The forms of alternative medicine

  • 14/09/1996

The forms of alternative medicine Mind-body intervention
psychotherapy: includes combining medication with discussion, listening to the patient or using more active behavioural and emotive psychological methods; can hasten recovery in somatic illnesses.

support groups: group therapy and counselling combined with diet and exercise can reverse diseases like angina pectoris.

meditation: increases longevity and quality of life, reduces anxiety, blood pressure and serum cholesterol level.

imagery: a form of meditation; encourages changes in attitude, behaviour, or physiological reactions; used in cancer treatment.

hypnosis: used in treatment of congenital ichthyosis (a genetic skin disorder), phobias and addictions; helps in reducing bleeding in haemophiliacs, stabilising blood sugar in diabetics etc.

biofeedback: patients use monitoring instruments to recieve physiological information and adjust their thinking and other bodily processes to control their blood pressures, temperatures, gastrointestinal functioning and brain wave activity accordingly.

yoga: used to reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure and cure arthritis.

dance therapy: for dealing with problems caused by low self-esteem such as depression, suicidal ideas, etc, in relieving bodily tension and chronic pain and enhancing respiratory and circulatory functions.

music therapy: analgesic, relaxant and anxiety reducer for infants and children; complementary treatment for burn victims and cancer, cerebral palsy, stroke, brain injury or Parkinson's disease patients.

art therapy: to reconcile emotional conflicts and foster self-awareness; valuable for children who cannot speak out.

prayer and mental healing: affects physiological functions when the target (bacteria, viruses etc) is unaware that such an effort is being made.

Bioelectromagnetics
Studies how human beings react to electromagnetic (EM) fields; non-ionising and non-thermal EM fields are being used for bone repair, nerve stimulation, wound healing, treatment of osteoarthritis, electroacupuncture, tissue regeneration and immune system stimulation.

Alternative systems
traditional Oriental medicine: acupuncture, acupressure, herbal medicine, qiqong, and Oriental massage; each emphasises diagnosing disturbances of qi or vital energy; uses being studied in chronic hepatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, AIDS and certain cancers.

acupuncture: involves stimulating specific anatomic points in the body which have electrical properties; this alters chemical neurotransmitters in the body; for treating osteoarthritis, chemotherapy-induced nausea, asthma, back pain, painful menstrual cycles, bladder instabilities and migraine headaches.

ayurveda

homoeopathy

anthroposophically extended medicine:
seeks to match the thermodynamic force in plants, animals and minerals with disease processes in humans.

naturopathy: integrates traditional natural therapeutics with modern scientific and medical diagnostics; research has focussed on women's health; effective as alternatives to estrogen replacement therapy.

environmental medicine

community-based healthcare practices:
often part of a community's cultural traditions; practitioners emphasise naturalistic, personalistic and energetic models.

Manual healing methods
osteopathic medicine: used in internal medicine and obstetrics for musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal problems.

chiropractic medicine: investigates the relationship between structure (of the spine) and function (of the nervous system) to treat structural dysfunctions that affect the nervous system.

massage therapy: includes Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage, sports management, neuromuscular massage and manual lymph drainage.

biofield therapeutics: based on two underlying rationales

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