Several years ago, I suffered from a chronic ailment which traditional medicine couldn’t address. Doctors recognized the problem, but were ignorant about the cause and so, there was no treatment. Sharing my disappointment with a friend, she suggested I see a naturopath, one she had used, though she warned me the woman’s fees were impressive. Alternative medicine wasn’t included in my medical plan but with my back against the wall, I made an appointment.
I admit, the doctor’s methods struck m as mumbo-jumbo. Still, when she concluded I had food allergies, I submitted to her strict diet regimen and did feel a little better, though not well. Nonetheless, I was encouraged enough to try another naturopath. The second prescribed an herbal brew I could make for pennies and which did bring relief, if not a cure.
Overtime, the complaint went away, as my medical doctor told me it might, so I am unable to confirm that my cure was the result of diet and an herbal brew. I can testify that both gave me a measure of relief.
Since that introduction to alternative medicine, I have tried others treatments for other ailments: bio feedback, chiropractic medicine and acupuncture. Acupuncture worked wonders on my airborne allergies but not for much else. Bone manipulation for my decaying hips, helped a little but eventually I required surgery. With bio feedback, I learned I could direct a fair amount of heat into my hands, which surprised me; but I never got far into pain management because I elected to have surgery.
In “Worthwhile Alternatives” by Amanda Gengler and Hallie Leine, the authors weigh the pros and cons of alternative medicine and offer good advice on what to expect from treatments. (Money Magazine, 11/14 pg. 31-31) Chiropractic medicine, they say, helps increase joint movement and can relieve pain in the spine and lower back. They advise looking for a practitioner with a State license which requires 4 years of study. Acupuncture is helpful for headaches, low-back pain, neck and knee pain. It works by releasing endorphins into the body. After 5-6 treatments, if there’s no relief, the authors suggest forgoing further visits. For a practitioner, look for someone who has a state license and a certificate from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Naturopathy works on the principal that the body can heal itself through diet, herbs, lifestyle and sometimes in conjunction with the other alternative treatments. Look for a naturopathic physician who has finished a four-year program from an accredited school, “Not a so-called traditional naturopath.” (Ibid pg. 32) A list of qualified physicians can be found at naturepathic.org. Biofeedback is a relaxation technique that can lower heart rate and is good for relieving stress and headaches. Look for a professional with the Certification International Alliance. (bcia.org)
Alternative treatments have their uses and today many medical doctors will work with an alternative practitioner. In fact, some M.D.s are also alternative practitioners, allowing a patient to experience the best of both worlds.