Quick Survey: Discovering Alternative Medicine
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Discovering Alternative Medicine

More and more people are turning to alternative medicine for problems for which conventional medicine has no satisfying answers, and also as an alternative to unnecessary drugs and surgery.

Philosophy Of Alternatives

Naturopathy: This is a broad term, referring to a whole range of natural therapies. A naturopathic doctor has four years post graduate training in all branches of natural medicine including nutrition, herbal medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, manipulation, counselling and lifestyle modification. Some specialize in one area, most use a combination.

Homeopathy: This is system of natural medicine discovered at the end of eighteenth century by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. It uses very dilute preparations from the plant, mineral, and animal world to stimulate a sick person's natural defences, to correct the cause of underlying symptoms, and bring the body back into balance.

Chiropractic: This is the largest drugless healing profession in the world, and it focuses on the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractors receive four year post graduate training, including 4,500 hours in basic and clinical sciences. Chiropractic is based on the belief that misaligned spinal vertebrae impinge on nerves exiting from the spine to various body parts, causing discomfort and disease. This problem is corrected through spinal manipulation, a series of quick, painless thrusts that mobilize fixed or immobile joints.

Herbology: This is the art and science of using whole plant remedies to relieve symptoms, to stimulate the body's innate healing powers, and to cleanse and tone organs. Plant medicines are also powerful allies to prevent illness, to balance body functions, and to restore health. Used since ancient times, plants are the source for many modern medicines. Plants have low toxicity if used correctly.

Acupuncture: This is a 5,000 year old Chinese medical system in which health is determined by the flow of chi or vital life energy in 12 major pathways called meridians. The meridians are linked to specific organs and organ systems. Small sterile needles are inserted into the 365 main acupuncture points to help correct and rebalance the flow of energy, thus relieving pain and/or restoring health.

There are many excellent high quality studies which show the value of acupuncture for pain relief and addiction. But it is also used to treat and prevent a whole range of illnesses. It is usually combined with individually determined Chinese herbal medicines.

Body Work: Pioneers like Dr. Milton Trager , Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, and F.M. Alexander found that through a system of exercises and posture changes, the connection between the brain and the muscles could be retrained. Ida Rolf invented a system of deep massage to release emotional patterns held deep in the muscles. All of these therapies are performed by practitioners after extensive training and apprenticeship.

Ayurvedic Medicine: This is a five thousand year old medical science from India, which examines the patient in terms of the five elements of fire, earth, air, water and ether. There are three possible body mind types. Imbalances and illness are treated with diet, herbs, minerals, animal products, exercise, yoga and meditation.

Shamanic Healing: Native healers look for the spiritual cause of illness and use ritual, prayer, dreams and herbs to bring the person back into balance.

Environmental Medicine: Sometimes known as clinical ecology, environmental medicine seeks to identify and treat the underlying dietary and environmental causes of physical and mental symptoms. Various testing procedures are used, and treatment includes avoidance, desensitization shots, oral and intravenous nutritional supplements, and other therapies to boost the immune system.

Aromatherapy: The branch of herbal medicine that uses the medicinal properties of plant essential oils. Essential oils are the subtle volatile liquids of plants extracted by steam distillation or cold pressing i.e the essence of the plant. The oils have a whole range of therapeutic properties depending on their chemical make-up including anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, immuno-stimulant, antidepressant, sedative and stimulating.

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