Sunday, November 05, 2006

Alternative Medicine – Why the rage and what is it?

Alternative medicine seems to have become the “NEW BLACK” in the world of medicine. More and more people are heading towards different forms of keeping healthy than the conventional run of the mill way of doing things. There is no clear definition of “Alternative medicine” but the general consensus seems to be that it is “non conventional.”

Nearly everyone is thinking about or doing either reflexology or aromatherapy, acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, western herbal medicine, Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine), dietary therapy, homeopathy, seeking advice from spiritual healers or a little of them all. And so we see the different ways and means of non conventional medical treatment that goes on.

Why is it the rage? Alternative medication tends to focus more on the patient than the disease. I hear you asking why that is a good thing. Well we are all unique individuals and what works for the one may not always work for the next. In fact in some cases the medication prescribed is nothing but a complete waste of time. There are sometimes other underlying issues at play that conventional medicine does not always see.

It has been said that conventional medicine may be quite effective in dealing with traumatic injury and crises yet it tends to fall short in understanding and effectively treating chronic diseases and degeneration. Conventional medicine focuses on the symptoms while alternative medicine generally takes the more holistic approach.

People are also getting tired of the general adverse effects, the battling of addictions and the increased costs of the more conventional side of medicine. Health care around the world tends to cover less and less and people have had enough. That coupled with the fact that when most doctors may be focusing on the symptoms, they have little, if any regard for the patient and the emotional trauma that they go through. All this leaves a rather bad taste in the patients’ mouth.

Prescription drugs tend to be habit forming and they may have serious adverse side effects that will only be discovered after the fact. Many prescription and over the counter drugs originated from herbs or have herbs as part of the content. Some experts have gone so far as to state the chemical medication that we get prescribed are not defined properly and tend to be rather misleading in what the health risks may be.

Herbs have been used for time and memorial in treating diseases and ailments and it has come back into popularity with a bang. Probably because there uses are so vast. They not only act as a cure in ailments but they are also great as a preventative. Adaptogenic herbs are herbs that increase resistance and resilience in the bodies’ immune system and then you have the tonics that are taken for increased energy. Herbs can be used internally or made into salves or balms for external usage. Herbal teas are great as a relaxant.

Chinese Herbal medicine is an ancient form of healing that originated approximately 4000 years ago and until the time of the renaissance it was far more successful in treating illnesses than Western Medicine. Chinese Herbal medicine incorporates the Yin and Yang, the flow of Qi (pronounced Chee) and the theory of the 5 elements. Health is when the flow of Qi (energy) is balanced because of a constant dynamic process between the yin and the yang. Chinese medicine is extremely effective, safe and gentle.

Ayurveda comes from the words ayus meaning “life” and veda meaning “knowledge”. Its beginnings is purported to come from ancient Hindu Sanskrit written on palm leaves. Herbal medicine is given in conjunction to massages, change of diet and yoga exercises.

I am not suggesting that herbs are without dangers because there are very real ones (arsenic is natural, and we are all aware of the dangers of ephedra), so herbs are only to be used as directed by an Herbalist. Always tell you Doctor if and what herbs you are already taking as some herbs clash horribly and the side effects can be quite dangerous when taken in conjunction with Chemical drugs.

Article By: Michelle Ludick

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