Alternative Medicine: The Ins and Outs of Non-Traditional Healing


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Sep 28, 2020
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Traditionally, the first response for Americans to any type of medical issue is conventional medicine. There is, however, another option. Alternative medicine is sometimes considered the oldest medicine in the world.
Alternative medicine envelops the concept of seeking out non-traditional ways to deal with day-to-day health issues. This type of medicine looks beyond taking medication.
People look to use alternative medicine for two main reasons. The first is because of the idea that taking medications can potentially lead to unhealthy results such as dependencies and side effects. The second is because of the natural curiosity of man to find better methods to heal.
Alternative medicine encompasses many different therapies, such as hypnosis, color therapy, yoga, meditation, herbal remedies, vitamin therapy, and many more.
The main focus of alternative medicine is that life is a combination of parts that includes more than the treatment of disease. There is a definite focus on living life well, happily, and with purpose. It is believed that this is an essential part of healthy living.
This guide will explore the many different components of alternative medicine, and how it can help you. Consider using the ideas captured here next time you feel ill to begin feeling better naturally.

Chapter 1
Alternative Medicine & Its History

Treatments Beyond Conventional

When most people get sick, they look to conventional methods of medical treatment for relief and healing. There are alternative methods to treatment that are becoming increasingly popular.
What treatments are considered “conventional?” Prescription medication, traditional surgery, and computerized scientific testing are three examples of conventional medicine. Most physicians support conventional medicine in their practices, so when seeing a doctor, it is highly likely you will be advised to follow conventional medical advise.
The decision to use conventional medicine should be made by the patient and doctor on a case by case basis. An alteration to the type of treatment is sometimes all that is needed to feel better.
Alternative treatments include:

Herbal remedies




Many more!

Patients will often find themselves turning to alternative methods of treatment when conventional methods are ineffective or a medical problem has been

deemed untreatable. Alternative treatments are designed to not only aid in pain relief, but also reduce stress and tension that can worsen chronic pain.
Alternative methods of treatment focus on the whole person; body and soul. Convention methods strictly focus on the physical problems alone. For alternative methods to be effective, the patient must be motivated and believe in the
alternative treatment’s ability to work.

Of course, any serious, life-threatening health problem should blend conventional and alternative methods for a comprehensive approach. Be sure to consult with your doctor to avoid complications. If planned well, you can take advantage of best of both types of medicine for a life that is comfortable and enjoyable.

Alternative Medicine History & Theory

Thousands of years ago, all medicine was “alternative medicine.” Before modern science, healers would consider the full picture - emotional, physical, and spiritual – before healing a sick person.
This is one of the main differences between modern conventional medicine and alternative medicine. Alternative medicine does not look for the instant cure for the physical problem, rather is looks more at a long-term solution that includes the whole self.
Just a few centuries ago in Europe there were two types of healers; folk healers that used old tried-and-true methods, and professional physicians. The lower classes did not have the money to pay for the professional physicians, but they used the folk healers and it worked.
In North America, philosophy and religion were often used to help folk healers provide holistic treatments.
The conventional medicine that we have today has evolved from the days of folk healers and alternative medicine. Many conventional physician support different

types of holistic treatments in the overall wellness plan for their patients. The reason that alternative medicine has stood the test of time is because it works!

Ancient Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) includes acupuncture, Qigong, herbal
treatments, deep massage, and more. More than 25% of the world’s population practices TCM.
Several reputable groups, such as the World Health Organization and the National Institute of Health, find traditional Chinese medicine to be a viable alternative to contemporary medicine.
Many parts of TCM began well over 3,000 years ago in China. The focus of TCM is Qi (pronounced “Chee”), which is the body’s energy that connects it to the world around us. It is believed that all disorders and bodily problems are caused by the misalignment of Qi. Acupuncture is one of the most widely recognized methods of bringing the Qi into alignment.
Herbal remedies are popular in traditional Chinese medicine. They are used to relax and calm the patient’s emotions to avoid depression, and provide a more positive outlook on the illness. This helps tremendously in the healing process. Ginseng and herbal green tea are the most popular herbal remedies in China.
Exercise, mainly Qigong (pronounce “Chee Kung”), is also an important part of traditional Chinese medicine. Qigong involves posture, meditation, and slow, calculated body movements.

