8 Benefits of Alternative Medicine

By Val Silver

What are the benefits of alternative medicine? Do you know how it can help you heal and stay well?

Complementary and alternative medicine are all the types of remedies and techniques, that are not part of our conventional, modern medical system. They are used in addition to prescriptions and surgery, or in lieu of such treatments.

The major benefits of alternative and complementary medicine are closely linked to the philosophy and practice of holistic healing, which focuses on treating you as a whole person. When possible, natural techniques and remedies are used in harmony with mind and body.

However, do not assume that just because a remedy is natural, or is out of the mainstream, that it is holistic. Alternative and holistic are not the same thing.  For any type of medicine to be holistic, it must address mind, body and spirit or be part of a comprehensive plan that does. 

Just as with modern medicine, there are pros and cons of alternative complementary therapies. The good news is, that when used appropriately and wisely, the positives of alternative health therapies far outweigh the potential downside. They can be a beneficial part of your wellness program.

Keep the above points in mind as you consider the following benefits of alternative medicine.

  • Practitioners and healers practicing alternative health therapies often have an awareness and commitment to supporting the mind body connection. They can guide you to resources, techniques and/or natural remedies to support the healing of your whole self. 
  • One of the cornerstone of holistic medicine is individual responsibility for health and well-being and a partnership with you healthcare providers. Assuming responsibility for yourself and your health is empowering and necessary for creating and maintaining optimal health. Patients who feel empowered and in control of their recovery tend to have better outcomes. This applies to treating acute and chronic disease. 
  • Alternatives, especially when used as part of a holistic approach, make it possible for you to truly heal in mind and body. Mainstream medicine, for all its wonders, is in some ways much more limited. Holistic therapies are not usually as sophisticated, but they tend to work with your mind and body instead of against it. The emphasis is more on the person than the disease. The goal is to bring mind, body and energy system back into balance. You can heal instead of just having symptoms suppressed or offending parts removed. This, by the way, may sometimes be necessary, but probably no where near as often as it happens.
Hippocrates quote, know person who has disease, benefits of alternative medicine
  • The old saying, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” doubly applies when it comes to your health. It also applies to the time, resources, and financial investment of health disease care expenses. Preventing ill health by using holistic lifestyle practices are basic essentials to good health. Getting energy system tune-ups and using techniques to relax and restore mind and body  help you get and stay healthy. Alternative therapies such as massage, meditation, soothing herbs, and energy healing shine when used in this way. 
  • A major benefit of alternative medicine is that the techniques and remedies are generally safe. When used properly, they cause few if any ill effects for most people. For instance, certain supplements and herbs have been proven as effective as pharmaceuticals for conditions such as anxiety, depression, and pain without all the negative side effects. 
  • Some types of complementary therapies are easily incorporated as part of healthy lifestyle maintenance. You may enjoy regular massage, sip dandelion tea for digestion, or use a quick energy technique when feeling stressed or tired. 
  • Complementary alternative healing methods can be very effective as sole, primary, or supportive treatments when used properly. For example, recent research and anecdotal evidence points to the effectiveness of certain herbs and foods to help control and heal cancer and diabetes. Body work techniques relieve muscle and joint pain. Certain herbs and even exercise are proving just as effective as medication for easing depression and anxiety. Likewise, these techniques and remedies can help you improve and maintain already good mental and physical health.  
  • As interest and demand for natural holistic health care grows, more research into the potential benefits of alternative medicine is being done. Once there is enough supportive research, complementary therapies gain acceptance from the medical world. Massage, acupuncture, physical therapy and chiropractic are examples of alternative health therapies that have gone mainstream. The effectiveness of many other natural techniques and remedies is supported by anecdotal evidence, common sense, and thousands of years of use.  More than a few medical doctors have pioneered work in mind body medicine. Their work has brought complementary therapies to mainstream medicine, and credibility to the field of holistic medicine.

The keys to enjoying the benefits of alternative medicine is to educate yourself about your health condition and match your needs to the types of complementary therapies that would be most helpful. You may have to experiment with different methods and practitioners before finding what works best for you. Be realistic, and keep the pros and cons of alternative complementary medicine in mind. That can make the difference between you having a positive experience or not.

If you are looking for help with your health, take advantage of all the benefits of alternative medicine as part of a holistic approach, as well as prioritizing healthy living habits and incorporating as necessary. When you access the best of each of these health care avenues, you minimize the negatives and maximize your potential for positive results.

Continue Reading about the downside of alternative medicine.

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For Educational Purposes Only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult with your health provider before using natural remedies and/or complementary therapies if you are pregnant, nursing, or you are being treated for a medical condition. Be aware that certain herbs and supplements interact with medications.

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