For more and more people for whom traditional medicine has not produced the desired results or for those who consciously select to follow complementary and alternative medicine practices in comparison to traditional health ones, alternative remedies have come to the rescue. In fact, according to multiple studies, an outstanding one in three of all adults in the US (34%) has used some kind of complementary / alternative therapy in the past year.
For the other two individuals who have not decided yet to try any therapy that belongs to this type of health practice, or are not sure if they have done so in the past, it is important to understanding what complementary and alternative therapy is and why people select to use it.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), complementary and alternative medicine is defined as "a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine." But although these types of alternative practices are not taught in medical schools or implemented by certified physicians, the highest use of complementary and alternative medicine was reported by people between 25 and 49 years of age who had relatively more education and higher incomes.
Even more overwhelming is the fact that the vast majority (83%) of those who have used one or more unconventional therapy methods for serious medical conditions also sought treatment for the same health problems from a medical doctor although 72 percent of the survey respondents did not inform their medical doctors that they had done so. Why are people afraid to admit the obvious? Is in fact complementary and alternative medicine a "sin?"
The underlying philosophy of these approaches greatly differs from conventional medicine. In general, complementary and alternative therapies are based on the body's innate ability to heal itself. By using natural methods instead of complicated conventional medical procedures, alternative health practitioners provide their healing services to those who seek to explore an unconventional therapy in addition to whatever their medical doctors have subscribed, advised or performed.
Moreover, since complementary and alternative medicine's goal is to create optimum health, it focuses on preventing disease and helping someone feel better overall. In fact, it looks at the underlying cause of the problem and addresses the issue at hand from every perspective and not just by examining the symptoms of ill health. The most well-known healing therapies belonging to the complementary and alternative medicine practice are: chiropractic, aromatherapy, massage, mind-body therapies such as deep breathing exercises and meditation, energy therapies, Yoga, traditional Chinese medicine and practices, like the age-old practice of acupuncture, homeopathy and diet therapies based on the use of herbs and nutritional supplements.
If you have never tried complementary and alternative medicine, maybe it's not such a bad idea to indulge yourself with a massage session or keep your dietary habits in control. Simple practices will let you enjoy a precious healthy status for years to come.
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