Gone are the days when alternative medicine was only well known in the Far East or by new-age hippy types. A 2007 National Health Interview Survey revealed that approximately 38% of adults in the US – that’s nearly four out of 10 adults – regularly use some form of complementary or alternative medicine. So what’s the hype all about?
Alternative medicine has been defined as non-conventional medical and healthcare systems, practices, and products. Conventional medicine is associated with doctors and healthcare professionals who hold professional medical doctor (M.D.) degrees or the like.
On the other hand, any other type of medicine falls into the big bag of alternative medicine and is divided into the following main categories of remedies:
This first category includes herbal medicines (think herbal teas), homeopathy (treating with highly diluted substances), vitamins and minerals and other natural or live products such as probiotics (Click here to read our full article).
Historical Trivia – medicinal herbs were found amongst the personal effects of the mummified prehistoric “ice man” who was found in the Italian Alps in 1991.
Mind and Body Remedies
Medicines for the mind and body focus on strengthening the relationship between the two and promoting physical and mental health. Mind and body remedies were ranked amongst the top 10 complementary and alternative medicine practices used by adults in the 2007 survey. Some of the main remedies in this category include (Click on the categories to be taken to other articles in this series):
Historical Trivia – For the past 2000 years, both Chinese and Ayurvedic approaches treatments have focused on using the mind to heal the body – Western countries are finally catching up!
Body Manipulation Techniques
Therapy that falls into this category primarily focuses on the internal systems and structures of the human body – think lymphatic systems, circulation, muscles, bones and soft tissues. Three of the main techniques include Spinal Manipulation, Massage Therapy and Cupping (Click on the link to be taken directly to our article on Boyd Manipulation).
Historical Trivia – Spinal manipulation was used by the Ancient Greeks long before it was incorporated into chiropractic and osteopathic medicine in the 19th Century. Massage therapy also dates back thousands of years and has been recorded in ancient writings from the Orient, Asia, Arabia and Greece.
Over the next week we will be zoning in on these three categories to bring you a better understanding of alternative medicines and what they can offer you – including food groups specific to your body type in our article “Ayurvedic Diets for Your Dosha“. We hope you enjoy this feature and let us know below what categories you are most interested to learn more about!
*Just remember though that if you are already being treated by conventional medicine or have an on-going health concern, always check with your doctor first, to see how you can safely incorporate alternative or complementary medicine into your wellness plan.