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lancelotarnold

What Exactly Is Alternative Medicine? 2

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Energy Therapies

These focus on the energy fields many people believe exist in and around the body. Included in this category are:

Magnetic Field Therapy. This uses magnetic or electrical fields to treat a number of musculoskeletal problems. Studies show that it can work for osteoarthritis and other pain conditions. It’s also been found to help fractures heal faster. Magnetic field therapy may not be safe if you’re pregnant, have an implanted cardiac device, use an insulin pump, or take a drug given by patch.

Those who practice this alternative treatment believe it taps into the body's natural energy to speed healing. The practitioner hovers his hands over your body or places them lightly on your skin. The goal is to channel energy through his hands to your body to promote healing. There’s very little research to prove it works.

Therapeutic (“Healing”) Touch. Here, a therapist uses his healing energy to identify and repair imbalances in a person’s energy field. Unlike Reiki, the therapist doesn’t touch you. He simply moves his hands back and forth over your body. Research shows healing touch can reduce anxiety in people who have cancers. It can also increase their sense of well-being. But it’s unclear if it works for other issues, as well.

Herbal Medicine

This alternative therapy uses parts of a plant -- its roots, leaves, berries, or flowers -- to heal the body.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 80% of people around the world use herbal medicine. Studies show certain herbs are effective in treating a number of health issues, like allergies, premenstrual syndrome, chronic fatigue, and more.

Unfortunately, herbal supplements can be sold without being proven to be safe or effective. Talk to your doctor if you’re thinking about using them.

Ayurvedic Medicine

Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest medical systems. It started in India more than 3,000 years ago and is still widely used in that country today.


Those who use it rely on herbs, special diets, and unique practices to treat illnesses. But Ayurvedic products can also be dangerous. Researchers have found toxic minerals or metals, like lead, in some of the products.

There hasn’t been enough research or clinical trials to support that Ayurveda works.

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