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Complimentary Medicine - Types and Information

  • Date: 2011/01/21 Disabled World
  • Synopsis : Complimentary Medicine refers to forms of therapy which compliment mainstream forms of medical treatments.

Main Document

The term, 'Complimentary Medicine,' is one that refers to forms of therapy which compliment mainstream forms of medical treatments. The term is used to collectively describe any practices or treatments that promote a feeling of well-being in a person by re-balancing their body, increasing a person's energy levels, reducing the effects of stress a person experiences, or reducing aches and pains.

Treatments through complimentary medicine focus on the base of the person's condition, as well as the treatment of the symptoms the person is experiencing and the finding of a permanent solution to the person's issues.

Many people who experience chronic pain are aware of the fact that medications alone are often insufficient of themselves where pain relief is concerned. Consistent pain many times finds people seeking forms of treatments that are outside of the usual forms of Western medicine. The Journal of the American Medical Association found that forty-percent of people in America, as well as two-thirds of the world's population, make use of alternative or complementary therapies.

Even though the terms, 'complimentary medicine,' and, 'alternative medicine,' are many times used to mean the same thing by some, there are differences. Complimentary forms of therapies are used in conjunction with Western medicine; for example, while alternative medicine is not. Where a person pursuing complimentary medicine might take Western medications as well as managing pain through guided imagery, a person using alternative medicine might pursue a unique diet instead of taking medications prescribed by a Western doctor.

While complimentary forms of treatment can include exercise and diet, it may also involve massage, biofeedback, acupuncture, or chiropractic care. Pursuit of self-regulation methods like yoga, relaxation training or, 'Jin Shin Jyutsu,' a process involving the balancing of a person's energies with the goal of increasing their well-being and health, may also be pursued.

Health; from a complimentary medicine perspective, is many times perceived as a balance between emotional, physical, and spiritual factors. Complimentary medicine seeks to restore a person's balance in these areas. The most common forms of complimentary treatments people pursue in America include chiropractic care, acupuncture, naturopathy, herbal medicine, and homeopathy.

Chiropractic Manipulation: Chiropractic treatments are administered by chiropractors, manual therapists, and osteopathic physicians. The treatments involve the manipulation of a person's tissues through the manual laying on of hands. The main focus, according to the International Chiropractic Association, is to detect, reduce, and correct spinal mis-alignments and nervous system dysfunctions. A chiropractor will make an attempt to find the cause of the problem and find a way to increase the person's body strengths to their greatest capacity without the use of either medications or surgical intervention.

Biofeedback: Biofeedback is a method people can learn that uses auditory or visual, 'cues,' in order to control their own biological responses to stress and pain. The method helps people to listen to their body. A biofeedback trainer might use a device that detects signals from the person's muscles; for example, and translate the signals into a sound such as a beep, or perhaps a visual cue the person can recognize. If; for example, a biofeedback machine emits a sound or light each time a person's muscles become tense, the person can learn to associate the sensation they are experiencing with the level of tension. From there, the person can learn to relax their muscles, induce a state of calmness, and assist in relieving the pain they experience. Some biofeedback devices assist people with learning how to control physical functioning such as their heart rate, skin temperature, brain wave activity, and even sweat gland activity.

Herbal Medicines: Herbal medicines are something many people reach for when they need relief from the symptoms they are experiencing. In America, herbal medicines are not required to meet any quality control standards, and the FDA does not regulate them. Herbal medicines include products that may be taken by mouth and contain, 'dietary ingredients,' that are intended to supplement a person's diet. The medicines may include minerals, herbs, vitamins, amino acids, botanicals, organ tissues, glandulars, enzymes, metabolites, or additional items. People who have allergies should read the labels on herbal medicines before taking them. It is also important to ask a doctor prior to taking herbal medicines.

