Types of Alternative Medicine


The National Center for Complemetary and Alternative Medicne (NCCAM), based in Bethesda, Maryland in the U.S.A. classified the many alternative medicine treatments into five types or categories:

* Alternative Medical Systems,

* Mind-Body Interventions,

* Biologically-Based Therapies,

* Manipulative and Body-Based Methods, and also

* Energy Therapies.


Theory and practice distinguishes what makes a medical system. Examples of alternative medical systems are acupuncture,ayurveda, homeopathy, Native American healing practices, naturopathic medicine, Tibetan medicine, and traditional Chinese medicine.

Acupuncture originated in China more than 5,000 years ago and is based on a belief that all living things have a vital energy, called "qi". Acupuncture if a popular alternative therapy.

Ayurveda originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and has the purpose of restoring balance to the doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha). When practiced the individual may be making dietary changes, meditating, using massage therapy, or purifying techniques, practicing breathing exercises, using herbal remedies, taking baths or exercising.

Homeopathy is a natural medicine that treats the whole person with natural medicines. It is good therapy for mood swings, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and also attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Native American healing are the practices and healing beliefs of hundreds of indigenous tribes of North America. Native American Healing is a combination of religion, spirituality, herbal medicine, and rituals. Sacred traditions in healing are passed from one healer to the next on through generations and are more about healing the person than curing a particular illness.

Naturopathic Medicine is a comprehensive collection of healing options including acupuncture, counseling, diet, herbal medicine, homeopathy, and hydrotherapy. It is based upon six principles: the healing power of nature, educating the patient, "first do no harm", treat the cause not the symptom, individualized treatment, and also "prevention if the best medicine".


These are techniques that center on the belief that the mind has the capacity to affect what the body is doing and also the symptoms experienced by the body. Patient support groups, cognitive-behavioral therapy, art therapy and biofeedback are all considered to be mind-body interventions.


These are therapies that use substances found in nature herbs, foods and vitamins to heal.


These are the healing methods that use manipulation and/or movement of one or more body parts in order to heal the individual. Examples of manipulative and body-based methods are Acupressure, Alexander Technique, chiropractor, Feldenkrais Method, Massage therapy, Osteopathy, Reflexology, Rolfing, Therapeutic Touch and Trager Approach.


The energy therapies are those that use energy fields to manipulate biofields, apply pressure, and manipulate the body through hands-on applications such as Qi gong, Reiki, and Therapeutic Touch.

Bioelectromagnetic-based therapies are using electromagnetic fields such as alternating current or direct-current fields, magnetic fields, and also pulsed fields in order to heal.

Source: thehealthguide.org
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