“Alternative medicine” and “holistic practices” are some popular buzzwords in the world of health and wellness. But while we hear about them often, most of us don’t really understand what they mean. So, let’s take a closer look at what they are and how some approaches in alternative medicine and holistic practices might benefit your health and wellness.
Alternative medicine is a broad term used to describe a wide range of healing practices which are outside traditional surgical or pharmaceutical remedies. Examples of alternative medicine include massage, acupuncture, and meditation. The terms complementary therapies, holistic practices, natural healthcare, and integrative medicine are also used interchangeably with alternative medicine.
Alternative medicine was once left out of medical school curriculum and hospital care, but of these therapies and techniques are now taught to future healthcare professionals and are also available in hospitals and clinics. In many healthcare settings, they choose to use the name “integrative therapies.”
Types of Alternative Medicine Treatments
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of types of alternative medicine treatments available today. The sheer number can make it overwhelming to anyone who is new investigating their place in their personal wellness plan.
For that reason, the National Institutes of Health established the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). They group these treatments into five broad categories:
Alternative Medical Systems. These include systems such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, which were developed outside of the Western approach, along with acupuncture, homeopathy, and naturopathy.
Mind-Body Interventions. These treatments include social, behavioral, spiritual and psychological approaches to medicine. Examples of mind-body interventions include relaxation classes, support groups, and more.
Biologically-Based Therapies. These therapies use biological materials, such as plants, to provide remedies for ailments. Examples include aromatherapy, herbal medicines, dietary supplements and adjustments to nutrition and diet.
Manipulative and Body-Based Methods. These techniques employ touch, manipulation or movement of the body. These types of therapies include chiropractic care, massage therapy, and yoga, among others.
Energy Therapies. These treatments use various forms of energy to heal, such as electromagnetic, thermal, subtle energy, or ultrasonic. Examples include Reiki, healing touch and electromagnetic therapy.
Is Alternative Medicine Safe?
In order for a treatment to be deemed “safe,” it must not cause harm or hurt your overall health or well-being. This question must be considered with each individual therapy technique, as most are safe while some may not be. It’s important to analyze the benefits of the therapy against the costs. To do this, you must weigh the potential risks against the potential benefits while also considering the evidence of the safety of the treatment.
Is Alternative Medicine Effective?
Similar to the question of safety, each individual must look at evidence of results to determine whether a specific therapy is or is not safe. The potential side effects and risks must be weighed against the likely outcomes and health benefits.
Let F3 Wellness Connections show you options in alternative and holistic medicines. We can assist with you a broad spectrum of treatment options, including Reiki, yoga, massage therapy, diet, herbal supplements, relaxation, and more. Contact us today to learn how you can make alternative medicine a part of your total wellness plan.