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Types of Alternative Medicine

Posted Nov 29 2009 10:00pm

Various types of alternative medicine are designed to promote health, heal the body, and improve overall well being. There are five basic categories in which complementary medicine approaches fall. In some cases, the types overlap, with one approach fitting into two or more categories of alternative and complementary medicine.

Types of Alternative Medicine

Therapies that Use Energy

Energy is a driving element in every living thing. The body is filled with energy centers that help it to function properly. When the energy is blocked, it can lead to disruptions in health in the mental, emotional and physical realms. These approaches include:

• Energy medicine is an approach that focuses on creating balance within the body by using various methods. Methods like removing toxins that can interfere with proper functioning are popular approaches.
• Reiki is an energy system the promotes healing through the transfer of energy from practitioner to patient.
• TT, or therapeutic touch also involves transfer of energy from the therapist to the patient.

Biological Approaches

Biological approaches involve using vitamins, supplements, and dietary interventions to improve health. Many of the strategies have some clinical backing while others require further investigation as to whether they are effective or not.

• Antioxidants are well known for their healthy benefits, and many adopt these elements into their daily intake of food and supplements.
• Raw food is a vegan approach to eating that keeps digestive enzymes active since the vegetables and fruits are not cooked. Some foods like legumes have to be activated before ingesting.
• Herbal supplements are extremely popular, with many people adopting supplements like Echinacea and St. John’s wort to boost immune system as well as mood.

Mind-Body Approaches

The connection between the body, spirit and the mind can help an individual improve health on many different levels. Approaches that use this connection may involve other modes of healing as well.

• Neuro linguistic programming (NLP) is a mind programming technique that helps the individual improve health by using brain functioning. The approach is closely related to hypnosis and hypnotherapy.
• Meditation is a naturally relaxing form of alternative medicine that can improve circulation and mood.
• Biofeedback helps patients to “listen” to their bodies.

Body-Based Techniques

Body-based techniques seek to address structural problems in the body in order to improve health. Approaches typically involve some form of manipulation.

• Chiropractic medicine involves improving health by putting the spine and joints of the body in proper alignment.
• Alexander Technique promotes health by retraining the body to stand, sit and posture itself correctly.
• Therapeutic massage can be used in a number of ways to improve health of the patient. The approach can reduce blood pressure, promote circulation, and relieve stress and tension in the body.

Other Alternative Medicine Approaches

Some forms of alternative and complementary medicine incorporate a number of different approaches in a system. Traditional Chinese Medicine, Naturopathic medicine, and Ayurveda are examples of alternative medicine systems that incorporate different elements based on their respective theories.

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