The term “Alternative Therapy” includes health treatments that are not standard practice within the Western Medical Science. Complementary and Alternative therapies lie in a very diverse field of practice and are difficult to define.
Alternative treatments can be used in place of conventional medicine when used together with standard medical treatment; it can be referred to as Complementary medicine. Alternative therapies include the use of several practices, diet, and exercise, hypnosis, chiropractic, acupuncture and more.
5 Types of Alternative and Complementary Medicine:
Traditional Alternative Medicine; more accepted forms that have been in use for centuries:
- Acupuncture; includes an array of specific procedures, not all including needles, that stimulate targeted points on the body. Some studies found it helpful in cases of chronic pain and depression. But, more research is needed because the evidence on both counts is mixed.
- Homeopathy; is based on the principle of treating an illness with very small doses of the substance that is the cause of the illness. (Much the same as the application of vaccinations for measles and polio, etc.) Before treating a patient, a Homeopath will gather extensive information on the background of the patient. There is evidence that homeopathy is more effective than some treatments but still needs more research to determine this efficacy.
- Naturopathy; uses the healing power of nature to treat their patients. Naturopathic doctors are trained in alternative and conventional medicines. They seek to understand what caused the condition, and what influence it has on physical, mental and spiritual manifestations in a patient, rather than just treating the symptoms of the condition. It includes many therapies and is therefore difficult to research its effectiveness.
- Chiropractic; focus on the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that will include, pain in the back, joints, neck, legs, arms, and head. Chiropractic adjustments are intended to restore mobility. It loosens muscles and allows the affected tissues to heal and the pain to resolve. Research shows that it is an effective practice that will decrease pain and improve mobility.
- Hypnosis; causes a heightened awareness, concentration and focus. While blocking out distractions, the person can intensely concentrate on a specific action or thought. When used in therapeutic therapies, it is called hypnotherapy. Focusing the mind on a certain action or idea and then suggesting a possible change. Hypnosis has been used with effective, positive, results in different types of conditions, for instance, pain relief, etc.
The benefits of these alternative and complementary therapies (or the lack of benefits) are contested widely. There is always more research needed to determine the positive or negative outcomes of these practices. The efficacy is also always in doubt. However, this never stopped people from engaging in these practices.