Alternative therapy is a term that covers a broad range of therapies that aren’t standard in Western medicine. They include practices like acupuncture, massages and herbal medicines.
These treatments may be a great alternative to traditional medicine. If you’re having fertility issues, you’ve probably considered alternative therapy and might have even wondered “When should you get acupuncture for fertility?” However, it’s important to do your research before deciding to try them.
1. Reduces Stress
Stress is one of the most common health concerns and can affect your life in many ways. Whether you’re overwhelmed by work or school, a difficult relationship or simply trying to fit in with the crowd, it’s natural to feel stressed. But you can find ways to reduce stress without relying on drugs or unhealthy coping techniques.
You can try meditation, yoga, guided imagery, hypnosis or biofeedback, which is training with the use of a biofeedback machine that measures your body’s functions (for example, heart rate, blood pressure or muscle contractions). Learning new coping strategies and changing how you think about things will reset your body’s responses to stress triggers.
Pain-controlling techniques also can be effective, such as massage, acupuncture and therapeutic touch. These methods draw your attention away from the pain and release tension.
Sound healing is another treatment that can help control pain. Music, for example, can distract you from discomfort while providing a soothing effect.
If you’re interested in using alternative therapies to relieve your stress and pain, talk with your doctor first. He or she can advise you on which ones may not interfere with your cancer treatments and medicines.
Those who are interested in using alternative therapy to help with their health problems should look for an experienced and qualified therapist or counselor. They can provide personalized care and support to manage their symptoms. They can also teach you how to reduce stress and cope with life’s challenges.
2. Lowers Blood Pressure
Often, people with high blood pressure can achieve their ideal blood pressure goal with a combination of diet and lifestyle changes along with medications. But sometimes, these methods don’t work. If you’re having trouble lowering your blood pressure, your provider may recommend medicines that reduce the amount of sodium in your body and improve your heart’s ability to pump blood.
Other treatments can also lower blood pressure, including acupuncture and meditation. Acupuncture uses very thin needles that are inserted into the skin at strategic points on your body to help restore the flow of energy in your body. Studies show that it can lower your blood pressure compared to placebo in people with hypertension who are taking antihypertensive medicine.
Meditation involves slow breathing, which can help you calm your mind and decrease anxiety. Research suggests that meditation may help lower blood pressure, particularly in people who don’t tolerate standard treatments well.
Some herbal and nutritional supplements also have been found to help lower blood pressure. However, many of these products lack enough scientific evidence for safety.
You might need to take several different medicines to lower your blood pressure, so ask your provider if you can try more than one drug. If your blood pressure remains stubbornly high even after trying at least three types of drugs, your provider might check for a second cause of the problem, such as a kidney condition called renal denervation.
3. Lowers Cholesterol
There are several alternative therapies that can help lower cholesterol, including acupuncture and exercise. Some are more effective than others and may have some side effects, so you should check with your doctor before you try any new methods.
Another way that alternative therapy can lower your cholesterol is through diet and lifestyle changes. For example, reducing your consumption of fatty meats, egg yolks, and dairy products and increasing your intake of dietary fiber is a good start. Also, make sure you are getting enough phytosterols and stanols, which can be found in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and fortified foods.
In addition to lifestyle changes, you might consider taking a cholesterol-lowering supplement. Studies have shown that red yeast rice, omega-3 fatty acids, spirulina, soy proteins, green tea, lupin and garlic fibers can all help reduce your cholesterol. However, you should remember that there isn’t enough evidence to say whether these supplements work well or if they are safe for you. It’s best to discuss all your options with your cardiologist so you can get the right treatment for your particular needs.
4. Lowers Blood Sugar
Alternative therapies include a wide variety of practices, from acupuncture and massage to therapeutic touch, yoga, hypnosis, biofeedback, and aromatherapy. Many of these techniques are aimed at stimulating your body’s own healing abilities, and may help with pain, as well.
Some of these techniques can also be used to control your blood sugar levels. For instance, guided imagery, meditation, and hypnosis can all help you relax your mind, which may lower your blood sugar levels. A biofeedback machine can teach you to visualize your heart rate, blood pressure, and other physiological functions to help you learn how to change them.
Other natural supplements, like nopales (the pads of the prickly pear cactus), have also been shown to lower blood sugar levels. However, these supplements should be taken only after your doctor has recommended them. If you have diabetes, you should consult your physician before taking any herbs or other supplements to prevent side effects from your diabetes medications.
Other forms of alternative therapy focus on manipulating invisible energy fields. For example, acupuncture involves inserting very thin needles into certain points of the body to improve flow of energy. This can help with pain and other symptoms related to diabetes.
5. Reduces Anxiety
Many people turn to alternative therapy for a variety of reasons, including easing symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety. A variety of alternative treatments may help ease anxiety, including psychotherapy, aromatherapy, massage, exercise, herbal supplements, and dietary changes.
For example, one form of psychotherapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be highly effective in treating anxiety disorders. During CBT sessions, psychologists teach patients how to recognize the triggers that cause their anxiety and develop healthy coping skills to manage those situations.
Other calming techniques that may reduce anxiety include deep breathing, progressive relaxation exercises, and finding ways to express emotions through writing or other activities. For example, journaling can be a way to document your feelings and process them in a meaningful manner.
Yoga, a form of physical exercise that combines postures, breath-management techniques, and meditation, is another popular form of alternative therapy. Research suggests that yoga can help relieve anxiety and improve overall health, especially in older adults.
It also helps lower blood pressure and reduces depression, which is a common problem for anxiety sufferers. In addition, yoga can improve mental health by improving self-esteem and reducing negative thoughts.
Acupuncture is another option for relieving anxiety. Acupuncture uses tiny needles to target specific points on the body that can influence energy flow. It can also be helpful in treating some types of pain, but more research is needed to determine its effectiveness.
6. Helps with Pain
Alternative therapies are increasingly used to ease pain and stress. Many of them are based on natural products, and may have a positive effect on your overall health.
Relaxation techniques such as meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback and hypnosis may help you control the amount of pain you feel. They can also help you refocus your attention away from the discomfort.
Similarly, acupuncture and other types of massage therapy can also help alleviate pain. In addition to releasing endorphins, these practices can reduce muscle tension and increase your sense of well-being.
Another option is to use herbal remedies made from plants. A qualified herbalist can prescribe these remedies, which contain natural compounds that may be beneficial in the treatment of certain conditions.
You can get a variety of these remedies at your local pharmacy or natural health store. Some are designed to be used as oral drops.
Acupuncture, for example, is a form of Chinese medicine that uses extremely thin needles to manipulate the flow of energy within your body. It can reduce the pain caused by a wide range of conditions and may be an effective alternative to medication and surgery.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that acupuncture is an effective treatment for chronic back and neck pain. However, it should be noted that acupuncture is not appropriate for all pain types. It is important to seek the advice of your healthcare team before trying any alternative treatment for your condition.