As we progress through the early stages of the 21st. century many people are adopting a more pro-active attitude to their health. This involves the implementation of alternative health strategies which are designed to prevent illness in the first place, and treatment regimes (should they be required) that are more user-friendly and less invasive than many conventional medical treatments. That is not to say that one should not avail oneself of conventional medical treatment should it be required, and I would be the first to seek such treatment if I felt that it was warranted by the circumstances, but there is certainly an unhelpful attitude exhibited by many in the medical profession towards alternative treatments which have stood the test of time.
If everyone in any given community adopted a more healthy lifestyle, which need be no more complicated than being sensible when eating and indulging in a little exercise regularly, then can you imagine the effect that that would have on over-stretched medical and hospital resources in that community? Extend this scenario to include the entire country and you can begin to see the benefits, both in terms of community wellbeing and financial savings in the health-care system.
Available alternative health treatments are many and varied and I will endeavour to give a brief summary of a few of these.
Acupuncture originated in the east in ancient times and is now being increasingly recognised and used by western medical practitioners. The experienced practitioner will make a diagnosis and will then treat the patient appropriately. Treatment traditionally involves the insertion of fine needles into specific “acupuncture points”. There are about five hundred of these points in all, one hundred of which are most commonly used.
Stimulation of a specific acupuncture point affects the flow of energy through specific channels in the body and a needle inserted in one part of the body can have a beneficial effect on the functioning of an organ in another part of the body.
Ayurveda originated in India and is said to be the oldest form of medicine in the world, dating back at least 3,500 years. It is a holistic approach to the health of the individual and centres on all aspects of a person’s wellbeing, including physical and emotional, and involves exercise, nutrition, herbs and detoxification.
Ayurveda teaches that three vital energies in the body, which are called “doshas” are balanced according to the constitution of the individual. When the three doshas are in balance, the person experiences good health. A properly functioning digestive system is considered to be of vital importance to the Ayurvedic practitioner. Overindulgence and emotional imbalance affect the balance of the doshas, which in turn affects the functioning of the digestive system.
Ayurvedic treatments are all-encompassing and may involve herbal treatments as well as nutritional and lifestyle recommendations.
The basic principle of homoeopathy is that a minute dose of a specific substance which causes certain symptoms in large doses will in fact result in the alleviation of those very symptoms. Homoeopathy is a safe mode of treatment because of the minute doses involved in the various treatments.
The experienced homoeopath will give the patient a treatment appropriate to the symptoms, which will stimulate an immune response in the body. Homoeopathic remedies may be in the form of tablets, powders or liquid, and the immediacy of the response may depend upon the length of time which the disorder has taken to build up within the system.
Like all good natural health systems, naturopathy involves the all-encompassing principles of lifestyle, nutrition and emotional wellbeing. The naturopathic practitioner will attempt to guide the patient with appropriate nutritional and lifestyle advice, as well as offering specific treatments for specific circumstances, the aim of which is to set the natural healing process of the body in motion.
Naturopathy is a holistic approach, and believes that the causes of disease, not just the symptoms, must be addressed. Treatment recommendations may be many and varied, depending upon the patient’s requirements, and may involve such approaches as nutritional and lifestyle advice, massage and reflexology.
I have barely touched upon the number and detail of alternative health treatments available, and some of the better known ones are reflexology, reiki, chiropractic, aromatherapy, flower essences and Chinese medicine, to name just a few. For those who wish to complement their conventional medical treatment or for those who wish to explore a new path in terms of lifestyle and health outcomes, there are many paths to explore and many benefits to enjoy