Alternative or Complementary Therapies have been around for centuries, however, it was not until a few decades ago that their popularity really began to grow. Now, more people are seeking to avoid the drugs and surgery of conventional health care – or at the very least to supplement conventional therapies with other approaches. Ironic as it may sound; the future of health care may lie in the healing traditions of the past. This newsletter will provide you with an insight into a few of the alternative therapies available that you may wish to explore. (For a list of other therapies see reverse.)
Massage Therapy is older than recorded time, and rubbing or massage was the primary form of medicine until the pharmaceutical revolution of the 1940’s. Popularized again as a part of the alternative medicine movement, massage therapy has recently received empirical support for facilitating growth, reducing pain, increasing alertness, diminishing depression and enhancing immune function.
Hippocrates was an early advocate of massage, and recommended that everyone have a massage on a daily basis to ease pain and prevent stiffness. Massages are intended to relax the body and mind, mobilize stiff joints, improve the flow of blood and lymph, reduce muscular tension and chronic pain, reduce swelling and inflammation, and to reduce stress and tension. Massages are believed to integrate the mind and body, improve skin tone, increase the flow of energy through the nervous system and wastes through the gastrointestinal tract, as well as to enhance the functioning of all of the other body systems.
Hydrotherapy, which literally means water therapy, encompasses a variety of therapeutic uses of water. All forms of water (ice, liquid, or steam) may be used to relieve the symptoms of numerous types of infection, acute and chronic pain, circulatory problems, and more. In general, the aim is to stimulate an immune response or to detoxify the body by changing body temperature.
Hydrotherapy treatments may range from a foot bath to the application of a hot or cold compress. External hydrotherapy treatments typically involve application of hot or cold water to the skin. Internal treatments consist of water taken internally as a cleansing agent. The most common internal treatment is simply drinking water. As RMT’s we are trained in hydrotherapy and can apply treatments or give them to clients as home care.
Yoga is an ancient philosophy of life developed in India. Practitioners of yoga believe that by following its precepts, which include ethical principles, dietary restriction and physical exercise, they can unite the mind, the body, and the spirit. The practice of yoga consists of a series of body positions and movements, known as asanas, breathing exercises, called parnayama, as well as relaxation and meditation.
Yoga is thought to greatly enhance health by helping the body to become stronger and more resilient against disease and injury. Experts recommend that yoga be practiced for at least 30 minutes each day beginning with deep breathing, then moving to a series of selected postures and finally ending with 5–10 minutes of relaxation in the corpse pose
Acupuncture is part of the traditional practice of Chinese Medicine. It is founded on the principle that internal harmony is essential for good health. Your chi or life force needs to be freely flowing to generate good health, however, a sluggish, blocked or over-stimulated chi is believes to cause illness. It is the job of an acupuncturist to strive to encourage proper chi circulation through the stimulation of acupoints. Acupuncture has been practiced in china for more than 4500 years for everything from arthritis to a toothache.
Chiropractic therapy originated in 1895, and is based on the concept that the human body has an innate self-healing ability to seek homeostasis, or balance. According to general chiropractic theory the nervous system plays an important role in maintaining homeostasis – and hence health.
Subluxations (misalignments of the bones within the joints) or fixations (abnormalities of motion of joints) are said to interfere with the flow of nerve impulses and diminish the body’s ability to stay healthy. Through manipulation of the bones and joints, Chiropractors work to correct any misalignments thereby improving the flow of nervous impulses and restoring homeostasis.
Chiropractic therapy is an effective treatment for back pain, neck pain, headaches and many other ailments and conditions. Chiropractic manipulations can either be for specific problems or as part of a preventive health maintenance program and are covered partially by OHIP and some extended health benefit plans.
Other Alternative Therapies:
Acupressure, Apitherapy, Aromatherapy, Ayurvedic Medicine, Chinese Medicine, Energy Medicine, Flower Remedies, Herbal Therapy, Homeopathy, Light Therapy, Mind/Body Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine, Nutrition & Diet, Osteopathy, Qigong, Reflexology, Sound Therapy, Tai Chi