Explore the Different Types of Alternative Medicine


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Types of Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine, which is also referred to as “alternative therapy” is a form of health treatment that is not of standard in western medical practice. It encompasses a wide range of medical practices, which makes it more difficult to narrow down and define directly.

Alternative medicine is used instead of conventional medicine by some patients for different reasons. It is beginning to gain grounds in different parts of the world today. It is also sometimes used together with western medical treatments, and in these cases, they are referred to as “complementary medicine”

Alternative medicine ranges from techniques involving the use of exercise and body movements, dietary changes, hypnosis, to chiropractic adjustment, massages, behavioural changes, use of needles, and so on. There are quite a lot of different types of alternative medicine out there today, but we’ll be considering a few.
Five major types of alternative medicine are:

Ayurvedic Medicine

This is also known as Ayurveda. It is a system of medicine which involves different approaches such as massages, diets which are specialized, and the use of herbs. It originates from India and has been used for thousands of years before modern medicine came into place. It is one of the oldest medical systems in the world.

Ayurvedic physicians use the concept of universal interconnectedness, the composition of the body, and life forces. It is based on the belief that proper functioning of the body and mind and great health is dependent on the fragile balance that exists between the body, mind, and spirit.

These concepts are used to create specific treatments for each patient in a customized manner. It is widely used in India. It is either used solely or in combination with western medical practices.

A predominant feature of ayurveda is that it is used for the purpose of improving good health and not in fighting diseases, although it’s approaches can be directed along the lines of specific health disorders.


Acupuncture is a practice used in traditional Chinese medicine. Though what comes to most people’s minds when acupuncture is mentioned is needles, acupuncture is actually more than just the insertion of needles into the skin. It is based on the application of the knowledge of energy flow through the body and the stimulation of specific points to bring relief.

Acupuncture employs the use of thin, solid metallic needles or the use of electrical stimulation. It has been shown to be effective in the treatment of conditions and illnesses like nausea and vomiting, especially after surgery or chemotherapy and post operative dental pain.

Studies have also shown that acupuncture also helps to bring relief of serious pains such as knee pain, neck pain, and back pain. However, researchers are only beginning attain the understanding of acupuncture in association with a variety of wide range of health conditions.

Acupuncture should only be performed by an experienced and properly trained practitioner. The procedures should be carried out under hygienic conditions and only sterile needles should be used as wrongly carried out acupuncture processes can lead to deleterious effects.

Chiropractic Medicine

Chiropractic medicine is a form of alternative medicine that emphasizes the association between the structure of the body and the function of the body, most especially the spine.

Chiropractic is involved with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders that are of a mechanical nature in the body involving the musculoskeletal system, which is majorly responsible for structure and movement. Such disorders have also been noted to affect human health through the abnormal functioning of the nervous system.

Daniel David Palmer is the founder of chiropractic medicine whose practice dates back to 1895 when did his first spinal adjustment on a janitor – restoring his hearing. His basis and emphasis in a more organic, less invasive approach in the healing of the body started off the natural, whole body wellness that chiropractic medicine now provides.

There are different approaches for the methods being used in the treatment of these mechanical disorders. All these approaches are based on achieving the same aims and getting the same results, for the maximal benefits of patients.


Acupressure is similar to acupuncture; a major difference between the two is the absence of the use of needles in acupressure. It is one of the oldest forms of alternative medicine; it came into existence over five thousand years ago. It is an important part of Asian, especially Chinese medicine.

Acupressure involves the application of pressure by the use of elbows, hands, and feet of the practioners, or precise finger placements over specific points of the body which are known as meridians. This is based on the philosophy (Asian) that activation of these specific points by applying pressure will enhance or unblock life energy called “qi” or “chi”.

This activation ensures that energy flows more freely in the meridians, bringing about normal balance in the body. It is used for the relief of pains of different kinds, enhancing blood flow, relaxation, and tension reduction.

The procedures are carried out by massage therapists and other bodyworkers. It can also be learned by individuals and carried out on oneself.


Aromatherapy is an alternative medicine that involves the use of essential oils which are gotten from volatile plant materials. The parts of the plants used can be the leaves, seeds, flowers, or roots.

There are varying modes of application of these oils; some are applied onto the skin, some are inhaled, others are used through a diffuser, while taking in the oils through the mouth is rare.

An important aspect of aromatherapy is synergy which involves the use of a combination of some of these essential oils to create a powerful effect which is more than the individual effects of the oils.

Aromatherapy has been shown have great benefits. It helps to reduce stress levels and increase energy levels. It also helps to treat infections and inflammations, reduce anxiety and depression, relive headaches and migraines, reduce body pains, improve overall health, and so on.

Care should be taken in the use of these oils as wrong dosage, application, or mixture of oils can be toxic.