With changing perceptions of people and developments in the field, alternative medicine, also known as holistic medicine, is becoming increasingly popular. More and more people are shifting from allopathy and opting for natural ways to practise mind and body healing.
One of the reasons for this shift in preference could be that this holistic healing approach considers the entire person with a focus on their mind, body and spirit. In this article, we will explore the concept of alternative medicine, its various forms and its benefits of the same.
Meaning of Alternative Medicine
Holistic medicine is a broad term and difficult to define as it encompasses various practices and therapies. At its core, alternative medicine is an approach that focuses on the person’s entirety rather than just treating their symptoms. Rather than focusing on the symptoms of a specific illness, this approach considers a person’s mental, emotional and physical health, along with checking their lifestyle and environmental factors.
Some of the most popular forms of alternative medicine include acupuncture, meditation, yoga and massage therapy. Each of these practices can be used to treat various conditions and have its own set of benefits. Let’s look at each of these in detail.
Emerging from traditional Chinese medicine, this practice works by stimulating specific points in the body. The most popular form includes a practitioner penetrating the skin with thin needles.
Acupuncture is believed to work by balancing the energy flow or “qi” in the body. It can treat various conditions such as insomnia, neck pain, anxiety and depression. Technological developments in this area are also paving the way for electrical stimulation.
A common alternative medicine, acupressure, has been used for centuries. While it is very similar to acupuncture, there are no needles involved. Instead, a practitioner’s hands, elbows or feet apply pressure to specific body parts.
The specific points where pressure is applied are called “meridians.” And the acupressure theory states that meridians are the channel that carries energy throughout the body, and illnesses occur when these are out of balance or blocked.
Acupressure works by clearing the blockage, allowing the free flow of energy. This method is popularly used to treat headaches and back and labour pain.
Widely accepted in the medical community, this alternative medicine is seen as more complementary. It focuses on a person’s musculoskeletal and nervous systems to treat issues in the back, arms, neck, joints, and head.
This practice is based on the belief that misalignments in the spine can cause various health problems, including back pain, headaches, and digestive issues. Hence, Chiropractors use spinal adjustments and other techniques to promote overall health and wellness. Studies have confirmed the efficacy of Chiropractic medicine for lower back pain and neck pain.
Also known as Ayurveda, this Indian-origin alternative medicine method has been around for thousands of decades. Practitioners of Ayurveda use different techniques such as massages, special diets, herbal medicine and more. But, again, this is a more than one size fits all approach. Ayurvedic treatments are different for each individual and are directed at balancing the mind, body and spirit for overall wellness.
Different forms of Ayurveda can treat everything from headaches to digestive issues to other severe conditions like heart diseases and cancer
Massage therapy is an alternative medicine that manipulates the body's soft tissues. It is believed to improve circulation, reduce stress, and relieve pain. There are many different types of massage, including Swedish, deep tissue, and reflexology. However, it should be kept in mind that one should take massage therapy only from experienced practitioners. You may like to read: Rise of Aesthetic Medicine: Non-Invasive Treatments for a More Youthful Appearance
Again a very common practice, meditation is much more than what meets the eye. It doesn’t start or end sitting in a quiet corner. Instead, meditation involves focusing on a thought, object or activity to develop subconscious focus and stability. For thousands of years, meditation has improved concentration and promoted mental well-being and overall health. Different types of meditation include transcendental meditation, Zen meditation and mindfulness meditation.
This practice involves the application of pressure on specific areas of the hands, feet or ears. Reflexology works on the belief that these points correspond to different body organs and systems. Therefore, pressing these organs is likely to work positively for overall health.
Reiki believes that every individual's body contains a life force energy that flows within them. The concept suggests that low levels of this energy lead to stress and illnesses, while higher levels of energy indicate good health and happiness. During a Reiki session, a practitioner aims to replenish the client's life energy by placing their hands in a light touch on the body or at a small distance away from it. Moreover, Reiki can also be performed remotely.
Essential oils have been used for healing purposes for over 5,000 years. This practice, known as aromatherapy, involves using these oils to promote health and wellness.
Aromatherapy can be administered through inhalation with the help of a diffuser or by applying diluted essential oils onto the skin. Some essential oils are known to have anti-inflammatory or anti-infectious properties, while others are known to promote relaxation and tranquillity.
Benefits of Alternative Medicine
Treating the Root Cause
Conventional medicine focuses on treating the symptoms of a disease, but alternative medicine addresses the underlying cause of the problem.
Alternative medicine treatments are often natural and non-invasive, meaning they have little or no side effects.
Alternative medicine treatments are personalised to the individual, considering their unique health history, lifestyle, and preferences.
Alternative medicine treatments are often more affordable than traditional medical treatments. This makes them accessible to a wider range of people.
Alternative medicine greatly emphasises preventing illness by promoting healthy lifestyle habits such as eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and reducing stress.Fin your nearest Alternative Medicine Stores in India
One of the biggest benefits of alternative medicine is that it takes a holistic approach to heal. Rather than simply treating the symptoms of an illness, alternative medicine considers the whole person and their lifestyle when developing a treatment plan. This approach can be more effective than traditional medicine in some cases, particularly for chronic conditions like pain and anxiety. As holistic medicine is vast, so are its implications for different people.
Before starting your journey with alternative medicine, speaking to a qualified practitioner is best. Then, follow a slow process and trust in what works for you. Sometimes, you may also need a combination of western and alternative medicine to heal.
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