Not long ago, alternative medicine was viewed by humanity as simply medicine. These were the days before Prozac, when a back rub was noted to help ease a person’s depression. Thousands of years before migraine pills existed, as practitioners were using tiny needles carefully inserted into the skin to ease pain. Long before allergy pills lined the drugstore shelves, when a child was given bee pollen to address his allergy using the practice of homeopathy. The list of examples is long and varied, but the truth is there: Alternative medicine holds the power to heal.
As mankind discovered more and more treatments, this historical medicine took a backburner to the Western model of drug and surgery-centric care. In some cases, this makes perfect sense. If a person is experiencing those migraine headaches due to a brain tumor, for example, a complex operation to remove the mass may be a better option than treating the pain with acupuncture. In many cases, however, alternative medicine makes just as much sense as the Western prescriptions. Often, combining the two is the best option. When this occurs, the merging is called integrative medicine.
The sooner we consider the possibility that alternative and Western models can work together, the sooner we can design treatment plans that are as well-rounded as possible. Consider the examples below as just the tip of the iceberg of possibilities.
- Infertility treatments are complex and varied – and so much more than just the fertilization and implantation of an embryo. Often, doctor and acupuncturist will work together to devise a well-rounded treatment plan surrounding the in vitro fertilization process. Acupuncture is prescribed leading up to the procedure for its’ ability to increase blood flow to the endometrium and address any thyroid issues.
- Using pills to address depression may be necessary in some cases, but aromatherapy can certainly help as well. The use of essential oils for treatment, aromatherapy can elicit great feelings of calm and well-being. Lavender is well known for this ability. When added to a person’s daily health protocol, the effects can be remarkable.
- A complimentary treatment for fibromyalgia, massage has the ability to improve sleep patterns and decrease pain for people who would otherwise suffer with often-constant discomfort. Used in conjunction with other therapies, it has been shown to increase serotonin levels and improve quality of life.
The research is sound that integrative medicine offers us the full scope of healing options. Yes, some people hold steadfast to the idea that with all of mankind’s advancements, we should trust that Western Medicine gives humanity the latest and greatest healing capabilities. We should forget those remedies that our ancestors trusted, they say. Each side has merit in its arguments, but health is not a one-or-none approach. The human body is only understood up to a point, and we continue to learn about our capacity to heal.
Since the dawn of time, humankind has been on the search for healing power. Consider alternative medicine as a part of the integrative model that fosters your true health and healing.
Dr. Kym Caporale, DOM
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