An Alternative Approach To Healthcare
Millions of people every year explore complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to help alleviate a wide range of ailments, usually electing to try some combination of conventional and alternative medicine. In this case the alternative treatment (one which is outside the realm of treatments typically suggested by doctors) would be considered a complimentary treatment.
In the United States, approximately 38 percent of adults and 12 percent of children are using some form of CAM. Let’s explore some of the most widely-pursued courses in alternative medicine.
What are CAM Treatments?
A complimentary treatment is a form of non-conventional medicine which is used in tandem with a conventional treatment to help reinforce or assist in healing. Examples of this would include the use of acupuncture in combination with prescription medications to treat chronic pain or the use of aromatherapy and essential oils to lessen discomfort during recovery from surgery.
In contrast, a treatment would be referred to as alternative if it is not used alongside another conventional method (using acupuncture while bypassing conventional treatments entirely would be considered alternative medicine).
Why Do People Use Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)?
There are many reasons people turn to CAM, including:
- Failure of conventional medicine to successfully treat their condition.
- A belief that natural cures are safer.
- They prefer the holistic approach of CAM which emphasizes a patient’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
One of the most mainstream forms of alternative medicine, chiropractic medicine revolves around the proper alignment of the spine. If the spine is not properly aligned, undue pressure can be put on certain nerves. A chiropractor can judge and then make certain adjustments to the spine to ensure that the bones which comprise the spine are properly aligned, thus alleviating temporary pain.
Many people with both acute and chronic back, neck and joint pain see a chiropractor for regular adjustments.
Treatment with Natural Supplements
The use of certain vitamins, minerals, hisbs, roots and other substances which occur naturally as medicine has been common in all cultures since antiquity. Many of these substances are still used today in many forms including tablets, powders, tea and other brewed drinks.
Natural substances including clover, ginseng, ginger, kava, soy and various kinds of berries have been suggested as effective treatments for everything from anxiety and stress to chronic pain and nausea. Similarly, many people seek the assistance of vitamins and minerals to treat various ailments. For example, a common CAM practice is supplements for hair loss.
Another common use of natural substances is for weight loss. There are various nutrients that can help with everything from sleeping better to boosting energy – all essential tools in the weight loss battle!
Massage therapy revolves around the pressing or movement of the body’s soft tissues. The purpose of this is to both relieve soreness and stiffness in these areas as well as alleviate stress and anxiety. Research suggests that massage does work to remove stress and anxiety, as well as serve as an effective treatment for certain conditions including fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.