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Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Definition, List and Type Alternative Medicine

complementary and alternative medicine
What is alternative medicine?

Alternative medicine is a form of health care that uses means, tools, or materials that are not included in the standard of medical medicine.

This form of health care is usually referred to as complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs).

The difference between alternative medicine and complementary medicine, namely:

#Complementary medicine is when you perform this treatment along with conventional medicine.

#Alternative medicine is when you perform this treatment instead of conventional medicine.


What are the types of alternative medicine?

acupuncture

Here are the different types of alternative medicine:

1. Natural products

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), a natural product is one of the most commonly used complementary treatment approaches. Often sold as dietary supplements, natural products may include herbs, probiotics, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, chemicals such as glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate (two supplements said to help in the treatment of osteoarthritis), and various other substances.

 

2. Mind-body therapy

The second category of the most commonly practiced complementary treatment approaches, according to NCCIH, is a mind-body therapy. It usually involves using special techniques to increase the mind's capacity to influence body functions and improve health.

Hypnotherapy is a popular type of mind-body therapy. Also known as hypnosis, it has been shown to lose weight, relieve back pain, and aid in quitting smoking in several scientific studies.

In addition, there is also meditation which is an approach to achieving healthier blood pressure and better sleep. There is also evidence that meditation can benefit people struggling with chronic pain, anxiety, fear, and depression.

Other types of mind-body therapy include biofeedback, guided parables, and music therapy.


3. Traditional alternative medicine

This treatment includes a more general and accepted form of therapy for the public.

This therapy has been practiced for centuries around the world.

These folk remedies include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Ayurveda
  • Homeopathic
  • Naturopathy, and
  • Chinese medicine.

 

4. Manipulative and Body-Based Methods

This complementary and alternative treatment is based on the manipulation or movement of one or more body parts. In some cases, manipulative and body-based methods involve participation in individual classes or sessions to change your movement habits.

For example, Alexander's technique involves relearning basic movements (such as standing and sitting) to reduce muscle tension. The Feldenkrais Method creates new movement patterns to improve physical function and overall well-being.

That is why certain diseases require this therapy.

Techniques that involve touch are usually combined with techniques that involve the mind, some examples of which are the following:

  • chiropractic and osteopathic treatment,
  • massage
  • body movement therapy,
  • Tai chi, and
  • yoga.


5. Energy therapy

Another complementary and alternative type of treatment is energy therapy which is based on the idea that energy fields surround and penetrate the human body. Energy therapy practitioners often aim to manipulate the biofield by applying pressure and placing their hands into or through this energy field.

Although the existence of this energy field has not been scientifically proven, there is some evidence that specific energy therapies may have beneficial effects. For example, a 2011 study has shown that performing qigong, a traditional Chinese movement practice, can help control chronic pain and lower blood pressure, while Therapeutic Touch can help relieve osteoarthritis pain.

In addition, there is some evidence that Reiki can help reduce pain, promote healthy sleep, and reduce anxiety.


6. Diet and herbs

This alternative medicine relies on diet and herbs to help overcome health disorders.

The way to do this treatment is to balance the body's nutritional needs from the daily food intake.

Dietary and herbal remedies include:

  • dietary supplements,
  • herbal medicine, and
  • regulation of diet.


What are the side effects of alternative medicine?

alternative medicine

Some of the ingredients or methods involved in this treatment may be able to carry the risk of certain complications and side effects.

Moreover, if you do the treatment for too long or carelessly without the supervision of a doctor, side effects may occur.

The following are examples of side effects and dangers of alternative medicine according to its type that you need to be aware of:

#Reflexology

Although reflexology is generally safe, this technique can cause early contractions when performed on pregnant women with a gestational age of fewer than 38 weeks.

Early contractions can put pregnant women at risk of premature birth and miscarriage.

#Acupuncture

Acupuncture can harm the body's health if the therapist who treats you is not certified.

When the therapist pushes the needle too deeply, your internal organs, especially the lungs, may be injured.

Even so, this acupuncture complication is infrequent in the hands of an experienced therapist.

So, ensure an experienced therapist treats you during alternative medicine, including acupuncture.

#Herbs and herbal medicines

Herbs and herbal medicines also have side effects or risks if you take them carelessly.

Ginseng boosts immunity, controls blood pressure and stress, and has anti-aging substances. However, ginseng also has side effects, such as insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, headaches, and anxiety if consumed too much.

So, instead of helping the recovery process, the traditional remedies you undergo may be able to inhibit the effectiveness of the medical drugs prescribed by the doctor.

Therefore, discussing with the doctor who treats you before taking any alternative medicine is important.

Finally, ensure that your practice, alternative medicine expert, and the product you choose have a legal license from the Ministry of Health to ensure its safety.

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