The Effective Alternative Medicines
- Pages: 8
- Word count: 1787
- Category: Alternative Medicine
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Throughout centuries, different cultures have used and relied on alternative medicines. Alternative medicine (CAM) is in any way to improve or maintain human health that is not part of standard medical care, also known as conventional, or Western, medicine (Saks). About forty percent of Americans have tried some type of alternative medicine at some point of their life and estimated $35 billion a year is spent on it (Saks). Many people may argue that alternative medicine is a waste of money and time or that it is not reliable and not enough research done to be proven safe. Everyone always went to modern medicine before alternative medicine, but stayed with alternative medicine because it cured illness that modern medicine could not cure. Alternative medicines such as acupuncture, meditation, reiki, and herbs are just as effective as modern medicines in treating illness.
Acupuncture medicine is about five thousand years old and originates from China. In ancient China, gold, silver, bamboo, stone, and bones were just some of the objects that were found to be used in the practice of acupuncture (“Think Acupuncture”). Needles back then were unsanitary and very painful, but now days acupuncture needles are made from disposable stainless steel which makes the procedure pain-free and safe (“Think Acupuncture”). According to Think Acupuncture “ Chinese theory believes that the world and the body are made up of five elements; wood, fire earth, metal, and water” (“Think Acupuncture”). This theory states that all of these elements are connected, and each element affects one another. For example, earth generates metal and water influences fire (“Think Acupuncture”). So, the five elements theory could be the basis for many acupuncture treatments. For instance, the kidney is related to water as the heart relates with fire. When there is a kidney problem, then there may also be a problem with the heart so an acupuncture treatment is made to target both areas (“Think Acupuncture”). Although, it may sound unrealistic and wild many studies have proven this theory and the positive effects acupuncture brings.
Stress, pain, and headaches are the top reasons people seek acupuncture treatment. According to Aligned Modern Health “Whether it be demands from our job or personal pressures we place on ourselves, nearly seventy seven percent of us admit that we experience the physical symptoms of stress” (“Aligned”). Acupuncture has been confirmed to decrease stress hormones and balance mood to reduce anxiety and improve overall feelings of happiness (“Aligned”). Keyboards, heavy backpacks, cell phones, and poor posture are just few of the factors that cause the pain in our everyday work life (“Aligned”). There was a report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2017, researchers evaluated previously published trials on the use of nonpharmacologic therapies (including acupuncture) for low back pain. The researchers found that acupuncture helped decrease pain intensity and better function immediately after acupuncture treatment, compared with no acupuncture (Wong). Acupuncture has also been used to treat headaches for thousands of years. Recent studies have shown that acupuncture can reduce for days and may have lasting effects. Some common side effects of acupuncture are a sense of euphoria and relaxation (“Aligned”). Acupuncture is a great choice of treatment for those seeking a less invasive, drug-free option.
Reiki is a system created by a man named Usui Mikao in Japan in the early 1900s. The word Reiki translates from the Japanese as ‘spiritual energy’. The practices taught in the system develop our own energy and gradually reminds, or re-connects, us with our nature (Stiene). When energy that is stagnant in the body moves it is called cleansing and when energy moves in the body you can often feel it too (Stiene). It may feel like tingling, sharp pain, or waves, the feeling depends on the practitioner’s interpretation of energy as to what they have experienced. These sensations may be strong or mild depending on the person, and the current situation (Stiene). Many Reiki practitioners use their own energy to help others with hand-healing and was taught to the Japanese military. Using hands for healing also stimulates the body’s energy to move more freely (Stiene). For many years people believed that Reiki had died out in Japan but now new information about Reiki in Japan is revealed.
Reiki can boost people’s moods and treat depression. Reiki puts us back in touch with our healthy flowing energy. When we experience it, it reminds us of what it feels like to be healthy and joyful. Reiki energy is a healing energy to clear out blockages (Hill). When the blockages starts to clear, we feel lighter, more relaxed and more loving toward ourselves and others (Hill). People who tried reiki felt greater mood benefits compared to people who did not have reiki (Cronkleton). The study participants had six, thirty minute sessions over a period of two to eight weeks showed improvements in their mood. Reiki treatments have been used as part of a treatment plan to help relieve depression.
In a small 2010 study, researchers looked at the effects of reiki on older adults experiencing pain, depression, or anxiety. The participants reported an improvement of their physical symptoms, mood, and well-being. They also reported more feelings of relaxation, increased curiosity, and enhanced levels of self-care. (Cronkleton) All illnesses including depression show up in the energy body. They block the natural flow of the energy. Blocks to our energy can come from oppressed feelings as well as poor food, water, sleep habits, and other lifestyle problems (Hill).
