We hear a lot today about alternative medicine, but when you stop to think about it further, many people ask themselves how it differs from conventional medication whereby you go and see your doctor, and get a prescription for a few pills. They wonder why it is labeled “alternative”, and they have a suspicion that someone is trying to pull the wool over their eyes.
This sort of response is very common when people who are skeptical about the legitimacy of alternative medicine, air their views. However, when you listen to the views of those who have experienced alternative medicine, you will find that you get a totally different response, and one that is based on first-hand knowledge. You will hear people tell of an overall improvement to their heath, the joy of the ease of buying medicines over the counter, together with an enhanced feeling of well being.
In order to fully appreciate the positive side of alternative medicine and what it can do for you, it would perhaps be more prudent to understand just what it involves. In broad terms, alternative medicine is something that sits outside of mainstream medicine, and it works by combining various elements of your lifestyle including your diet, your exercise regime, your spiritual; well being, as well as the actual medicine itself.
So, things like acupuncture, aromatherapy, herbal treatments and a holistic approach, are all branches of the same tree known as “alternative medicine”.
Let’s explore a few examples in a little more depth.
* Herbal Treatments – Herbal medication has been around since time immemorial and is based on using the natural extracts of certain plants and herbs to create medicines for various ailments. The medication may be in the form of pills, capsules, or liquids (including teas and tisanes), and harnesses the power of Mother Nature in the healing process. It gives you the opportunity to use safe, natural products, rather than automatically taking the more invasive course of action of introducing foreign chemicals into your body system.
* Meditation – Once again, meditation is something that human beings have practiced for centuries. It doesn’t require any pills or potions because it is something that you generate from your inner self. Meditation is really a discipline; it is a way of training your mind to filter out all of the extraneous thoughts and influences so that you can concentrate your whole being in one particular dimension. It involves creating a condition of complete self relaxation from whence you can reflect on the particular issue(s) that are meaningful to you, and in a way that allows no preconceived biases to influence your thought process. There are many different schools of approach which will teach you how to achieve a meditative state; the choice is yours, but the benefits are immense. You can become at peace with yourself and with the world around you, eliminating stress and uncertainty.
* Acupuncture – This is one of the branches of ancient Chinese medicine, a school of medicine which is widely respected across the world. Acupuncture works on premise that all of our bodies have an energy flow that permeates throughout. This flow or energy has certain nodes or points where it can be intercepted. This interception takes place through the act of inserting a long, thin, acupuncture needle into your flesh in precisely the correct location. This creates points of influence within the energy flow from which healing energy is enabled and directed to counteract the disharmony that is causing the pain or symptom. In slightly more “scientific” terms, the acupuncture needles tap into healthy energy whilst blocking the nerve cells that are producing the pain and/or discomfort.
* Osteopathy – This branch of alternative medicine is concerned with your musculoskeletal system, and osteopathy describes a number of physical treatments (like massage manipulation), that are applied to certain areas of the body. The most common complaints that osteopathy is practiced upon are conditions in the back and neck. The art is in knowing the areas of the body where to apply the therapy. The human body is a complex mechanism, and one that reacts to pain by compensating for it in some way that manifests itself in a symptom elsewhere. A trained osteopath will be able to define the fact that a painful condition in the neck may actually be caused by a slight misalignment of the spine which causes you to carry your neck in a slightly unnatural way, thus causing pain. Treatment to the spine will in this instance cure the neck pain.
The true advantage to alternative medicine is that it is 100% natural and 100% safe. Even though medical science has not yet fully acknowledged its effectiveness, it is interesting to note that more and more conventional medications are being linked back to natural products for their curative powers, and that more and more conventional institutions are introducing alternative therapies into their clinics.