Not everyone would call up their local acupuncturist every time their arthritis plays up, or an aromatherapy specialist when they get a cold, but alternative therapies have been on the rise in the Western world for some time now.
The term ‘alternative therapy’ refers to any health treatment to the body that doesn’t fall under main-stream medical practice. They are termed this way when used instead of usual medical practice and named ‘complementary medicine’ when used alongside.
Here is a short list of some of the main alternative therapies.
Aromatherapy is the practice of utilizing oils extracted from flowers, stems, roots, leaves and any other part of a plant to promote physical and psychological health. The oils can be inhaled or directly applied to the skin in the problem area. Different scents are used for different reasons – chamomile for sleep or lemon for concentration for example. Chamomile as an oil, infusion or tea has been proven to help reduce cancer cells in regards to breast cancer.
Similar to acupuncture, acupressure relies on applying pressure to pressure points on the body to release tension and relax muscles. The practice is less invasive than acupuncture as no needles are involved, but it is disputed as being less effective because of that reason.
Acupuncture is one of the more well-known alternative therapies. It is a Traditional Chinese Medicine which uses the application of fine needles in pressure points to relax muscles, relieve tension and to realign the body’s energies. Acupuncture is often used alongside physiotherapy.
Chiropractic is an alternative medicine which uses the musculoskeletal system to diagnose and treat disorders which stem from the nervous system. The practice has been around since the late 1800s and is growing every year. Click here to watch a video of a boy having his back corrected.
Not to be confused with acupuncture, dry needling does use the same filament of needles, but it relies on Western anatomical and neurophysiological principles. The practice still uses needles to relax and realign muscles in the body and is often used in conjunction with physiotherapy. Click here for a video on the uses of dry needling.
Reflexology is based on the idea that there are points in the feet, hands, and head that are linked to the rest of the body. The correct use of massage in these areas can then treat other parts of the body. As many pressure points and nerve endings center in these areas, reflexology is used to release pain from joints and muscles and even to treat issues inside the body like IBS and heartburn.