Alternative Therapies for Healing the Body
Alternative therapies for healing the body have been in common use the world over, since ages. People call them by different names including holistic medicine, complimentary therapy and traditional medicine.
Alternative therapies are now more widely in use than ever before. In the U. S the use of alternative therapies is increasing by the day. 40% of adults & 12 % of children have reported taking recourse to alternative medicine at some point.
Experts term Alternative Therapies as “health care approaches with a history of use or origins outside of mainstream medicine.”
For better understanding we can divide these therapies into four main categories:
- Manipulative & body – based therapies
- Biologically – based therapies
- Energy therapies
- Mind-body therapies
In addition, there are a number of Systems of Care, most of which are essentially traditional in nature. Some of these systems of care are:
- Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
- Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine )
All Alternative therapies and Care systems believe in:
- Bringing the body into the right balance because an out-of- balance body falls ill
- Giving the body the right conditions for bringing itself into balance & healing itself
- Treating the whole body & the person instead of the disease or it’s symptoms only
- Allowing the healing process to take its time
- Using natural products instead of the synthetic
Some Popular Alternative Therapies That Heal the Body
Chiropractic is a manipulative, body -based alternative practice. It’s a hands-on therapy which focuses primarily on manipulating and adjusting the spine and bringing it into alignment.
In addition to this main treatment of backbone adjustment, chiropractors also use a variety of side treatments for maximum health benefits.
Chiropractic is widely used in the U. S.10.3% of the adult population get chiropractic treatment every year, spending 3.9 billion dollars on it. A huge majority of these patients report great benefits from their treatment.
Chiropractic treatment includes adjustment of the spine and other joints using the hands or a device to apply a rapid force on the joint.
The aim is to restore health by increasing the range and quality of movement of the joint.
It is common for chiropractic practioners to combine a range of other treatments with spinal adjustment to gain full health benefits. These may include:
- Applying heat or ice
- Using electrical stimulation
- Prescribing relaxation techniques & dietary supplements
- Advising certain exercises
- Relieves neck , lower back and hip pain
- Boosts the immune system
- Treats Sciatica
- Improves allergies
- Treats Scoliosis
- Treats learning and behavioral shortcomings in children
- Helps prevent joint dysfunction
- Lowers blood pressure and normalizes it
- Helps manage mood swings
- Helps in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders
Biofeedback is a mind-body alternative therapy which teaches a person the ways to change their physiology to promote their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
It involves training and not treatment. Patients receiving biofeedback therapy have to actively participate in the training sessions and practice regularly between the sessions.
Clinical biofeedback helps the patient improve their overall well-being and health by training them to manage disease symptoms and overcome stress.
Biofeedback is becoming increasingly popular in the U. S as more and more Americans are learning about this relatively new technique and its health benefits. Moreover it is recognized by the National Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine as one of the mind–body therapies.
It requires special equipment and a trained practioner to guide the therapy.
The therapist attaches electrodes to the skin. These electrodes/sensors send signals to a monitor. and then monitor displays a sound, flash of light, or image representing the pulse and breathing rate, blood pressure, and skin temperature, sweating or muscle activity.
The biofeedback therapist then helps the patient practice relaxation exercises that help them control their body functions. The patient gets immediate feedback on the monitor screen.
Relaxation exercises can include:
- Mindfulness meditation which helps get rid of the negative emotions
- Deep breathing
- Muscle relaxation, and
- Concentrating on images
- Improves academic performance
- Also athletic performance
- Not to mention overall health
- Helps lower high blood pressure
- Relieves headache, migraine
- Helps manage stress & anxiety
- Helps in managing urinary incontinence
- Relieves constipation
- Helps in epilepsy management
- Helps improve asthma
Acupressure is an energy alternative therapy in which finger pressure replaces needle pricking. Some like to describe it as a form of touch therapy.
Much like acupuncture, acupressure is also a part of the ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine system. In acupressure the points of pressure are the same as in acupuncture.
Acupressure practioners believe that’ life energy’ (Qi) flows through channels or ‘meridians ‘in the body. In order to clear any blockages that may occur in these meridians, physical pressure has to be applied on the acupuncture pressure points.
Practioners apply this pressure by hand, elbow or by the aid of various devices.
Acupressure is finding growing acceptability in the United States. A number of schools and colleges offer certification courses in Acupressure. Certified practioners offer acupressure services across the country.
There are a total of 12 meridians (channels) in the body in which energy or ‘Q i ‘flows.
These channels are linked to various specific organs like heart, kidneys, liver etc. Pressure points are located along these channels. On applying precise pressure on an acupoint, energy (Qi) starts flowing through the meridian.
There are 365 pressure points on the main channels plus another 650 individual points.
The practioner may use different techniques to apply the pressure. He may:
- Tonify the Qi if he finds it to be weak
- Disperse the Qi if it is blocked
- Calm the Qi if it is overactive
The practioner may hold the pressure from a few seconds to a few minutes. He may apply the pressure in circular movements, push the point in and out or combine both techniques.
The treatment may be once daily or many times in a day, depending on the condition Acupressure is a non-invasive, painless alternative therapy.
Acupressure benefits the patient in:
- Weak immune system
- Sleep disorders
- Muscles & joints stiffness
- Digestive disorders
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