Tibetan Medicine

Tibetan Medicine is almost solely based on herbal remedies, and has been around for over 2,500 years. It is called “gSoba Rig-pa”. Tibetans mostly live in

India because they have been in exile since the late 1950’s. They practice Tibetan Buddhism.
There is a Tibetan Medical Institute in Northern India, where doctors studying Tibetan medicine attend for 7 years before earning a degree.
The underlying belief in Tibetan medicine is that all illnesses are caused by poisonous thinking which include dread, denial, and want. This concept ties to the principles of Buddhist philosophy.
The three poisonous thoughts are believed to be caused by poor diet, inappropriate behavior, and the imbalance of time and season. This concept is more complicated than this, but this simplification will give a general sense of it.
Cures are linked to all systems of the body working together. The elimination of sweat, feces and urine contributes to this harmony.
Similar to the Chinese “Qi”, the Tibetans have the Rlung, which is the overall life force that connects us to the universe. Rlung has five types:
Centered in the brain. Life grasping – controls breathing, intellect, sneezing and swallowing.
Centered in the chest. Upward moving – controls verbal ability and stamina.
Centered in the heart. All pervading – controls all movement like that of the orifices of the body and walking.
Centered in the stomach. Fire accompanying – controls digestion and metabolism.
Centered in the rectum. Downward cleansing – controls everything that is expelled from the body, such as babies, menstrual blood or semen.

Tibetan medicine usually handles sickness diagnosis by analysis of the tongue and urine. The spiritual element is also at play in Tibetan medicine, with much attention spent focusing on the type and temperament of spirits in the body.

American Indian Medicine (aka Native American Medicine)

North American Indian tribes have been practicing medicine for what some claim to be over 40,000 years. The medical information and techniques are handed down from generation to generation; ensure the longevity of the practice.
Some remedies are tribe-specific, although all tribal medicine is called Native American Medicine, collectively. Native Americans believe that man is one with nature and that the elements provide strength and can cure disease.
It is fascinating to note that at the same time that Native American medicine was being practiced in North America, Traditional Chinese Medicine was being practiced a half a world away. Ayurveda (medicine practiced in India), was also practiced at this time, and will be covered next.
All of these traditional medical practices are based on the same fundamental belief that a person’s lifestyle and environment should be taken into consideration before choosing a treatment path. There are subtle differences between the practices that are specific to the region.
Native American medicine recognizes a purification procedure involving herbal smoke before and after treatment. Treatments include the use of sage and cedar smoke to repel negative energy. Negative energy is considered the pain released by someone who is ill, or the pain that the healer takes on themselves from their patients. Therapeutic touch is used. Singing, chanting, drums and rattles accompany the healing during the session.

Ayurvedic Medicine

Ayurvedic Medicine is practiced in India, and focuses on natural healing. Practitioners believe that it is important for the body to be balanced, and all medicines are based on vegetables and minerals, with the active ingredients from plant alkaloids.

In Ayurvedic Medicine there is the belief that there are three elements in the body, called Kapha, Pitta, and Vata, that cause disease.

Kapha: This energy is caused by the lack of stabilizing the balance in the body. These are commonly called viruses by Westerners.

Pitta: This energy supports vision, temperature, hunger, thirst, intelligence, and happiness. When out of alignment, the outcomes include weight fluctuation, dehydration, depression, digestive issues, and apathy.

Vata: This energy keeps the overall balance between the earth, sky and world around us in check with ourselves. If it falls out of balance, sickness is invited in.

Disease is called Vyaadhi, and it is treated by focusing on the imbalance of elements.