Complementary and Alternative Therapies
There is an important difference between these two therapies. Although they are often phrased together and used as if they mean the same thing, they are not.
Alternative therapy is used instead of conventional treatment for a medical condition.
A complementary therapy means it is used in conjunction with standard medical treatment to help improve the treatment or to lessen the symptoms caused by the side effects of conventional medical treatment.
There are many different types of alternative therapies that are now being used to complement conventional medical treatments. These include acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy, reflexology, herbal medicines, and chiropractic.
The following are a few alternatives and/or complementary therapies that have proven their worth alongside traditional medicine.
Acupuncture is the use of very fine needles that penetrate the skin and stimulate specific points of the body. Some practitioners use needles that provide electrical stimulation. Acupuncture is widely used and popular therapy. It is used by many to ease chronic pain and is found to be helpful to those who suffer from depression.
A British National Health Service review found evidence that acupuncture is an effective treatment for dental and jaw pain, and for relieving nausea after operations and chemotherapy.
Acupressure is similar to acupuncture but without the use of needles. Instead of needles practitioners use their hands, elbows or feet to apply pressure to the body’s meridians. Practitioners believe that meridians are channels that carry life energy throughout the body.
The premise or belief is that illness occurs when any of these channels are out of balance or blocked. This treatment is claimed to get the energy flowing freely again and restore well-being.
Experimental studies have had some positive results. Acupressure has been found to decrease nausea that is experienced by chemotherapy patients and is believed to relax people and relieve anxiety.
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils. These oils are extracted from the leaves, roots, flowers or seeds of plants. The oils can be inhaled or used topically to promote healing. Each of these oils has its own unique qualities and specific purpose.
Studies have found that some aromatherapy oils have the ability to reduce pain, depression, and anxiety. Some oils are used in the treatment of infection and inflammation, while others are noted for being able to promote relaxation.
Complementary Therapies videos information.
Chiropractic treatment concentrates on disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous system. This treatment includes disorders relating to pain in the back, arms, legs, neck, and joints. One of the most common procedures is spinal manipulation.
This treatment is often implemented when the movement of a joint has become restricted due to the injury of surrounding tissues. These injuries can occur because of a single incident or through repetitive stress. A chiropractor makes adjustments to the affected areas.
This restores mobility and loosens the muscles. The tissues are healed and the pain is resolved. There have been many medical studies of chiropractic therapy that affirm its efficacy.
The research shows that this practice can reduce pain and improve physical functioning. Chiropractic treatment is widely accepted by the medical profession. Because of this it currently qualifies as complementary medicine more than many other alternative therapies.
Reflexology involves targeting specific areas of the feet, hands, and ears. The theory of reflexology is that these specific areas correspond to different body organs and systems. Applying pressure to these particular areas is believed to positively affect these organs.
For example, when pressure is applied to a spot on the arch of the foot it is claimed to benefit the functioning of the bladder. Reflexology is a therapy that is used by millions of people worldwide as a complement to traditional treatment for medical conditions. These illnesses include cancer, kidney function, asthma, and diabetes.
Some studies have found that breast cancer patients have had improved respiratory function when reflexology is used as a complementary therapy. Other studies have shown a reduction in anxiety and fatigue and an improvement in sleep.
Complementary and alternative medicine -- What you need to know.
The use of herbal medicine is believed to be the oldest form of healing. Herbal medicine is classed as an alternative or complementary therapy in most western countries. However, it still remains the only form of medicine that is available for much of the world’s population.
Herbal medicines work in a similar way to pharmaceutical preparations. Some pharmaceutical medicines are also obtained from plants. One of these is quinine (the pharmaceutical medication for malaria), obtained from the bark of the cinchona tree. The opium poppy is a plant that produces morphine.
Herbal medicine aims to return natural balance to the body to enable it to heal itself. Some commonly used herbs and their traditional uses include:
Echinacea -- stimulates the immune system, helps the body fight infection and is a treatment for boils and herpes.
Garlic -- lowers the levels of blood fats and cholesterol which reduces the risk of heart disease. Garlic contains antibiotic and antiviral properties that make it useful for fighting respiratory infections, colds, and sinusitis.
Ginger -- studies involving ginger have shown positive results in the treatment of nausea, including motion and morning sickness.
Massage therapy is a treatment that is growing in popularity. The massage was once known by the doctors of traditional medicine as alternative medicine, however, it is now being considered as a mainstream complementary option.
Massage therapy is the kneading and massaging of a person’s muscles and other soft body tissues. This form of therapy increases circulation, relieves tension and anxiety, promotes relaxation and improves sleep.
Regular massage therapy has proven to lower blood pressure levels and there are claims that it helps strengthen the body’s immune system. Massages using aromatherapy oil have been used as a complementary treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
What is a complementary health approach?
Are You Considering a Complementary Health Approach? | NCCIHnccih.nih.gov › health › decisions › considering cam
The terms complementary and integrative refer to the use of non-mainstream approaches together with conventional medical approaches. Alternative health approaches refer to the use of non-mainstream products or practices in place of conventional medicine. Are You Considering a Complementary Health Approach?…
What is an example of alternative therapy?
Definition of Alternative medicine -- Medicine
An example is treating heart disease with chelation therapy (which seeks to remove excess metals from the blood) instead of using a standard approach. Examples of alternative practices include homeopathy, traditional medicine, chiropractic, and acupuncture. Complementary medicine is different from alternative medicine. Definition of Alternative medicine…
More articles and videos from my site!
- 1 Complementary and Alternative Therapies
- 1.1 Acupuncture
- 1.2 Acupressure
- 1.3 Aromatherapy
- 1.4 Chiropractic
- 1.5 Reflexology
- 1.6 Herbal Medicines
- 1.7 What is a complementary health approach?
- 1.8 What is an example of alternative therapy?
- 1.9 More articles and videos from my site!