Types of Complementary Medicine and Therapies

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

There are different ways to help the body heal and recover from health problems other than taking drugs or undergoing a surgical procedure. Complementary and alternative medicines are designed to promote proper healing, speed up recovery, and improve health through holistic approaches. Multiple studies show that certain forms of alternative healing are effective in improving health. In today’s post, we are listing down different forms of alternative and complementary medicine:

Natural Products

This form of alternative medicine utilizes herbs, probiotics, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients to prevent rather than cure certain diseases. Chemicals – such as glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate – are also used as a treatment for a variety of ailments. Usually, natural products are sold in dietary supplement forms. These products should only be taken as a supplement and not as actual medicine. Fish oil is one of the most popular types of natural products. The omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil supplements reduce the risk of heart disease.

Mind-Body Therapies

Mind-body therapies involve using specific techniques that improve mental health to influence better physical health. These therapies put the patient in a calm, almost meditative state to accelerate healing and prevent negative habits and behaviors.

For instance, hypnotherapy utilizes hypnosis to help patients overcome addiction as well as to promote weight loss, alleviate body pain, and prevent bad habits. This therapy uses the power of suggestion to will a patient to make better lifestyle changes.

Yoga is another form of mind-body therapy that promotes better physical and mental health. This form of exercise alleviates stress, reduces anxiety, and prevents depression. Studies show that yoga also alleviates chronic pain. Biofeedback, music therapy, and guided imagery are other popular forms of mind-body therapies.

Alternative Medical Systems

Alternative medical systems are forms of healing based on forms of healing practiced in different countries for centuries. For instance, Ayurveda is a type of alternative medicine developed in India. This form of medical system has been practiced for thousands of years. The same thing goes for Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM.  Usually, alternative medicine systems utilize herbs, plants, and other natural-based ingredients to promote healing. Other types of alternative medicines are naturopathic medicine and homeopathy.

Body-Based Healing

Body-based or manipulative forms of healing are based on manual manipulation or movement of one or more parts of the body to overcome an illness. These methods involve changing the body’s movement to reduce muscle tension, improve physical function and wellbeing. Examples of body-based healing are the Alexander Technique, reflexology, osteopathy, chiropractic technique, and massage therapy.

Energy Therapies

Energy therapies are based on the idea that the energy fields – called biofields – penetrate and affect the human body. The biofields of the body are manipulated to facilitate healing. The energy fields are manipulated by applying pressure. The existence of bio fields remains up for debate. However, there is evidence that energy therapies are beneficial to the health. For instance, qigong is scientifically proven to alleviate chronic pain and reduce blood pressure. Therapeutic touch eases osteoarthritis pain. Reiki reduces pain, promotes better sleep, and reduces anxiety.

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