In a world where the use of many prescription drugs and medical procedures are at an all-time high, people are seeking alternatives to conventional medicine.
Alternative therapies refer to treatments that have not been scientifically tested for effectiveness, or whose effectiveness has not been shown despite scientific testing.
Natural medicine or naturopathic medicines are natural remedies, used to prevent or cure different types of diseases and illnesses.
Natural medicine is a traditional medicine that allows the body to heal through its own natural process. It involves treatments like therapies, acupuncture, massage, exercise or the consumption of herbs. It is merely a loose set of medicines and treatment which is not always clinically or scientifically researched or a part of biomedicine.
Natural medicine can also be termed as holistic medicine mainly because it treats the individual in entirety rather than just focusing on the symptom or disease.
The holistic perspective considers individuals as a whole as it strongly supports the idea that in order to achieve optimal holistic wellness, one needs to consider body, mind, emotions, and spirit as well.
Herbal medicine or natural medicine has taken a backseat irrespective of the fact that it has a lot of benefits in the short and the long run. Some of the advantages of natural medicine are mentioned below:
· Natural Medicine is often more cost-effective.
· It helps boost the immune system.
· It can help overcome nutritional deficiencies and support healing at the same time.
· Generally, Natural Medicine has very few side effects.
· The raw materials required to create natural medicine are readily available in nature. They do not need to be adulterated.
What are these “natural” medicines - and do they work?
The answer to the latter part of this question is undoubtedly “yes” and they are often more efficient and less harmful than many conventional drug therapies. Some of our old herbs and remedies, which served for hundreds of years, are now enjoying a renaissance, with growing ranges of natural medicines for both people and animals. However, time constraints in our fast-paced lifestyles make more conventional medicines an easy choice. Not only do pharmaceuticals sometimes take effect faster than natural alternatives (not necessarily curing, but masking the symptoms), but the average first consultation for Alternative Medical treatment lasts about 60-90 minutes, compared with the more usual 10- or 15-minutes conventional approach. Unfortunately, this often results in alternative treatments being used as a last resort, when in fact they are a valuable first line of treatment.
It worries me that, as humans, we are so quick to go to the doctor or chemist to receive medication for the littlest of things, when a gentler and more appropriate form of treatment, in proportion to the severity of the symptoms, will often suffice. We should be leaving the “big guns” where they belong, which is to fight the acute wars in life-threatening situations.
So many drug resistances (especially antibiotics) are caused by the indiscriminate use of the potent bug killers for the minutest of infections. It is only a matter of time before the so-called MRS (multiple resistant strain) infections - those hospital-based superbugs that no known antimicrobial agent is able to kill – are found in our daily environments.
As members of the medical profession, it is our duty to help prevent this from happening. But at the same time, as members of the public, it is our duty not to railroad the medical profession into using the big guns for our minimal diseases. Society has conditioned us to believe that it is unacceptable to take the necessary time off for our body’s own immune system to sort the minor problem out, where in fact, this is exactly what we need to be doing for optimal health and longevity.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NATURAL AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE:
Many people believe that natural medicine and alternative medicine are the same. However, in reality, they are different from each other. They fall under the same umbrella of CAM i.e. complementary and alternative medicine, but they are not the same.
The type of treatment or therapies involved under the two types of medicines is the same but the way they are carried out is different. Under natural medicine or complementary medicine, traditional western medicines are also used to help cure or prevent disease.
However, under alternative medicine, traditional western medicines are not involved and treatments like acupuncture, massage and therapies are mainly used.
POPULAR FORMS OF NATURAL AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINES:
Many different forms of natural and alternative medicines exist that have been used for centuries by our ancestors. Some of the most popular forms that still exist are mentioned below:
Acupuncture is derived from Chinese medicine. It is a treatment that is used to relieve pain through thin needles that are inserted in the human body.
A homoeopathy is a form of natural medicine that is based on the idea that the human body heals itself. It involves the use of different herbs and minerals that can help treat different diseases.
The naturopathy structure lies in the fact that drugs and medications should be avoided. It promotes the idea that illnesses can be cured by controlling diet and making massage and exercise a part of life.
Massage is the manipulation of tissues in the body. Various techniques are used to ease out the stress and pain in different parts of the body with the help of hands, fingers, elbows, knees, etc.
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Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of pure essential oils. Extracts from bark, flowers, plants, fruits, and resins. Essential oils can be inhaled, added to the bath, applied and massaged into the skin.
Ayurveda is a century-old treatment that exists in the world today. It based on the principle that health and wellness can be achieved by creating a balance between body and mind. It is based on different dosha body types.
7. Food As Medicine
In many ways, the right food can be natural medicine, natural healing. So many foods in their natural raw state, have healing and immune-boosting properties. A healthy diet fuelled by the right nutrients from our food not only treats and heal many illnesses but prevents disease. So many modern diseases are caused by nutrient deficiencies.
There’s a time and place for everything…
Conventional drug therapy often holds no parallel when it comes to acute, life-threatening conditions. It certainly has a very important part to play in modifying disease processes too. Used over a short term, these pharmaceuticals carry a lower risk of drug-induced side effects. However, long term use of pharmaceutical medication in chronic inflammatory, degenerative or cancerous conditions, is designed on the whole to help manage the condition by masking its symptoms. Very rarely does it lead to a cure of the disease?
Over time, more and more of the pharmaceutical drug is required and the chances of side effects become greater. Quite often, additional drugs are required to counter the side effects of the first ones. On the contrary, complementary and alternative medicines have a very good reputation for modifying chronic inflammatory and degenerative disease toward either complete cure or at least slowing down the development of the disease processes without dramatic side effects.
The golden rule for natural treatment is this:
The earlier the condition is caught and treated, the more easily the body will be able to cure itself, given the right healing trigger. This is why it’s so important to pay attention to your body. There are of course incurable conditions for which any form of medication is a major challenge, but various treatment options do still exist, that can help the patient to feel their best under the circumstances.
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