There may be some confusion when it comes to alternative medicine. Alternative medicine is defined as a range of medical therapies that are not regarded as orthodox by the medical profession. These often include herbalism, homeopathy and acupuncture. Just because a form of medicine is considered unorthodox does not mean that it is ineffective. Read on to learn about a few of the more common types of alternative medicine.
One of the best-known types of alternative medicine is acupuncture. Acupuncture is designed to be used as a complementary type of medicine and involves pricking the skin or tissues with needles. This is used to alleviate pain and/or treat various emotional, physical, or mental conditions. Acupuncture actually originated in China and is now widely practiced in the west. This form of treatment is sought by many who feel the treatment can unblock and rebalance your chi. The needles are placed at certain points to treat various issues. The treatment is thought to influence energy flow and may be combined with heat, pressure, or mild electrical current to fulfill the treatment. If going to an acupuncturist you will be asked about your overall health and then specific issues. The acupuncturist will look for certain points or landmarks on your body to place the needles, hopefully alleviating the pain. Most people feel a slight pressure as the needle goes in, but few feel actual pain.
Other forms of alternative medicine include homeopathy and herbalism.
Homeopathy is a form of natural health care that has been around for over 200 years. This practice is about treating the individual knowing that each person is unique. Homeopathy is recognized by the World Health Organization as the second largest therapeutic system in use throughout the world. Homeopathy is founded on two basic principles, like cures like and the minimum dose. The medicine is typically plant-based, always non-additive, and not tested on animals.
Herbalism, though often confused with homeopathy, is a different form of alternative medicine. It is the use of crude plant materials, such as leaves, fruit, seeds, bark, or other plant parts to treat medical conditions. The plant parts may be used whole, fragmented, crushed, or in any other form. Herbalism uses plants and food to promote and maintain good health. This is the basis for a great deal of traditional, preventative medicine, but started many years ago. However, today, herbalism is considered a biological practice by the FDA and includes the use of dietary supplements that are all plant-based.
Alternative medicine may be scary to many but deserves to be a viable option. Traditional western medicine cannot and does not hold all the answers, be open-minded enough to consider the alternatives.