Alternative Health – Looking back at an old way of life
Alternative health options can include everything from natural herbs used to treat sunburn to the use of acupuncture to control unbearable pain. It has existed for thousands of years in one form or another and its beginnings are generally attributed to the Chinese.
Traditional Chinese medicine states that the human body and the environment are closely related and when the body’s rhythms are disturbed, treatment and eventual prevention of the environment can come.
Herbs and other plants are widely used in Chinese medicine to restore the balance in the body. Meditation, acupuncture, and massage are used in combination with the mind and to bring harmony into the body.
According to the Chinese, the forces in the universe are believed to affect everything in life, including our health. These forces are represented by the symbol of yin and yang, the two most powerful cosmic forces in the universe.
Yin is the female force and is represented by the moon, while yang represents the male force and is represented by the sun. Based on these old beliefs, the Chinese developed a health care technology that is in many ways a counterpart to that of Western medicine.
These alternative methods were initially considered ‘quackery’, but as more scientific evidence to prove something else occurred, the early ways of thinking had to be reconsidered.
That scientific proof is hard to come by. The huge pharmaceutical companies will not invest expensive research efforts in techniques that do not generate piles of money. It was not until the mid-1990s that the financing of alternative medicine in academic circles began. Since then it has become a form of therapy and healing that is widely accepted throughout the world.
Eastern medicine concepts Eastern medicine concepts
To understand, you must first understand “Eastern society”. It is a society steeped in tradition and social interaction with centuries behind it. Yin and yang have long been part of that tradition and one of the basic principles of Eastern medicine is that yin and yang divide our bodies into regions.
Our internal organs are considered yin, while yang represents our external organs (such as our skin). The food, including herbs that we eat, contains universal elements that help stabilize our bodies.
If we eat the right combination of yin and yang, our bodies will be in balance. Most diseases are due to the fact that we do not eat the right food and not our body and mind exercise and rest.
If you eat too much Yin or Yang food, even if they are ‘good’ for you, your balance will be disturbed and diseases or aches and pains can occur. In addition to eating the right food to keep our body balanced, Eastern culture developed exercises such as Tai Chi. Tai Chi is an exercise in which you move slowly to promote balance and promote balance. Both this exercise and others, such as yoga, also promote increased blood flow.
The combination of alternative methods with Western technology
Western medicine has been slow in accepting Chinese and other alternative methods of healing and disease prevention, but most doctors trained in the West are now combining the techniques they learned in the medical school with some of the known benefits of alternative medicine.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, a prominent surgeon often seen at the popular Oprah Winfrey Show, recently said that he uses Eastern methods of reflexology and massage on each of his patients undergoing surgery.
Dr. Oz said he felt that the healing process after surgery was accelerated with the use of these techniques. He is certainly not the only one who embraces this valuable way of thinking, because more surgeons are looking for therapies such as Reiki to help their patients heal.
Reiki, an Asian energy therapy, would help bring the body back into balance after a serious illness or surgery. This tradition requires a therapist trained to touch 12 to 15 points on the body to help relieve pain and stress associated with an illness or operation.
Chinese research recently said that combining Western and Eastern medical techniques was good for both patient and medical research in general. For example, research shows that a combination of Chinese herbs and radiation therapy for cancer patients can dramatically reduce the number of tumors and improve the immune system while receiving radiation.
In the Chinese research was evidence that acupuncture has an effect on the central nervous system by releasing endorphins (pleasure hormones) in the brains and other parts of the body.
These hormones are known to promote the health of the organs in our body. The simple act of daily meditation can promote immune system immune cells, such as T cells that kill harmful viruses.
Critics claim that many Chinese therapies (such as meditation) are the result of the placebo effect, but little by little, new findings from both Western and Eastern sources prove that they are wrong.
To combine the best of both Western and Eastern philosophies, a concept must be achieved that relates to lifestyle. Eastern philosophy embraces disease prevention by cultivating a healthier lifestyle through diet and exercise, while Western philosophy tends to treat diseases after they appear, with little attention to prevention or psychological support.
Multiple doctors combine traditional Chinese medicine and other alternative methods with Western medicine to help their patients. It is believed that more than a third of Americans use some form of alternative medicine to supplement conventional medical practices.