Acupuncture Treatment: Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine and thin needles into particular points along a person's body with the intention of diagnosing, preventing, and treating forms of diseases. The use of acupuncture began in China greater than two-thousand five-hundred years ago. Acupuncturists believe a form of energy referred to as, 'qi,' circulates throughout a person's body and that illness or pain is the result of a block of this energy from moving along particular pathways referred to as, 'medians.'According to the practice of acupuncture, health may be restored through the insertion of needles along these meridians in order to remove the blocked energy flow and re-achieving the person's qi balance. Acupuncture may be used to relieve pain and can also be used along with electrical stimulation.

Homeopathic Medicines: Homeopathy involves an alternative and non-toxic approach to treat illness while relieving discomfort in relation to many different conditions. Homeopathic medicine was founded in Germany in the late 1860's and is based upon the use of the,'law of similars,' to produce a healing response which is a principle that dates back to the time of Hippocrates. The law of similars states that a substance that causes disease symptoms in an average person may, when administered in homeopathic dilutions to a person who is ill, promote the same set of symptoms and initiate a healing response. Homeopathic medicines need to be prepared in a specific way. The dilution used is dependent upon the symptoms that are being treated. It is important to consult a doctor before pursuing homeopathic medicines because the mixture of medications may result in harmful interactions.

Using Hypnosis: Hypnosis is a practice that involves assisting a person to enter an altered state of consciousness and making suggestions to them while they are in this altered state that may lead to changes in their behavior. If the person is experiencing pain, hypnosis might be used to alter the physical sensations the person is feeling. A clinical hypnotist might use mental imagery to assist a person with visualizing the pain they are experiencing, then encourage them to imagine the images changing to healthy ones. The use of mental imagery can assist a person to manage their own pain, for example.

Guided Imagery: Guided imagery is a form of relaxation technique; it involved either lying or sitting peacefully while imagining you are in a peaceful setting, such as a forest or on a beach. Guided imagery is also referred to as, 'visualization,' and involved more than visualizing yourself in a peaceful setting. The technique involves imagining yourself to actually be in the setting while being as specific as possible. It is important to imagine the sensations you experience such as a warm or cool breeze, or sounds you hear, sights you see, or textures you feel. Specifics of your visualization are tied to the level of relaxation you will experience; the more specific you are with your guided imagery, the more your mind is actually in the place you are visualizing.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that can require some practice, yet assist you in achieving complete relaxation. Pursuit of this technique involves first focusing on your toes and feet, intentionally tensing the muscles in them and then concentrating on letting the tension release from each muscle. Do the same for each muscle as you move up your body until you reach your head, being careful about tensing muscles where you experience pain. If you need to, avoid the areas where you experience pain and concentrate on relaxing the rest of the ones in your body. As the rest of your body relaxes, the areas where you experience pain will not feel as tense.

Naturopathic Medicines: Naturopathic medicine is based upon the principles of the healing powers of nature, focusing on the optimization of a person's wellness and the prevention of disease; it has been around for centuries. Naturopathic Doctors (ND's) are primary care providers who use forms of therapy which are commonly non-toxic, natural, and include botanical medicine, homeopathy, clinical nutrition, physical medicine, counseling, hydrotherapy, and at times - acupuncture. ND's must both take and pass board examinations to be licensed as primary care providers. Naturopathic medicine may be used in conjunction with conventional medicine.

Relaxation Breathing: The use of breathing methods to help your body to relax and relieve your mind of everyday worries is one that may seem either silly or uncomfortable at first. You can practice relaxation breathing by taking a breath in through your nose as you count to four, holding it as you count to seven, then breathing out through your mouth while you count to eight. Relaxation breathing feels more natural the longer you practice. Slow and steady relaxation breathing may assist you in relaxing muscles that are tense. Focusing on your breathing can also help you to break a cycle of negative thinking.

Yoga: Yoga was developed around five-thousand years ago and involves an exercise that focuses on physical postures referred to as, 'asanas,' and breathing exercises referred to as, 'pranayma.' Yoga is an excellent way to improve your flexibility and muscle time while developing good relaxation techniques and deep breathing. It is also a great way to relieve stress. Yoga is an exercise program and like any other exercise program, it is important to consult a health care provider before starting yoga.

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