The English word “meditation” came from meditatum, a Latin term meaning “to ponder.” Although we do not know when, exactly, people began to meditate, experts agree that the practice probably began many thousands of years ago, before the birth of modern civilization (“Mindworks”). When scholars look to establish the origins of meditation, they first have to analyze ancient texts and recorded hieroglyphs to find references to this discipline (“Mindworks”). According to Mindworks “Several archaeological findings suggest that hunter-gatherers were practitioners of some forms of meditation, as were early shamans” (“Mindworks”). Their knowledge was passed down from one generation to the next, helping to lay the crucial foundations of modern meditation (“Mindworks”). People who obtained insight and wisdom by putting the Buddha’s teachings into practice taught others (“Mindworks”). At one point, people were practicing some form of Buddhist meditation from the territories of modern-day Afghanistan to Mongolia and from Japan to Indonesia (“Mindworks”).
Some forms of meditation help generate kindness and fight addictions. Some meditation may particularly increase positive feelings and actions toward yourself and others. Metta, a type of meditation also known as loving-kindness meditation, starts with promoting kind thoughts and feelings toward yourself (Thorpe). Through practices, people learn to enhance this kindness and forgiveness externally, first to friends, then acquaintances and ultimately enemies. According to Matthew Thorpe “Twenty-two studies of this form of meditation have demonstrated its ability to increase peoples’ compassion toward themselves and others” (Thorpe). There was a study of a hundred adults randomly assigned to a program that included loving-kindness meditation (Thorpe). Then found the more effort people put into Metta meditation, the more positive feelings they experienced (Thorpe). People develop mental discipline through meditation which helps people break dependencies by increasing the self-control and awareness of triggers for addictive behaviors (Thorpe). Research has shown that understanding the causes behind their addictive behaviors and meditation helps people learn to redirect their attention, increase their willpower, control their emotions and impulses (Thorpe). One study trained nineteen recovering alcoholics to meditate and found that participants who received the training got better at controlling their cravings and craving-related stress (Thorpe).
During the Middle Ages, people were not favorable to the progress of herbs in medicine (“Planet Natural”). In fact, the Catholic Church started to burn herbalists, having associated them both with witchcraft and paganism (“Planet Natural”). So people used herbs to help preserve meats and to cover the rotting taste of foods that can not be refrigerated (“Planet Natural”). Herbs also helped to mask the odors of people who bathed irregularly (“Planet Natural”). Early settlers would grow herbs to season their food, as well as, for their medicinal properties (“Planet Natural”). American Indians often used herbs for tanning and dyeing leather (“Planet Natural”). Ancient Romans and Greeks crowned their leaders with dill and laurel. The Romans also used dill to purify the air ( “Planet Natural”). Dating back 2000 to 3000 years, traditional Chinese medicine was based on a belief that the body’s health is the result of constant battling between yin and yang (“Planet Natural”). When these two forces are balanced, the body feel healthy (“Planet Natural”). When they are out of balance, the body feel sick (“Planet Natural”). Herbal treatments are designed to trigger the body’s own healing mechanisms (“Planet Natural”). Such as, burning herbs near the skin (moxibustion) and herbal medicines (“Planet Natural”). The U.S. National Library of Medicine holds approximately 2,000 volumes of Chinese medical classics (“Planet Natural”).
All spices originates from plants: flowers, fruits, seeds, barks, leaves, and roots. Herbs and spices not only improves the taste of foods, but can help cure some potential illness. For instance, true sea salt, contains 93 trace minerals (Wells). Most herbs and spices also contain more disease-fighting antioxidants than fruits and vegetables (Wells). In America the problem is that most of the healthy herbs are rarely used, mainly from lack of knowledge about them (Wells). While the least healthy such as, salt and pepper are the most commonly used seasonings. Cinnamon is a popular spice, found in all sorts of recipes and baked goods. It contains a compound called cinnamaldehyde, which is why cinnamon is healthy (Leech). Cinnamon has potent antioxidant activity, helps fight inflammation and has been shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood (Leech). Cinnamon really powerful in its effects on blood sugar levels. According to Joe Leech “Studies have shown that cinnamon can lower fasting blood sugars by 10-29% in diabetic patients, which is a significant amount (9, 10, 11). The effective dose is typically 0.5-2 teaspoons of cinnamon per day, or 1-6 grams” (Leech). Cinnamon can slowing the breakdown of carbs in the digestive tract and improving insulin sensitivity (Leech).
Overall, modern medicine may seem like a good choice, but many people have turned to alternative medicine when modern medicine is not working for them. Before modern medicine different cultures have used these methods to cure illness and lived. Many many people has tried alternative medicines like acupuncture, meditation, reiki, herb and spices they received better treatments than modern medicines. Others may say alternative medicines are not reliable but these are exactly what our antecesor have used and they do show results.