Alternative Medicine

28 October 2021

The term alternative medicine is used to describe medical treatments that are outside the mainstream Western medical procedures. It is sometimes called integrative or complementary medicine. The treatments included in this group are changing as Western medicine test and include them in overall plans and insurers are willing to cover their cost. Here are some of the more popular therapies available in the United States.



Using needles to stimulate specific points in the body, this therapy is traditional to the Chinese culture. The devices are very thin, sterile needles used to stimulate the body’s natural healing process. It is proving successful in treating neck and back pain, nausea, anxiety, depression, insomnia, infertility, and other conditions.



The goal of this orientation is to ease pain, improve body function, and help the body to self heal naturally. It consists of a professional using specific techniques to manipulate the spine or other body parts. The goal is to be sure the entire body is in alignment. While its original use was to help back pain or discomfort, it helps a number of other ailments. It reduces headaches and disorders caused by whiplash. It has helped with joint problems.

Energy Therapies

Based on the concept that vital energy flows throughout the body, this includes several categories.

  • Magnetic Field – Both the human body and the earth produce electric and magnetic fields. Touching a magnet to the skin to treat certain conditions. The magnet can be in jewelry, shoe insole, mattress pad, or bandage. Studies show how it helps with osteoarthritis and to accelerate the healing of bone fractures. This is not recommended if you are pregnant, have an implanted cardiac device, use an insulin pump, or use a patch for drug administration.
  • Reiki – The practitioner hovers their hands over your body and lightly places them on your skin to channel their energy into your healing.
  • Therapeutic Touch – Similarly the therapist uses their healing energy to identify and repair imbalances. In Reiki the practitioner will place their hands on you but in therapeutic touch there is actually no physical contact.

Herbal medicine


For centuries experts have used portions of plants to create healing drinks or applications. Certain herbs are shown to be quite effective. However, in the United States herbal supplements are unregulated and supplements can be sold without any proof of effectiveness or even safety. Many plants can be harmful or fatal so be sure to discuss their use with a qualified medical professional.


Begun in India over 3,000 years ago it is based on herbs, special diets, and unique practices. Some of the treatments use toxic materials like lead. Clinical studies are ongoing.

It is good to learn about and understand alternative treatment options. Just be sure that you thoroughly discuss the treatment with all caregivers. There could be unforeseen interactions or complications that can be easily avoided just by having everyone on the same page.

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