Are alternative medicines the new mainstream?

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Living through a pandemic has changed many people’s views and opinions on many topics, but nothing has been more debated than the Covid vaccine; it has split opinions, families, and many turning away from big pharma.

It is pushing people to look into different medicines and medical treatments for anything affecting them instead of just heading to a local chemist or GP. 

Variety of herbs and herbal mixtures as an alternative medicine concept on wooden table background top view. Homeopathy treatment.

 

However, the rise in alternative medication hasn’t been as sudden as we think. 

In 2008, sales of herbal and homeopathic remedies in chemists, health stores, and supermarkets have doubled in a decade and were estimated to be worth £200m.

 

Now half the global population utilise some form of alternative medicine annually.

According to the British Lifestyles report by researchers Mintel, with many turning away from pharma, the market acquires ‘a greater reputation for offering legitimate alternatives to pharmaceutical-based treatments’.

Though what is alternative medicine?

The terms’ alternative’, ‘holistic’, and ‘complementary’ are commonly used interchangeably to refer to any health intervention beyond conventional medical approaches.

Herbal medicines, which possess extracts from plants and minerals, are health theory and practice systems developed separately from conventional medicine. 

They include naturopathy, Chinese medicine, and homeopathy. Scientific tests have shown evidence that some could have a beneficial effect. 

There are also Manipulative body-based treatments that focus on the relationship between the structures and systems of the body. 

 

Treatments include reflexology, chiropractic, and massage therapies.

There are also mind-body interventions based on the theory that emotional and mental factors influence physical health. Examples include hypnosis, meditation, and mindfulness.

Along with energy therapies, the core belief is that fields of energy called biofields exist in and around the body. It can be manipulated by energy practitioners or by using external energy sources such as electromagnetic fields. Examples of therapies include acupuncture, Reiki, and magnet therapy.

Holistic medicine refers to a philosophy that believes treatments should encompass all three elements of the human: an integration of the mind, body, and spirit.

The leading alternative practices you see in the UK are things like:

 

Acupressure 

is similar in practice to acupuncture; only no needles are involved. Practitioners use their hands, elbows, or feet to apply pressure to specific points along the body’s “meridians.”

It can help with insomnia, may also offer pain relief and studies found it also provided immediate relief for people experiencing anxiety.

Having the treatment three times per week for a month was able to help with anxiety, depression, and stress. 

 

 

Aromatherapy

Thus uses essential oils with highly concentrated extracts from plants’ roots, leaves, seeds, or blossoms to promote healing. It’s a practice that can be traced back to at least 5,000 years ago.

Researchers have focused on aromatherapy for anxiety, depression, pain relief, nausea, and insomnia in clinical settings and have found it can be beneficial for all.

 

Brown Bottles of essential oil with fresh herbs

Note: It’s important to consider others in the area when using aromatherapy. Some essential oils can be dangerous for pregnant women, children, or pets. Do not apply them directly to the skin, and avoid prolonged exposure without ventilation.

 

Chiropractic

It’s widely accepted in the medical community and thus qualifies more as a “complementary” medicine than an alternative. The practice focuses on the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, treating back, neck, joints, arms, legs, and head issues.

Chiropractic adjustments are intended to restore mobility and loosen the muscles, allowing tissues to heal and the pain to resolve. 

We believe in doing what works, as long as you’ve consulted with a doctor you can rely on.

 You may need a combination of Western medicine and complementary therapies to recover. Alternative medicine evolves, and more research in the thousands of available treatments.

That said, integrating a handful of these into your routine may have substantial benefits to your health. There’s a reason some of these have been around for thousands of years, after all.

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