Alternative Medicine: A Newbie Guide

Both alternative and complementary health practices are growing in popularity among Americans. The holistic approach to both physical and mental health is on the rise, and you might want to jump on the bandwagon. 

From treating sciatica to anxiety, the holistic approach seems to be doing miracles for many. Some call them natural panaceas, while others grudgingly accept their meaning. We are here to provide you with a quick insight and help you start.

What Is Alternative Medicine?

The term ‘alternative medicine’ is used to describe any health treatment, which is not standard in Western medical practice. ‘Complementary medicine’ is the name for the combination of conventional methods and alternative approaches.

The field is quite diverse, making it challenging to define further. So, no matter whether you decide to practice traditional Chinese medicine or start doing yoga, it may be called alternative.

The benefits of these therapies are teeming with anecdotal evidence, while research around it is still inconclusive. Still, almost 40% of Americans use it, NIH reports.

What Is Naturopathy?

Naturopathic medicine has been all the rage lately. Its central premise is that nature has healing powers, and as such, it’s one of the broadest fields of alternative medicine.

The experts in this field have training in conventional and alternative practices. Their goal is to understand the cause of an illness by focusing on the mental, physical, and spiritual aspects.

Some Common Practices

Below, we’ll briefly describe some of the most common alternative medicine practices. Be sure to get informed about each before you start.

  • Aromatherapy focuses on the sense of smell and its calming effects. It includes breathing in essential oils to improve sleep quality and treat anxiety and depression. 
  • Ayurveda has been a tradition in India for centuries now. It stresses the connection of people to their environment. Besides, it utilizes herbs, diets, and metals to treat conditions.
  • Balneotherapy involves hot and cold baths in salty or sulfurous waters. It’s best known for treating arthritis.
  • Chiropractics revolves around how the spine affects the body. It’s used to alleviate pain.
  • Acupuncture is a process of stimulating critical areas of the body with needles, which store energy. It helps tension headaches and chronic pain. 
  • Reiki is a Japanese relaxation method. It seeks to rid the body of negative energy that makes you feel sick.
  • Reflexology involves applying pressure to the hands, ears, and feet, which connect to our organs. It’s linked to treating PMS, sinusitis, cardiovascular issues, and more.

The Bottom Line

The field of alternative medicine is so vast that you won’t be able to grasp the whole of it. With more research taking place in these areas, in a decade, we’ll know more about it. Still, even today, integrating some of them can have substantial health benefits.

However, remember to listen to your body and get informed before you try anything new. It could be a game-changer – if you do it right.