Is Alternative Medicine Safe and Effective?

By , July 16, 2009

As a kid I remember that when I would get a tummy ache, my mom would ask me to lie down and slowly sip through a drink of homemade lemonade with a dash of black salt, before dad could take me to a physician.

Today when I look back and remember, I reckon that to treat my tummy ache I was put on a course of an integrative medicine Alternative Medicine (the lemonade) + Conventional Medicine (physician prescribed drugs).

Alternative Medicine & Its Usage

Complementary and Alternative Medicine or CAM, comprises a broad range of healthcare practices, products, and systems, which don’t form a part of the conventional medicine. For instance, herbal materials, preparations and products used by Asian systems of medicine such as Ayurveda or Traditional Chinese medicine. It also includes practices viz. Acupressure, acupuncture, aromatherapy, or mind body approaches such as prayer, mental healing, meditation, etc.

Moreover, a lot of people around the world use Alternative medicines, for example in China it makes up for about 40% of healthcare delivered, in Africa 80% of the population uses it, about 48% Australians have used it at least once. In North America, 42% of USA and 70% of Canada have used it at least once. Usage is similar in Europe too, for instance 75% of France has used it at least once.

Is It Effective?

“It is,” “it isn’t,” and “I can’t say,” all of these at the same time. Given the scientific research conducted on Alternative medicine till now, it appears that a sweeping statement would be a bit too far fetched.

For instance, evidence in support of acupuncture, many herbal medicines and manual treatments does exist. On the other hand St. John’s wort didn’t seem to have an affect on the symptoms of ADHD in children and adolescents (Weber W, Vander Stoep A, McCarty RL, et al, 2008). And that, “I can’t say,” because research on many such treatments is unavailable.

Is It Safe?

Today, a perception exists that if something is natural or organic, it can’t be harmful. This belief might not be true in all cases, e.g. Snake venom is all natural and organic, but is it safe for human consumption?

Sometimes herbs can be harmful by their very nature, e.g. kava and comfrey are herbs but still have been associated with liver damage.

At other times inappropriate regulation or administration of herbs and therapeutic procedures could render highly effective alternative treatments hazardous. Consider acupuncture, though it’s been found to be effective, but if unsterilized needles are used it could lead to infection. Similarly, an overdose of Ephedra, a herbal remedy of respiratory congestion may lead to heart attacks, strokes and even death.

Forget herbs, an overdose of water too can lead to water intoxication and even death. Herbs aren’t an exception and some of them may even react undesirably with other conventional medication, or some might not be suitable for consumption during pregnancy.

However, undesirable consequences of alternative treatments due to inappropriate administration, by no means imply that alternative treatments are unsafe by themselves. Rather, proven alternative medicines when properly administered, are not only safe, potent and cost effective, but also offer patients a choice.

All in all, an absolute yes or no answer vis-a-vis safety and effectiveness of Alternative medicine doesn’t exist. Assuming quality formulation of Alternative medicines, they can either be a boon or a bane depending upon which treatments are administered, as also when and how they’re used.

BTW, I still relish the lemonade my mom makes, whether I have a tummy ache or not!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a journalist with 7 years of experience. Though, as a professional I’ve reported on myriad topics, my favorites remain to be the medical and the automobile industry. I blog as it gives me a platform to write about my interests.


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Holistic Healing Classes: Subjects of Study

By , July 16, 2009

Find Holistic Healing Classes in the United States and Canada. Individuals who are searching for innovative fields of study and would like to learn about holistic and alternative healthcare modalities will find that enrolling in one of numerous holistic healing classes can help them explore both ancient and novel healing arts.

Today, holistic healing classes are offered in simple learning platforms such as holistic seminars, workshops and in public community centers. As well, holistic healing classes may be more comprehensive in nature and integrated into certificate, degree and continuing education programs.

Students who desire to become holistic health practitioners can take holistic healing classes in healing alternatives, wellness and detoxification, energy medicine, mind-body-spirit medicine, and introductory Chinese herbal medicine. Others may elect to pursue holistic healing classes to become a spiritual healer. Certificate courses in this particular field of study involve studies in theology, prayer, mantra and meditation, spirituality, and other metaphysical subject matter.