Studies and research are taking place every day that make it possible to take a closer look at alternative methods for health care. You can tune into the news daily to learn from yet another positive aspect of using alternative health therapies to promote and maintain your health.
What complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) can do for you
means additional and alternative medicine is the combined use of medical practices and products that are not part of conventional medicine. Many use the CAM approach in the hope that they can prevent diseases and have a better quality of life.
People often turn to CAM because conventional medical techniques are not always successful in the treatment of chronic health problems and psychological behavior. The lack of proper insurance coverage is also a factor in more and more people who turn to CAM.
CAM is based on therapies from both providers and non-suppliers. Caregiver therapies include reflexology and acupuncture and non-vendor therapies include herbal remedies, certain types of exercise, and meditation.
A complementary and alternative approach to your health can help you get in touch with your personal strength and become the best person you can be, both in mind and body.
If you hurt physically or are not mentally alert, life can pass you by and you can find yourself in the proverbial rut. The ancient findings of Eastern medicine, combined with our modern technology, can lead the way back to physical fitness and mental alertness.
Some types of healing therapies and treatments that you could consider are • Aromatherapy – A type of therapy that involves essential oils derived from
herbs, plants, and flowers. The aromatherapy treatments can include massages, baths or inhalation therapies.
- Acupuncture – A professional acupuncturist places long, thin needles just below the skin in certain parts of the body. This therapy can help relieve pain and help your mind relax or get rid of bad habits such as smoking. It is usually completely painless.
- Herbal remedies – Involves the use of natural herbs to relieve or heal ailments such as sunburn, cold, flu, headache, and other symptoms.
- Exercise – Yoga, a series of exercises that promote deep breathing and stretching as well as cardiovascular fitness, is much more part of the Eastern theory of keeping your body fit as a way to ward off diseases and fight them when they occur.
- Natural diet – A good diet of yin and yang foods can help you maintain your weight and also promote mental alertness. A natural diet consists of the “common sense” foods that we all know are good for us, such as fruits, vegetables, grains that are unrefined and unprocessed, legumes and nuts.
- Massage and Reflexology – These therapies are relaxation and healing techniques that help increase blood circulation and relieve tense and tight muscles.
Until a few years ago there was little information about this growing field of care. Now an astonishing amount of books have been written about alternative medicine and these are still appearing in bookstores around the world.
A simple search on the internet will also reveal scientific studies, as well as informative articles about alternative health care and what it can do for you.
Comparison of costs of medical versus alternative methods
Another reason why alternative treatment methods for diseases are becoming so popular, especially among Westerners, is the high cost of traditional medical care. Everyone is talking about it, but no one seems to know the answer to how we can treat thousands of people without health insurance.
Healthcare costs are simply too high for small companies to offer their employees – and even more, comprehensive care plans that some large companies offer are inadequate.
In the United States, those in need of medicine cross the borders of Canada and Mexico, where the cost of medicines is considerably lower. As the benefits and lower costs of alternative medicine become better known worldwide, more people will try to balance their methods in their daily lives and look for alternative healthcare providers who believe in their benefits.
The Bottom Line About Alternative Medicine Therapies
Skeptics are still around saying that alternative medicine is a fraud, but they are now few and far between. Academic medical centers such as Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago are adopting certain alternative medicine techniques to their programs.
US News and World Report recently published an article on alternative drugs and wrote that Children’s Memorial is usually a “hard-nosed, tough-cases, research-oriented emblem of Western medicine.”
When an academic hospital like this begins to allow alternative treatments to coincide with their traditional Western theories, others tend to jump on the train and create their own balance of West and East.
Most doctors today agree that alternative techniques such as yoga, massage, and reflexology play a vital role in our daily lives to keep our health on track. In general, the Chinese believe that a combination of Western and Eastern remedies to treat chronic diseases, such as cancer – few Westerners have given that theory a chance.
It is also important to realize that the Western health care system treats many people who may not be so open to the Eastern way of thinking about health care options. The words ‘alternative medicine’ evoke sorcery and religious connotations that many find ominous and downright frightening.
Over time, and with the help of both Chinese and American concepts, everyone can benefit from intercultural communication and he can raise people’s self-confidence to the next level.
The bottom line in health care is that we need to understand patients, the best treatment or therapy for them and if we cross cultural lines and begin to understand the philosophical framework of Western and Eastern medical practices, we will bring new and better treatment methods to the world.