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.
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.
Chiropractic 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 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 may be covered by your extended health benefit plans.
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.
The Bowen Technique is a remedial, hands-on therapy that is applied using very gentle pressure. The practitioner uses thumbs and fingers on precise points of the body to perform Bowen’s unique sets of rolling-type moves which stimulate the muscles and soft tissue of the body. There is no manipulation or adjustment of hard tissue and no force is used. The experience of a treatment is gentle, subtle and relaxing. It is believed that the Bowen Technique prompts the body to reset, repair and balance itself and clients report the experience of pain relief, improvement of function and recovery of energy. (www.thebowentechnique.com)
Bowen was developed in the 1950’s and can be used to help with all sorts of issues as it helps promote the body’s ability to relieve pain, restriction and imbalance. It is important to note that when using Bowen you are asked to stop all other treatments temporarily so that you can allow your body to repair itself without interference or contradiction from other therapies.
Rolfing Structural Integration
Rolfing is a body work technique that addresses the root cause of structural imbalances of the body through manipulation of connective tissues, focusing on the fascia (the sheathing membrane) that covers muscles, and movement education. Some of the benefits that clients of Rolfing have reported include pain relief and management, stress reduction, more efficient movement and better balance.
For a really comprehensive picture of what Naturopathy is (I just could not sum it up and still do the info justice) visit the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors.
*Note ~ To find out more about the above therapies hover your mouse over the name of the therapy and most will link to either their professional organization, regulatory college, or a website with lots of good information.
Other alternative therapies:
Acupressure, Aromatherapy, Ayurvedic Medicine, Chinese Medicine, Herbal Therapy, Homeopathy, Light Therapy, Mind/Body Medicine, , Nutrition & Diet, Osteopathy, Qigong, Reflexology, Sound Therapy, Tai Chi
I hope that this information has expanded your knowledge of a few of the other techniques that you can try, gathering the info for you has definitely peeked my interest in what else it out there.
What techniques have you tried? What did you think??