Alternative therapy is any method that attempts to achieve the same healing effects as traditional medicine, but that is unproven, untested or unproven ineffective. There are many types of alternative medicines that have been around for centuries. Over time, they have become accepted as legitimate forms of alternative treatments for various conditions.
For example, chiropractic care is an alternative therapy that is considered by many to be a conventional form of medical practice. Many doctors who practice this type of care do so because it is a medical practice they are highly trained to perform. They make spinal adjustments and use other therapeutic procedures along with other methods such as massage, heat, ice and electrical stimulation. While some critics argue that these therapies can be dangerous, especially for those who are suffering from a severe injury or illness, many experts agree that they provide effective relief for many patients.
Another example of an alternative therapy is complementary and alternative medicines. Complementary medicine generally refers to treatments that are different from the standard practices of conventional Western medicine, though complementary therapy is not considered mainstream. Examples of complementary medicine include acupuncture, acupressure, herbal remedies, counseling, aromatherapy, deep breathing, hypnosis, massage therapy, meditation and chiropractic care. These are just some of the many treatments considered to be complementary and alternative therapies. Some other alternative therapies commonly used in complementary and alternative medicine include: biofeedback, psychotherapy, yoga, nutritional counseling, stress management, homeopathy and traditional Chinese medicine.
Many people wonder if there is a placebo effect in alternative medicine may also raise some questions about treatments that are considered alternative. For example, are pain killers or chemotherapy treatments used in place of more conventional treatment? Studies on the placebo effect have shown that people can be influenced to seek out treatments that they believe will help them. If a patient believes that he or she will feel better after taking an antibiotic, for example, the placebo effect can make the patient think that he or she will get better, which can in fact help. More research needs to be done in this area.
In addition to placebo effects, there can also be a danger of adverse drug reactions with alternative treatments and conventional treatments alike. Often times, patients who have been on an antidepressant for a long period of time can develop a serious lack of serotonin in their systems, which can lead to depression. Antidepressants can be very effective in treating severe cases of depression. However, if you switch from one type of treatment to another without first considering the consequences, you could experience a serotonin deficiency that can lead to depression again. This is why it’s important to consider all the options when it comes to choosing an alternative therapy to treat your particular condition.
Although the above examples are extreme examples, they do highlight the serious problems inherent in the use of conventional forms of treatment. Though many practitioners of alternative medicine will claim that their therapies don’t work at all, there are still numerous reported case studies that clearly show that these types of therapies can effectively treat the symptoms of many different conditions. Unfortunately, the public often has a tendency to trust the words of these so-called experts, rather than considering all of the available evidence. If you are interested in exploring new forms of treatment, it’s important to thoroughly research each therapy and its potential side effects. When it comes to conventional medicine, you really don’t know until you try!