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Four Forms Of Alternative Medicine

May 21, 2008
Alternative medicine is often described as any form of treatment that differs from conventional medicine. As a method of treating a variety of ailments, alternative medicine is becoming increasingly popular with members of the public. As more people choose to use alternative treatments, the effectiveness and efficiency of the methods are being evermore tested and proved. This article attempts to highlight some of the most popular forms of alternative medicine treatments but is in no way a comprehensive list.

The first of these treatments is homeopathy; this form of alternative medicine has been in existence since the time of the Ancient Greeks. The word in fact means 'similar disease or suffering'. While some see homeopathy as purely a means of treating conditions diagnosed in contemporary medicine, it is in fact a science that uses its of diagnosis' to classify a variety of medical problems.

This form of alternative medicine has the ultimate objective of using the body's own defence mechanisms to cure the patient. Subsequently, the remedies given in homeopathy rely upon small doses to stimulate the natural defences of the body. A homeopathy practitioner works closely with the patient to develop a treatment plan that will achieve the best possible result. The approach is all encompassing, taking into account the whole body rather than purely the affected area.

Naturopathy is another form of alternative medicine that comes from the Indian medical heritage. Once again it relies upon the body's ability to heal itself. As a result a naturopathic practitioner avoids using artificial medicines and surgery and instead attempts to heal their patients with the use of herbalism, acupuncture and aromatherapy combined. The differing forms of regulation for this medical profession mean that some are wary of its benefits, but they are definitely there. A well trained naturopath will be able to utilise blood tests and images to clearly diagnose what is wrong with a patient, by doing this they are able to devise a course of treatment that will heal the certain area.

Alternative medicine also broaches the physical ailments in terms of muscular problems, this area is named chiropractics. A chiropractor attempts to diagnose muscular problems and attempts to explain the relationship with the nervous system. Treatment is fundamentally physical, using manipulation of the body to heal affected areas. This form of alternative medicine is strongly advisable for complaints such as back pain.

Also, this form of treatment is well regulated as training is needed to perform on patients, in some cases, even a degree is necessary. The treatment is not purely about manipulating the body however, a practitioner will attempt to give the patient advice on lifestyle and exercise as a full solution to muscular problems. Like other forms of alternative medicine it relies on the body's ability to heal itself for successful treatment.

One of the disciplines of alternative medicine does not rely on the body's healing ability is herbal medicine. Instead of using synthetic drugs, herbal medicines are formulated from plant extracts; subsequently chemical additives are removed form the treatment equation. With prolonged use, some consider this a way of boosting the immune system and warding off disease in the long term. There can be side affects with herbal treatments however, and the usual advice is that a course should only be used after consultation with your physician.

These four forms of alternative medicine only scratch the surface of the wide array available to patients today. Picking the right ones can be difficult but with good advice it should be possible to find a treatment that will lead to good health and happiness.
About the Author
Health expert Thomas Pretty looks into varieties of alternative medicine and the benefits they can bring to patients.
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