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What is Alternative Healthcare?
If you’ve ever drank a cup of hot herbal tea to help you fall asleep or you’ve massaged your temples to ease a headache instead of taking a pill, then you have practiced alternative healthcare. While conventional healthcare depends on synthetic drugs to treat diseases and disorders, alternative healthcare does not. Instead, alternative healthcare takes a natural approach; using the mind, body and spirit to heal the core of illness and imbalance. There is no one single form of unconventional therapy; in fact, alternative care encompasses a variety of natural practices that include:
- Naturopathic care**
- Herbal therapies
- Chiropractor care
**Side notes: Naturopathic care (NC) emphasizes prevention, treatment, and ideal health by utilizing therapies that promote self-healing. Naturopathic doctors practice medicine that integrates natural methods of healing with scientific methods. NC focuses on the cause of illness, treating the body as a whole, and not just individual symptoms. NC is also focuses on nutrition being the foundation of having good health.
**Homeopathy is a holistic therapy that treats illness with highly diluted substances from plant, animal, mineral kingdoms and biological sources. The substance used is based on individual symptoms. It’s mainly in tablet form and the treatment activates the body’s natural healing response. Homeopathic remedies for common ailments are available at health food stores. More serious illnesses can be treated by a qualified homeopathic practitioner that can customize a treatment plan. Find out more here.
Alternative Healthcare in Everyday Life
I use alternative healthcare in my life on a regular basis and wouldn’t be able to function properly without it. Here are some of the things I do or have tried:
- Every day I eat herbs to keep me healthy.
- Every few months I get a sports therapy or Swedish massage to relax and eliminate pain from a rotator cuff injury.
- Acupuncture done on my face and back alleviated pain from a bad car accident several years ago. Medical studies agree!
- Going to a chiropractor every few months helps when my back and neck gets sore.
- I have been treated by a homeopathy specialist for uterine fibroids.
- Daily meditation helps with my mental health and well-being.
- I do yoga several times a week for mental health and physical flexibility.
- I exercise three or four days a week for mental and physical health.
Alternative healthcare IS my life and know you will like the benefits of it in your life!
The Benefits of Alternative Healthcare:
- More Natural: Pharmaceutical drugs are used by many people. While they may be effective at curing and treating disorders, some drugs can cause additional health problems. Alternative health care supplements are natural and include vitamins, minerals and enzymes that work naturally with the body to correct imbalances.
- Treats the Cause not Just the Symptoms: Total health can only be restored when the cause of the disorder is found and eradicated. Conventional healthcare is notorious for treating symptoms and not the cause of the symptoms. With holistic healing, specialists listen to the messages of the body and mind to find the cause and get rid of it. For example, if you go to a traditional doctor with problems of bloating, gas and irregular bowel movements, antacids and stool softeners will be prescribed. However, if you go to an alternative health practitioner or naturopath doctor, a holistic healing is prescribed. Intestinal unbalances are pinpointed. A plan for detoxing, healthy food, fiber, and probiotics is implemented to encourage the growth of friendly bacteria.
- Fewer Side Effects: How many times have you seen a new drug on TV with side effects much worse than the problem it’s treating? While some alternative medicines can cause short lasting side effects, they are far fewer and less damaging than that of the conventional kind, especially if monitored and used in proper amounts.
- Balances the Mind With the Body: When the mind is at peace, the body will be balanced. People seek holistic care for both the mental and physical benefits. Meditation, yoga and breathing can encourage contentment and peace. And when the mind is peaceful, negative symptoms are often eliminated.
- Less Expensive: While certain therapies such as acupuncture and homeopathy can be costly, when compared to conventional treatments, alternative care is a lot less expensive.
While there is need for traditional care, especially in cases of surgery and emergencies, alternative care can often take the place of conventional therapy.
My Top 5 Favorite Alternative Healthcare Remedies:
1. Sinus Trouble: Fresh pineapple juice, nasal irrigation with a neti pot filled with warm saline water, and facial (pressure point) massage. (I usually buy fresh pineapple already cut up in a plastic container. For the neti pot, make sure not to have the water too hot.)
2. Cold: Tea made with one or two organic lemons, raw (unheated) honey, spring water, and two cloves of crushed (non-irradiated) garlic. (Yes, that’s a lot of garlic but it knocks the cold out. And it keeps away the vampires!)
3. Restful sleep (without nightmares): Two or three drops of lavender oil on my pillow put me in a peaceful dreamland.
4. Birth control: Wild Yam root. Three pills twice a day. Take it for five weeks before it kicks in. Do not deviate from these instructions. This is an old remedy that a Jamaican woman told me about when I first got married years ago. I was skeptical at first, but after researching and talking to several midwives and women that used it, I gave it try and love it. I know it works since I only have one child instead of four children! Wild Yam is also great for menstrual problems and energizes the entire female system. Much better than birth control pills, with no side effects. I will post an article with more information about this wonderful herb.
5. Back Pain: Acupuncture, Yoga (cat stretch and child poses)
Share your favorite alternative health remedy.
Check out this subscriber question and my answer about treating uterine fibroids.