Complementary medicines are treatments used together with conventional medicine to treat existing conditions. If a person has cancer, for instance, it might not be wise to discard the use of surgery or chemotherapy. In this case, though, there are complementary treatments available that can aid the conventional techniques and help to lessen the adverse side effects of conventional treatments. One of these is the use of Gerson therapy, a system that uses a combination of thirteen organic juices to detoxify the body. Using herbal dietary supplements such as ginger and ginseng to reduce the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy has also been found effective.
Alternative medicines are health care systems that are used in place of conventional medicine, and they often focus on prevention through a healthy lifestyle and treatment through natural remedies. Ayurveda is an example of an alternative medicine system. Ayurveda was developed centuries ago in India, and it focuses on using nutrition, the body, the mind, and the spirit in disease prevention. When disease does occur, herbal remedies are used for treatment, but the main idea is to prevent sickness by living a healthy life.
Complementary and alternative medicines fall into five categories. Alternative medical systems, such as traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, revolve around an entire lifestyle philosophy. Mind-body interventions focus on using the mind’s ability to positively affect the body’s symptoms and general function. This includes the use of meditation, prayer, and therapy through the use of art. Biologically based therapies use naturally occurring substances including herbs, diet, and vitamins to prevent and treat disease. Manipulative and body-based methods such as chiropractic treatments use manipulation and movement of the body. Energy therapies use energy fields for treatment. This category includes two types of therapies; one is biofield therapy, in which energy fields that surround the body are affected to promote healing, and the other is bioelectromagnetic therapy, which employ the use of electromagnetic fields.
Although the medical establishment does not generally accept most complementary and alternative medicines as replacements for more conventional methods, many people are finding them useful as they search for a better design for living. As you look through the world of CAMs, keep an open mind. Perhaps you’ll find a way to unleash your full potential on the road to a healthier you.
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