What we think of today as “alternative” or “complementary” medicine used to be all the medicine there was. Doctors were not educated at universities, instead, they apprenticed with an established doctor. They learned how to make diagnosis and prepare medications in the form of ointments, syrups, teas and poultices. These home-grown healers used herbs and natural remedies from plant-based sources.
Western medical science only developed as rationalism and empiricism began to be the norm for explaining phenomena. In fact, what used to be regarded as the medical arts was not regarded as “science” until after a more scientific cause for disease and infection was established by scientists like Louis Pasteur. From then on, medicine has only regarded practices and treatments that are based upon scientific facts and scientific research and reasoning.
Today, medical education is regulated and standardized. Admission into the medical profession is only through a standardized examination and only after undergoing training and internship. The discovery, formulation and testing of drugs, therapies and treatments are also highly regulated by law and by government agencies.
As medical science improved and medical technology developed, the traditional medicine practiced by healers became regarded as superstition or magic or faith healing. Those who practiced these old and traditional medical healing arts were discouraged even as their practices were called “witchcraft” or “sorcery.”
Today, there is a resurgence of these old medical arts of healing. To be sure, the alternative and complementary medicine of today have their roots in traditional healing arts, but they are different in that they have a scientific base.
The question is, why is there a resurgence in popularity of alternative or complementary medicine?
Increasingly, science is able to name diseases for which medical science has no cure or treatment just yet. For example, there is no effective vaccination against cancer. There is a vaccine against the human papilloma virus.
Medical science has proven that cervical cancer is widely caused by an infection of the human papilloma virus. In the same way, there is also a virus against Hepatitis B. It has been proved that the virus that causes Hepatitis B infection will also lead to the development of liver cancer. But there is no vaccine that will effectively keep a person from contracting these kinds of cancer.
In fact, no one knows for sure what causes cancer, how cancer is contracted or how it grows and develop rapidly. The best weapon in the fight against cancer seems to be early detection. The earlier that cancer is detected, the earlier the cancer can be excised through surgery or, the earlier that chemotherapy and radiation can quickly eliminate the growing and developing cancer cells.
Despite these advances in treatment of cancer, more and more people are contracting cancer. The number of people living with cancer and those surviving cancer is growing. As cancer can be detected earlier and treatments are effective in eliminating growing cancer cells, more and more people have been diagnosed with cancer and receive treatments for it. Even so, there is no guarantee that the cancer will not recur or that it will not spread to other parts of the body.
Groups of people are living with cancer as there is no known cure for their type of cancer and all that medication can do is mitigate the symptoms. Groups of people survive cancer and want to regain a sense of well-being and a feeling of wellness despite their cancer diagnosis.
It is the concerns of these groups that have spurred on the resurgence of complementary and alternative medicine.
Alternative medicine has not yet been accepted by all. There are some doctors who agree that plants and other natural food sources have medicinal properties, but, they still will not agree that alternative medicine can heal sickness.
Alternative medicine has no claims that it can heal sickness.
What is claims is that it can provide a general feeling of wellbeing. It can help people with terminal illnesses or chronic conditions find relief from symptoms such that they can live functional and productive lives despite those illnesses and chronic conditions.
Also, some treatments for diseases, such as, cancer destroy healthy cells alongside cancer cells. Some effects of chemotherapy drugs are permanent nerve damage and this results in chronic pain, weakness and fatigue in a lot of patients. For this reason, there is a growing number of cancer patients who may agree to surgery to remove cancers or tumours, but they refuse radiotherapy or chemotherapy and opt for alternative medicine instead.
They make drastic changes in their lifestyles: they lose weight, they shift from a meat-based diet to a plant-based diet. They stop drinking alcohol and coffee and smoking tobacco. They stop running themselves ragged and get enough sleep, rest and exercise.
Along with these lifestyle changes, they have taken to alternative medical practices, such as acupuncture, aromatherapy and homeopathy. These therapies will not cure their cancer, but, they will make them feel more whole.
It makes them feel better. It alleviates some symptoms while at the same time, making their bodies strong enough to be able to heal itself and to fight disease naturally.
Perhaps it is too far-fetched to claim that disappointment with Western medicine has prompted people to turn to alternative medicine. It is far-fetched to claim as well that alternative medicine can ever totally replace Western medical science.
But, more and more people are feeling better with alternative medical practices. And when Western medicine has no cure or treatment for them, people will turn to alternative medicine to make them feel a little better while waiting for a cure.
Holistic Approach To Anti-Aging
As people live longer and longer many of us search for a way to slow down the effects of aging. Many people use different creams and gels or go as far as getting surgery in order to keep their youthful appearance but there is a holistic approach that we all can use when it comes to anti-aging.
Holistic medicine unlike the creams and gels treats the underlying cause for the problem and not just the symptoms of the problem. Now while we will never be able to treat the causes of aging we can use holistic medicine to slow down the side effects.
The skin is the largest organ in the human body and is easily impacted by day to day factors. The truth is that you cannot have good skin if you are not eating right, getting enough sleep, or are under a large amount of stress
Inflammation and free radicals
Understanding that free radicals cause inflammation in the body is very important because according to Dr. Michael Klentze, international medical director of the Vitalife Corporation at Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok inflammation is what causes us to age. You also must understand that free radicals are occur naturally and if your body does not get enough antioxidants to fight the free radicals they are free to go about the body and do their damage.
Damage caused by free radicals can be stopped by eating antioxidant rich foods or taking supplements such as vitamin C, Coenzyme Q10, Zinc, and Magnesium. Water is also an important factor if you want to slow the signs of aging. Your body is made mostly of water and if you allow it to dehydrate you will see more wrinkles. Ensuring that you get enough water will also ensure that your skin retains its elasticity over time.
Using holistic medicine to maintain proper circulation is also very important when it comes to slowing down the aging process. Your entire body relies on proper circulation and without it you will quickly see your body start to age and “fall apart” as it is called. Cheyenne is often used by those who practice holistic medicine to help with circulation.
How holistic medicine works
You must understand at this point that there are reasons one person would age faster than another and it is those reasons that must be treated with holistic medicine. You can not separate the health of your skin, your mind and your body. It must be treated as a whole. The chances of you reducing the signs of aging by simply focusing on your skin are slim but if you focus on your entire body ensuring that you are physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy you will see that you quickly reduce the signs of aging.
Reversing the signs of aging
It is also possible to reverse the signs of aging with holistic medicine. One of the ways you can do this is to ensure that your body is getting enough essential fatty acids. Each cell must have essential fatty acids in order to function properly. Essential fatty acids will help to nourish the skin as well as provide tone. You can find essential fatty acids in foods such as leafy greens, walnuts, fish oils and flax seed oils.
Physical activity is also an important factor when it comes to reversing or slowing down the aging process. Our bodies are made to move and physical exercise can help to raise your metabolism as well as reduce your weight. Ensuring that you are not over stressing your body by causing it to carry around extra weight is very important if you want to slow down the signs of aging.
Through adding exercise and supplements to your daily routine as well as ensuring you are getting enough water, sleep and are keeping stress levels at a minimum you can help to reduce the signs of aging. The best way to slow down the signs of aging is to focus on your body as a whole ensuring that you are in the best health possible instead of focusing on the symptom of aging. This way you will be sure to keep your youthful appearance for years to come.