Alternative Therapies And ‘Healing’


The safety of these treatments varies by type. Some, like chiropractics, can have detrimental effects such as paralysis and even death. Others, like meditation, have no negative or health-threatening side effects.

Using these treatments for fatal illnesses instead of conventional methods, though, could lead to more harm than good. Illnesses such as cancer should not be treated with alternative methods since conventional practices could prevent death while these do not, according to a lack of evidence.

  • Alternative Medicine
    • Naturopathic Medicine
      • based on the idea that a person’s natural “life force” can start self-healing. This idea is that certain health-promoting factors and suppressed by excesses and deficiencies. Naturopaths believe that illness is caused by a person’s inner feelings rather than from external disease-causing factors.
    • Homeopathic Medicine
      • a practice built on the theory that “like-cures-like”; things believed to cause certain illnesses and symptoms are prescribed for curing the same symptoms but are given in very diluted amounts.
    • Traditional Chinese Medicine
      • an approach to medicine centered on the concept that sickness can be cured by having more qi, or energy, in the body. Includes herbal therapies, physical exercise, meditation, acupuncture, and massage.
  • Mind-Body Interventions
    • Biofeedback Training
      • an idea that includes the belief that individuals can be trained in voluntary control of certain physiological processes, like skin temperature or brain wave activity, to reduce stress.
    • Meditation
      • a technique of calming the mind and relaxing the body in order to achieve calmness.
    • Imagery
      • the technique of using mental imagery of things or events to help individuals relax or self-heal.
  • Biologically based Therapies
    • Hormones
      • or hormone-like products derived from foods are considered dietary supplements and used to help sleep and calm etc.
    • Glucosamine-Chondroitin Supplements
      • are produced in the body and help joint cartilage.
    • Aromatherapy
      • the practice of smelling aromatic scents derived from plants, like essential oils.
  • Manipulative and Body-Based Methods
    • Chiropractic
      • method of treatment surrounding unproven theory that spinal manipulation can restore health in unrelated body parts.
    • Massage Therapy
      • manipulation of muscles by hand to reduce tension, increase blood circulation, improve joint mobility, and promote healing of injuries.
  • Energy Therapies
    • Acupuncture
      • involves inserting needles into the skin at anatomical points, allegedly to correct disruptions in the ‘flow of energy’ in the body.
    • Qi Gong
      • combines movement, meditation, and breathing techniques and supposedly cures illness by helping enhance the flow of ‘qi’ within the body.
    • Therapeutic Touch
      • a technique of hovering hands over a patient in order to rid an individual of energy imbalances and transfer power from therapist to patient.

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