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Alternative Treatments

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Alternative Treatments

Some simple alternative treatments are natural herbal medicines, yoga, acupressure and reflexology holistic massage.

The term alternative medicine is the free use to cover all forms of medicines except modern or allopathic. In 1973, the Medical Faculty of the University of Rome convened the first World Congress of Alternative Medicines, and the provisional program contained more than 135 different therapies. The W.H.O. has also identified and listed more than 100 types of practices and termed these as traditional medicine.

Alternative treatments

Alternative medicines otherwise called as alternative therapy, alternative healing, alternative treatment, holistic medicine, holistic therapy, healing therapy, holistic healing, natural medicine, naturopathic medicine, natural remedies, complementary medicine, integrative medicine, and traditional medicine. Each medicine called with different names has to differ from each other with a very sensitive meaning.

There are 100s of systems of alternative medicines still in practice all over the world. Every country or region has its own traditional system of medicine such as for the Chinese – acupressure & acupuncture, for the French - magnetic healing, for Germans - Heilpraxis, for English - Herbalism, for Indians - Ayurveda, for Muslim countries - Unani, for southern part of the country - Siddha and for Japanese - shiatsu.

Most popular alternative treatments

Some of the most popular forms of alternative treatments are Herbal remedies, Unani, Siddha, Naturopathy, Yoga, Acupuncture & Acupressure, Magnetotherapy, Shiatsu, Herbalism, Meditation, Aroma therapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Gem therapy, Chromotherapy, Hydropathy, Diet Therapy, Reflexology and Reiki.

3 Types of CAM Treatment

What is CAM? Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) refers to therapies other than conventional medicine. Complementary refers to therapies used in conjunction with conventional medicine that complements the treatment. 

What is Alternative medicine? Alternative medicine refers to therapies used in place of conventional medicine. 

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a federal scientific agency categorizes CAM into three broad groups that include:

  1. Natural products – This include dietary supplements such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, probiotics, special diets, and functional foods.
  2. Manipulative practices - massage, chiropractic, osteopathy, and reflexology.
  3. Mind-body medicine - include yoga, meditation, hypnosis, Tai Qi, and qigong.

Reference: NCCAM Special Report.

In the United States, CAM is frequently used by adults, with 40% reporting its use in the past 12 months.

Reference: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies for Diabetes: A Clinical Review.

A United States national survey reported 57% of those with diabetes using CAM in the previous year. 

Reference: American Journal of Public Health 2002; 92: 1648–1652

According to a report from the Fraser Institute, 50% to 79% of Canadians had used at least 1 CAM sometime in their lives, based on surveys from 1997, 2006 and 2016. 

Reference: Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Use and Public Attitudes 1997, 2006, and 2016.

Most commonly used CAM in 2016 were massage (44%), chiropractic (42%), yoga (27%), relaxation techniques (25%), and acupuncture (22%).

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