significant factor in illness. Proper alignment of the spine is considered to be of critical
ease pain in the lower back, mid-back, neck, and joints. The pain can eventually subside on its
own, but chiropractic ends it immediately. Massage therapy is another example. Massage is the
method of manipulating the skin to produce helpful effects on the skin and underlying tissues.
promote a feeling of general well-being. Depending on how the massage is given, its effects can
be relaxing or invigorating. It is often used to promote healing of an injury or muscle soreness,
or to relieve tension.
Pharmacological and biological treatments is another general area of alternative medicine.
An example in this area would be chelation therapy. Which means taking a series of intravenous
from poor circulation. Other common reasons people take it include prevention of some of the
general health problems associated with aging, and to help remove accumulation of heavy metals
with a reduction of their symptoms after just a few treatments. Cartilage therapy is another
example of these treatments. This therapy is the use of clean and powdered connective tissue,
such as collagen, to improve health.
One last area of alternative medicine is diet and nutrition in the prevention and treatment
of chronic disease. Orthomolecular medicine is an example of this. Orthomolecular medicine
describes the practice of preventing and treating disease by providing the body with optimal
amounts of substances which are natural to the body. The key idea in this medicine is that
biochemical milieu. Macrobiotic diets are another example of this area of alternative medicine.
This is an oriental-style vegetarian diet that is low in fat, emphasizes whole grains and
vegetables, and restricts fluids. These are some of the same dietary principles that have been
found to help prevent heart disease. The macrobiotic emphasis on fresh, non-processed foods
There are three defining characteristics of alternative therapies. An alternative therapy is
any intervention that:
~ Is not well supported by scientific tests establishing safety and effectiveness.
~ Is not taught by most medical schools in the United States.
~ Is not reimbursable by most health insurance providers in the United States.
A placebo is a substance that physicians sometimes use as a medicine, even though it
contains no active ingredients. A placebo brings out and improvement or even a cure in some
therapies, the reaction of the person is almost always a placebo effect. They believe that
acupuncture will cure them, so subconsciously it does. But it is not the acupuncture that heals
them, it is the endorphins that the pituitary gland releases that is really healing them. The
placebo effect is important in alternative medicine though, because without it, no one would
believe in and of the alternative therapies. The placebo effect also has an importance in
traditional medicine. For instance, a saline injection is 70 % as effective as morphine in reducing
pain. That?s why doctors sometimes prescribe placebos. The placebo effect relies on suggestion,
but the effect is not entirely imaginary. The body reacts to suggestions in ways that can alter
internal activities. These internal reactions, in turn, can alter behavior. So the placebo effect
plays a role in both traditional and alternative medicine.
There are many area of alternative medicine. And these areas do bring a lot of help and
they may eventually grow to become traditional therapies.