Complementary and Alternative Therapy and You

Science has proven that utilizing complementary and alternative therapies can be effective for many different illnesses and diseases. Often these treatments can be combined with physician guided therapies and can result in better outcomes. When people talk about complementary therapies what exactly do they mean? These treatments can include herbal therapy, vitamin and mineral supplementation, acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic care, probiotics, homeopathic treatments, massage, meditation, prayer, and exercises therapies such as tai chi. These are generally not scientifically proven but many people have found them to be of benefit and some have been used for thousands of years.

Tai chi incorporates graceful, gliding dance-like poses. Simply watching others doing tai chi can be relaxing. Tai chi is often described as “meditation in motion” because it promotes serenity through gentle movements – connecting the mind and body. Tai chi was originally developed in China as a form of self-defense, and it is a graceful form of exercise that has existed for some 2,000 years. Practiced regularly, tai chi can help you reduce stress and enjoy other health benefits. It can help keep your muscles loose and toned.

Acupuncture and acupressure act in the same manner. Based on Chinese medicine and the belief that chi flows through your body, and that blockages of this chi can cause illnesses and disease, acupuncture and pressure help release those blockages and allow the energies to flow throughout your body in a health way. Acupuncture uses tiny needles that are inserted into the skin, and may also utilize electrical currents. Acupressure uses massage type pressure to promote the same benefits without needles. These complimentary therapies are helpful with stress relief, pain management, and health promotion.

Massage is great way to relax and de-stress. Massages are portable, easy to do, and can be useful for many different problems. Musculoskeletal pains can be treated effectively. Many like to have massages after workouts to help relax their muscles. They can help alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion. Massage can help with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays. They can enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow-the body’s natural defense system. Massages help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts. It can also lessen depression and anxiety, and can improve circulation of blood throughout the body.

Meditation and prayer are similar because they focus the mind and are spiritual means of communicating with a higher power. Effective meditation can lower blood pressure, help with stress, decrease the sympathetic nervous systems response to emotional triggers, as well as helping you sleep. Research has shown that people who pray regularly are less likely to become ill and that when they do, they tend to recover faster. Interestingly, not only does prayer seem to have healing effects upon the people who pray, it also appears to benefit those who are prayed for by others. Prayer can relieve stress and improve mental function.

Don’t forget that foods can be medications: Probiotics, and herbal therapies aren’t regulated by the Federal Drug Administration and are considered to be food products. There are many herbal remedies available. It is important that you discuss herbal products with your doctor as many of them can interact with medications you may be taking. Preventing interactions and side effects is important. Some herbal treatments can be helpful in preventing nausea, and may be tempting for expectant mothers to take. Some of those same herbal treatments can cause spontaneous abortions. So knowing what you are doing when it comes to herbal medications is important.

Vitamin and mineral supplements help improve health and can prevent many illnesses. Adequate vitamin C can prevent scurvy and can help prevent colds. Adequate B vitamins can help improve moods and can boost your metabolism, giving more energy and can prevent anemia. Iron also helps prevent anemia. Vitamins A and E are great anti-oxidants and can help prevent cell damage. Vitamin A is great for your vision. Calcium and Vitamin D are great for your bones and can help prevent bone loss. Vitamins supplements, if taken as recommended, don’t cause any adverse reactions and should be a part of your health regimen.

Explore what these complimentary therapies may do for you.