GMA: Alternative Medicine Use Rising

Acupuncture originated in China over 5,000 years ago. It is based on the belief that a person’s health is determined by having a balanced flow of “qi” (also spelled chi), the vital life energy circulating through the body. When special needles are inserted into acupoints just under the skin, they help correct and rebalance this flow of energy, relieving pain and/or restoring health. It is used as a healing treatment for numerous conditions ranging from the common cold to addiction and chronic fatigue syndrome. It is also used as an adjunctive treatment for AIDS.

Applied kinesiology identifies weaknesses in specific muscles to pinpoint imbalances in the body’s organs and glands. By stimulating or relaxing these key muscles, an applied kinesiologist can diagnose and resolve a variety of health problems.

Aromatherapy uses the essential oils extracted from flowers, leaves, branches or roots, to treat everything from infections and skin disorders to immune deficiencies and stress. The benefits of the oils may be gleaned through inhalation, external application, or ingestion (with proper medical guidance only.)

Biofeedback Training teaches a person to use simple electronic devices to change and control their body’s vital functions. For example, someone who wants to regulate their heart rate would use a device that beeps or flashes for every heartbeat and they would learn how to regulate it themselves.

Bodywork therapies such as massage, deep tissue manipulation, movement awareness and energy balancing are used to reduce pain, soothe injured muscles, stimulate blood and lymphatic circulation and promote deep relaxation. Deep-tissue massage, for example, is described as releasing chronic muscular tension by using slow strokes across the grain of muscle.

Chiropractic adjustments of the spine and joints are used to influence the body’s nervous system and natural defense mechanisms in order to alleviate pain and improve general health.

Energy Medicine uses diagnostic screening devices to measure the various electromagnetic frequencies sent out by the body, in order to detect imbalances that may be causing illness, or contributing to future disease. The input of electromagnetic signals that specifically counteract the affected frequencies is designed to restore a normal energy balance within the body.

Guided Imagery uses the power of the mind to bring about a positive physical response, sort of the opposite of “worrying yourself sick.” It can reduce stress and slow heart rate, stimulate the immune system and reduce pain.

Herbal Medicine is the most ancient form of health care known to mankind, and various herbs are used to aid health conditions ranging from premenstrual syndrome to heart disease and cancer. Garlic and its preparations, for example, are known for battling everything from coughs and bronchitis to ulcers and gout.

Homeopathy is a low-cost nontoxic system of medicine that works on the theory of “like cures like.” When taken in small quantities, dilutions of natural substances from plants, animals and minerals that would prompt different symptoms of illness instead help cure the same illnesses.

Hypnotherapy uses the power of suggestion and trancelike states to reach into the deepest levels of a person’s mind to bring positive changes to their behavior. It is used to manage numerous medical and psychological problems including helping a person stop smoking, overcoming alcohol and substance abuse and controlling eating.

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