Holistic healing classes in acupuncture may lead to a diploma, certificate or degree. Depending on the alternative health school in which you enroll, there are various holistic healing classes that are drawn from Oriental medicine philosophy and practices. While some holistic healing classes may be more geared toward needless techniques, such as acupressure, moxibustion, cupping and Chinese medical massage, other courses may involve more in-depth instruction in Tai Chi, Qi gong, acupuncture needling methods, TCM, herbal medicine, Chinese medical terminology and more.

A number of holistic healing classes entail studies in holistic divinity, animal healing, shamanic journeys, reiki, nutrition and supplements, essential oils, flower remedies, herbology, hypnotherapy, iridology, among others. In addition, there are very popular holistic healing classes that are centered on massage therapy. In these courses of study, students are taught about anatomy, kinesiology, physiology, and range of motion. Massage modalities that are offered through holistic healing classes encompass training in acupressure, deep tissue massage, sports massage, Swedish massage, touch therapy, medical massage, trigger point and countless other methodologies.

If earning your associates, bachelors, masters or doctorate is important to you then there are a number of holistic healing classes that are more advanced and comprehensive in nature. These holistic healing classes typically include practical and clinical instruction in chiropractic, naturopathy, Oriental medicine, orthomolecular medicine, and anti-aging and preventive medicine. In addition, professionals who have already attained some level of medical education will find that there are holistic healing classes in holistic nursing, holistic veterinarian and holistic M.D. programs.

There are several more holistic healing classes from which one can choose: some lesser known studies may include apitherapy (Bee products’ therapy), animal therapy, bioenergetics, phytotherapy, naprapathy, Feldenkrais, Feng Shui, polarity therapy and many more.

If you (or someone you know) are interested in finding holistic healing classes, let career training within fast-growing industries like massage therapy, cosmetology, acupuncture, oriental medicine, Reiki, and others get you started! Explore career school programs near you.

Holistic Healing Classes: Subjects of Study

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Improving your Health With Herbal Medicine

By , July 16, 2009

Herbal medicine is the oldest form of health care known to mankind, and is also called botanical medicine or herbalism. Herbal medicine began with primitive cultures using different plants for shelter, clothing, and medicine. Herbal medicine is a complementary therapy that uses plants or plant extracts to treat illness, and is an important part of keeping healthy holistically and naturally. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that as many as 4 billion people, or 80 percent of the world’s population presently use herbal medicine for some aspects of primary health care.

History of Herbals

Herbs have been used on nearly every continent and by nearly every people, including ancient cultures dating back thousands of years. Medicinal herbs were found in the personal effects of an “Ice man” whose body was frozen in the Swiss Alps for more than 5,300 years. They appear to have been used to treat the parasites found in his intestines. In the written record, the study of herbs dates back over 5,000 years to the Sumerians, who described well-established medicinal uses for such plants as laurel, caraway, and thyme. The continuing importance of herbs for the centuries following the Middle Ages is indicated by the hundreds of pages of information on herbs published after the invention of printing in the fifteenth century.

How To Use Herbs

Herbs can be prepared in a variety of forms depending on their purpose. They have been used in all cultures throughout history to restore balance by nourishing the body and have provided humankind with medicine from the earliest beginnings of civilization. Herbs contain a large number of naturally occurring chemicals that have biological activity. They help the body strengthen its own resistance to infective organisms and throw off illness. Herbs can act on the body as powerfully as pharmaceutical drugs and should be treated with the same caution and respect.

Herbs can also have undesirable side-effects just as pharmaceutical products can. herbs may be harmful if taken for the wrong conditions, used in excessive amounts, combined with prescription drugs or alcohol, or used by persons who don’t know what they are doing. Most herbal traditions have accumulated knowledge without modern scientific controls to distinguish between the placebo effect, the body’s natural ability to heal itself, and the actual benefits of the herbs themselves.

Who Can Use Herbs

Medicinal plants can be used by anyone, for example as part of a salad, an herbal tea or supplement. Many of the herbs and spices used by humans to season food yield useful medicinal compounds. To use an herbal product as safely as possible consult your doctor or a trained herbalist before you begin.Do not take a bigger dose than the label recommends. Take it under the guidance of someone trained in and experienced with herbal use. Be especially cautious if you are pregnant or nursing.

While herbal medicine is older than any other type of health care, it continues to influence the medicines of today. Herbal medicine has proven to be a huge benefit to mankind and has never been more popular than it is today.

You can improve your health and personal well-being as you begin to use complementary herbal medicines confidently and effectively.

Dave Kettner provides holistic health products and
anti aging herbal remedies

striving to improve the health of others one individual at a time. If you want

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