Introduction to Alternative Medicine
Complimentary and alternative medicine is a special branch of medicine that involves usage of treatments that do not fall under the category of conventional medicinal treatments. Alternative medicine has been under much research and experimentation in order to ensure the safety and efficacy of usage.
Alternative medicine is different from conventional medicines. However, it may be thought of as a substitute for conventional medicine in some cases. For example, a cancer patient may opt to treat the disease using dietary changes, instead of using conventional methods such as chemotherapy. In today’s world, alternative medicine has stemmed into three following major forms:
- Neuropathy treatment
Homoeopathy is a natural alternative medicine that has been used by practitioners for over two centuries. It is based on the theory of “like cures like”, meaning that a particular natural cure to a solution may also treat another ailment with similar symptoms.
Homoeopathic medicines consist of extremely dilute forms of particular natural substances. This is usually done dissolving a minute amount of medicinal substance into a very large amount of solvent (alcohol or water). Homoeopathy has been under much controversy by conventional doctors over the past few years and has also been linked with a fallacy, as the treatment does not comply with the laws of physics, and has also involved the use of dangerous substances, but has produced results in the past, and is still being used widely around the world.
Homoeopathic medicines can be bought from the local supermarket or even specific pharmacies. Homoeopathy has been known to strengthen the healing system of the body and has also claimed to not only heal the physical state but also the mental and spiritual state of the body. It has also been considered as non-addictive, as compared to most conventional medicines. This sort of alternative medicine has been claimed as a safe alternative method since the substances are so dilute, that even the most dangerous ones do not cause a negative effect on the body.
This sort of alternative medicine has been claimed as a safe alternative method, since the substances are so dilute, that even the most dangerous one’s do not cause negative effect to the body.
Neuropathy, particularly peripheral neuropathy, is a term that describes the problem with the peripheral nerves of the body, which technically involves the hands and feet. Neuropathy causes numbness or weakness in the feet and hands and is common in most diabetic patients. There are a few different alternative medications that are linked with neuropathy, which are:
- Acupuncture: It is a process where thin needles are inserted into specific areas of the body. The treatment has been known to be effective in relieving the peripheral neuropathy among patients. However, in order to obtain results, one may need to have several sessions before experiencing any notable improvement. Acupuncture is considered as one of the safer forms of medicinal treatments, provided that it is practised by an experienced practitioner, and with sterile needles.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid: This medicine has been used by many in order to reduce the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. It has been considered as relatively safe, but may include minor side effects such as minor changes in blood sugar levels, skin rashes and upset stomach.
- Herbs: Herbs are probably the oldest form of treatment for any ailment, and have been considered as an effective treatment for neuropathy. However, some herbs may react with any conventional medicine that one may be taking, so it is best to discuss the dosage with a doctor.
- Fish oil: Apart from having many other benefits, omega3 fatty acids are vital in reducing the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. It is especially beneficial for diabetics, as it also helps improve the blood flow in distal organs.
One of the oldest forms of medicinal treatments, Ayurveda has been used by practitioners for over 5000 years. Originating in the Indian subcontinent, Ayurvedic treatment is based on the balance between the body, spirit and mind. Ayurveda does not aim at fighting the disease, but rather to promote good health. According to the technique, all things in the world are connected, and one may only have good health if their mind, body and spirit are in harmony with the rest of the universe. Any disruption in harmony – and one may face illness. Some disruptions may be in the form of genetics, injuries, age and emotions.
According to Ayurveda, all things are made from five elements: water, air, fire, earth and space. Every human has various different combinations of the elements, called the ‘doshas’, each controlling a different part of the body (for example one dosha may be responsible for the consumption of food, whereas another may be responsible for muscle growth). The key to having good health is to retain the balance between the doshas. Disruption in the balance (such as eating too much or having an unhealthy diet) may lead to disease – and this is primarily what Ayurveda aims to correct.
Alternative medicine has been used for many centuries before the introduction of proper conventional medicine. They boast a simple, yet effective treatment for most ailments, with little or no side effects. However, the efficacy of alternative medicine may vary from patient to patient. You should consult with a doctor before starting any dose of alternative medicinal treatment or trying to intermingle the two treatment methods for a better outcome.