What do you think of when you hear alternative medicine? Alternative medicine didn’t mean much to me when I was younger since while growing up, my family went the conventional route as far as healthcare was concerned.
Then I grew up, married, and began having children. At first, I ventured to go the way of familiarity but that path was quickly changed while pregnant with my first child. It was a change for the better to be sure.
Upon learning of our pregnancy, my husband and I located the local, traditional OB/GYN practice (one that our insurance honored since they did not recognize alternative medicine) for pre-natal and delivery care. I became a patient and had scheduled prenatal visits. As fate would have it, after a few months with that practice my husband and I were invited to an informational session put on by a practice of midwives for a birthing center. In an hour and a half, we learned more about the childbirth process and the choices we have in that process than we had in the months of our traditional care.
Not only did we learn much more but we also learned of our right to be proactive which did not sit well at all with the doctors on our next OB/GYN visit. Their reaction to our simple questions about choices in childbirth was met with a definitively defensive and argumentative response. This truly opened our eyes to the controlling role our doctor wanted since the hospital where we were to deliver was for low-risk pregnancies yet they had a C-section rate of close to 40%. For the doctors the less the patients knew the better. For us this was unacceptable and we made the decision to be involved in our family’s future healthcare. Our journey had begun.
According to the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno, natural medicine or alternative medicine focuses on the prevention of illness through natural therapies.
This is done based on seven principles.
First, do no harm.
Nature has healing powers.
Identify and treat the cause.
Treat the whole person.
The physician is a teacher.
Prevention is the best cure.
Establish health and wellness.
As you can see, this is a departure from the traditional model which encourages dependence on chemical substances or procedures. Rather than hitting the root cause of an illness, a band-aid is put on with potentially harmful side effects.
When you really think about it are those side effects worth it? In most cases, I say, “No! They are not!” There’s a better, more far-reaching solution. A way that more readily resonates with an individual’s psychological and spiritual beliefs.1 The solution of getting to the root cause comes about through alternative medicine
The premise of prevention calls for us to be active participants in establishing our health and wellness. By doing so, we take a participatory role and commitment which can be quite threatening to the traditional doctor and the overuse of drugs and/or surgery. As a result, more and more people are turning to other therapies to address their health concerns.
Many of the alternative therapies have been around for ages so having a working knowledge of the available choices can be helpful in the process of deciding which specific alternative therapy is right for you.
Listed you will find a growing number of natural healing methods. Here I provide information from various sources including Alternative Healing by Mark Kastner and Hugh Burroughs and The Complete Body, Mind, and Spirit by Nancy Allison. It is for educational purposes only and it is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe any specific method for your individual situation. Please consult a trusted healthcare professional to individually tailor a regimen that suits your needs. This list is by no means exhaustive but includes time-tested methods. Subsequent e-zines will highlight additional significant modalities.