Alternative medicine is becoming more popular as Western medicine continues to become more expensive and detrimental to overall health. But does it work? These days it seems that alternative medicine is all the range. But what exactly is it? How do you define alternative medicine is it right for you, and more importantly, does it actually work? Is it legit or just a bunch of snake oil salesmen hocus pocus type stuff?
What Is Alternative Medicine?
First off, we need to narrow down exactly what we mean when we say “alternative medicine.” That can include anything from Reiki based energy healing, Chakra cleansing, psychic friends who talk to dead pets and a whole host of other questionable and not so questionable healing methodologies.
To put it simply, we won’t be going there. There’s only so many words I can write before you completely tune out, so for the purposes of this article, I’ll be focusing on what I call “the big three” of alternative medicine: chiropractic care, acupuncture, and massage.
Chiropractic is probably the most widely used and of the three is also the most widely covered by health insurance companies. Most people think of Chiropractors when they think of back pain, but they can adjust a variety of body parts such as elbows, necks, shoulders, feet, toes, knees among other things. They can also help you with inflammations in the body from repetitive stress injuries, like tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, runner’s knee and a variety of tendinitis type problems.
Chiropractors can also advise you on nutritional matters, help you decide which vitamins and supplements to take and generally help prolong and increase the quality of your life with regular care. They work by adjusting the spine back into its natural place without surgery or other invasive techniques.
Acupuncture works when the practitioner, or acupuncturist, uses needles to manipulate (in a good way) and adjust your body’s internal energy, or chi. Acupuncture is highly effective for treating such things as sports injuries, allergies, infertility, addictions, stress, and variety of other ailments. It’s been used in China and throughout the east for centuries. It is especially effective for those looking to conceive. A recent study said Acupuncture combined with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) techniques is 97% successful in helping couples conceive.
Acupuncture is generally more expensive than chiropractic care and isn’t always covered by insurance and it isn’t always covered well in terms of reimbursement when it is covered. So that may be an issue for you when and if you decide to explore this kind of treatment. It can be pricey, so think of your budget as well as your health.
Massage is another popular form of alternative medicine. You might think of it more in terms of luxury as opposed to healing or therapy but I wouldn’t be so soon to dismiss it. It can help reduce muscle tension and stress, reduce inflammation, help address nagging sports injuries and pain and help keep weekend warriors out of the doctor’s office and emergency room by making your muscles, tendons and ligaments more supple, pliable and injury resistant.
You can spend a lot on a massage, but there are also a host of more affordable options in your town, such as massage schools that offer cheaper student massages, and no frill massage places that offer none of the amenities you’d find in a spa, but don’t come with that high price tag, either.
All three of these forms of alternative medicine are highly effective and safe. They work very well together, and ideally if you can swing all three, you should, and ideally on the same day. There are many “wellness offices” that offer all three in a one stop shop.