When we get sick or injured, the first thing we Americans generally do, is head to the doctor's office. Often times that is quite appropriate, as doctors provide a very valuable service, and we are blessed to have western medicine.
What about times when your doctor is unable to help, you're not satisfied with the results, or don't feel as though the recommendation for medications or surgery is right for you? Have you ever had a gut instinct that tells you to investigate other avenues? Have you ever thought that there must be a more natural option? Quite often, the answer is yes. The most difficult part may simply be finding the right alternative for you, as there are many modalities to choose from.
According to merriam-webster.com, “Alternative medicine is any system of healing or treating disease (as homeopathy, chiropractic, naturopathy, Ayurveda...) that is not included in the traditional curricula taught in medical schools of the United States or Britain.” This, of course, means that the therapies may very well be taught in medical schools in other countries, some of which have been around for centuries.
Alternative medicine can be used in place of traditional western medicine or used complementary to it. There are a tremendous number of options, so you should never feel stuck or forced into something that isn't right for you.
Remember that when you ask a western doctor how to solve a medical problem, their answer will generally be drugs or surgery. This is their scope of practice. As long as you know that that will be their answer, go to your doctor when you feel that is what you need.
But what about options? There are all sorts of options available to us; acupuncture, ayurveda, biofeedback, neurofeedback, chiropractics, craniosacral therapy, reiki, hyperbaric oxygen, lymphatic therapy, heart centered therapy, massage and reflexology just to name a few.
According to the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy (ISTPP) "Ninety percent of disease is caused or complicated by stress. Just imagine how alleviating stress in the general population could affect our health care system. More importantly, imagine how it could affect our lives! Imagine if, not only your life was less stressful, but the people around you were less stressed!
Amazingly, taking just a bit of time throughout the week to calm the mind and body, by doing things like yoga, meditation, and positive thinking can have huge affects on healing.
But what about things like musculoskeletal issues? It's common knowledge that many problems can be resolved through physical therapy, but what most people don't realize is that rehabilitative exercises are simply well chosen exercises that the general population should be doing already.
Exercising on a regular basis can be considered pre-habilitation, and will help to keep you strong and flexible. If you do become injured, you can start by using the R.I.C.E. method: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Then follow up with stretching and/or strengthening the injured area. This will generally bring you back to health.
As we move through our life, we sometimes find ourselves in situations where we feel stuck. My intention with this article is to bring more awareness about options with your health care, so you don’t feel stuck when it comes to taking care of yourself. So when you're not well, go to your doctor AND investigate alternative options. Know what's available so you can make wise, informed decisions that will be right for you.