Alternative Medicine Practice
Alternative medicine helps maximize wellness for people with chronic and complex diseases. It combines conventional and complementary medicine practices.
Alternative medicine is an approach to wellness that combines:
- Conventional (traditional Western) medicine, which includes drugs, surgery and lifestyle changes.
- Complementary medicine, therapies that are not part of traditional Western medicine.
What type of provider delivers integrative medicine?
You receive care from an individual practitioner or a team of providers, representing:
Traditional Western medicine: Providers who have completed formal medical training deliver conventional therapies. This approach focuses on evidence-based care. You may receive services from:
- Medical doctors (MD).
- Doctors of osteopathy (DO).
- Physician assistants (PA).
- Nurse practitioners (NP).
Complementary medicine: Healers may come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are board-certified in integrative medicine, meaning they passed rigorous exams. Others are licensed therapists.
They may be:
- Doctors of chiropractic or naturopathic medicine.
- Massage therapists.
- Energy healers.
How can integrative medicine help me?
Alternative medicine uses a variety of techniques to deliver whole-person care. Complementary therapies work with traditional treatments to heal your mind, body and spirit.
Complementary therapies do not replace conventional treatments. They help you cope with symptoms, complications or side effects.
Who is integrative medicine for?
Many patients can benefit from integrative medicine. People with long-lasting (chronic) or complex medical conditions are particularly likely to benefit from these approaches. They may be living with:
- Chronic pain.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Joint pain.
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Neck pain.
- Anxiety disorders.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What types of complementary therapies are available?
There are many complementary therapies, including:
This treatment includes substances found in nature that help maximize nutrient levels. Natural remedies include:
- Diet therapy improves wellness with specific eating plans. They include paleo, Mediterranean, keto, plant-based or other diets.
- Herbal supplements are natural substances with healing properties. They come from plant oils, roots, seeds, berries or flowers.
- Probiotics contain good bacteria that support your digestive and immune systems.
- Vitamins are minerals and other substances that are essential for good health.
Mind-body practices harness the connection between mental and physical dimensions of health. They include:
- Biofeedback helps you gain better awareness of specific body functions.
- Hypnotherapy heightens your sense of awareness and openness to suggestion.
- Meditation uses mental focus to quiet unpleasant thoughts and feelings.
- Reiki (energy healing) restores the body’s energy fields to promote healing.
- Yoga and tai chi combine specific postures and movements with breathing to unify your mind and body.
These therapies use the body to influence health and well-being. Bodywork may include:
- Acupuncture uses thin needles to stimulate the flow of energy qi.
- Chiropractic adjustments use a healer’s hands to ease joints back into their natural position.
- Reflexology stimulates body systems by pressing on areas of the hands, feet or ears.
- Therapeutic massage applies pressure to muscles and soft tissue to relieve tightness.
What are the benefits of integrative medicine?
Alternative medicine maximizes well-being with:
- Disease-focused therapies of traditional Western medicine.
- Healing opportunities from complementary therapies.
Complementary therapies may help people living with complex illnesses achieve:
- Better appetite.
- Improved cognitive functioning, which makes it easier to remember things.
- Peace of mind.
- Relief from pain, nausea or fatigue.
- Restful sleep.