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Alternative Medicine Therapies

Alternative Medicine Therapies

Alternative medicines are a set of practices, techniques, therapies, products, and substances, apart from conventional Western medicine, but are used equally to restore health. The main difference between conventional and alternative medicine is the presence of scientific documentation in the former.

There are several terms used synonymously around this topic, but they are not the same: “alternative medicine” corresponds to the previous definition; when it is used simultaneously with conventional medicine (decided by the patient) it is called “complementary medicine”; but if it is the doctor treating the patient who decides to incorporate alternative medicine options in which they trust, we are in the presence of a practice of “integrative or integrated medicine”

What are the types of alternative medicine

According to their characteristics, alternative medicines can be classified into various categories, here are the main ones.
Complete medical systems. They are associated with a defined philosophy, a description of the disease, its diagnosis, and treatment. In this category are: Ayurveda Medicine, which is the traditional health system of India, based on the theory that disease is due to an imbalance of the body's vital force or prana; Homeopathy developed in Germany at the end of the 1700s, is a medical system based on the principle that like cures like; Naturopathy which draws its practices from many cultures and is based on the notion of the healing power of nature; and Traditional Chinese Medicine, which originated several millennia ago, is based on the theory that disease is due to an incorrect flow of vital force (qi, pronounced "chi").


Mind and body medicines.

In this category are those that claim mental and emotional factors influence physical health and use behavioral, psychological, social, and spiritual methods to recover and maintain health. The group includes Biofeedback, a method that involves consciously controlling biological processes that usually occur unconsciously.

Guided Visualization

which uses mental images to induce relaxation and well-being, reduce pain, or facilitate the healing of a particular ailment; Hypnotherapy (hypnosis), which guides the person to an advanced state of relaxation and increased attention; Meditation, which allows people to control their attention or systematically focus it on aspects of internal or external experience; and Relaxation Techniques, which include practices specifically designed to reduce tension and stress.

Biological therapies.

They are based on restoring the balance of nutrients, trace elements, vitamins, and minerals of natural origin necessary to maintain or recover health. These include: Phytotherapy, obtaining therapeutic active ingredients directly from plants, such as Omega 5 (What are the benefits of Omega 5) from pomegranate seed oil; natural products, where the active ingredients could come from other sources like Omega 3 (10 Omega 3 body systems organs benefits) from fish; Chelation Therapies, which remove excess metals and certain elements from the body; and Nutritional Therapy, which uses specialized dietary regimens like the macrobiotic or Mediterranean diets, for example.


Manipulative and body-based therapies.

Manipulative and body-based therapies.

Here it is perceived that all parts of the body are interconnected, depending on each other. It is considered that the body can self-regulate and heal itself. Among them we find: Acupuncture, which through the stimulation of specific points on the body with very fine needles in the skin and underlying tissues, manages to modify the flow of qi; Moxibustion, which consists of the use of dried moxa herb (a mugwort) that is usually burned over the skin located above acupuncture points or directly on the skin; Cupping, with the belief that cups will increase blood flow in the area where the cup is placed, thus improving healing in that area; Chiropractic, where the relationship between the structure of the spine and the function of the nervous system is considered key to maintaining or restoring health.


Energy therapies.

Energy therapies.

They focus on energy fields believed to exist in and around the body (biofields). Sometimes, for healing processes and health maintenance, the use of external energy sources like electromagnetic fields is resorted to. Among them we have: Magnetotherapy which uses static magnetic fields or electromagnetic fields; Reiki, where therapists try to manipulate energy through their hands and cause energy to move through the patient's body; Qi gong and Tai chi, which employ gentle postures, conscious movements, and breathing. The goal is to achieve better energy balance in the person.
Some less recognized alternative medicines would have a more difficult classification, such as Music therapy, which should be in energy therapies or mind and body therapies.

Integrative medicine aims to combine alternative medicine with conventional medicine when indicated. Despite not having as extensive scientific documentation as conventional medicine, many alternative and complementary therapies have begun to be part of treatment protocols in major hospitals, and some are even recognized by insurance companies.
Due to the interest and growing use of this type of medicine, more medical schools include information about alternative and complementary medicine treatments such as acupuncture, herbal medicine (phytotherapy), chiropractic treatments, and homeopathy in their curricula. Soon, we will see many more scientific publications on these alternative therapies.

Technology and alternative medicine

Sometimes we mistakenly believe that the intervention of technology distorts the natural, and this is not applicable to all cases. There are natural products that have been enhanced in their therapeutic properties thanks to technology, and more specifically to nanotechnology. (What is Nanotechnology in simple words)
Omega 3 brought to nanoemulsion has allowed its potency to be multiplied fourfold compared to conventional Omega 3s. A more emblematic case is Omega 5, which has seen its potency increased one hundred times when processed with nanotechnology. Nano Omega 3 and Nano Omega 5  are part of the new generation of alternative medicine.

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