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Alternative Therapies – Everything Old is New Again

The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only and not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Always seek advice from your physician or other qualified health provider before undertaking a new health regimen. And do not disregard medical advice because of new information you have read choose wisely.

 

Alternative Therapies – Everything Old is New Again

Prior to the 1960s, most of the health treatments, especially in the United States were physician prescribed. Then came the Beatles, who sparked worldwide interest in Eastern practices of meditation, mysticism, and other philosophies – even in America. That’s when our revolution of alternative health therapies began and has grown ever since.

All this is not new science, it’s ancient. Cleopatra used donkey’s milk and honey baths – to maintain her beauty. Now you can either go to a health spa or take her bath at home by buying a ready mixed powder on Amazon or other retailers.

Almost all so called ‘new age’ therapies have been around for centuries.

  • Gua Sha – scraping of the skin began in 17th century China
  • Herbal medicine – first used 60,000 years ago
  • Aromatherapy – ancient Greece and Egypt
  • Reiki – ancient Buddhist practice
  • Reflexology –  depicted on cave paintings from Ancient Eqypt, 2300 BC
  • Breath Work – ancient India

MEDITATION

Meditation is one of the most popular therapies to relieve stress, disconnect from technology for awhile and calm down. There are meditation classes, groups,  phone and online apps. Yet it is not new. In ancient time, the Yogis knew intuitively that meditation calmed the mind. Now with neuro-science we can look at brain waves during meditation and see the calmness, which proves its benefits.

Why many of us don’t meditate?

  1. I have too much going on – no time

      Spend 20 minutes less time searching social media sites

2. I tried to meditate once and it didn’t work

    You didn’t learn to walk the first time you tried. Keep walking

3. I don’t have a quiet place

     Spend a few minutes in our car – by yourself

4. Can’t quiet my mind – read on……

Many meditation practices say you have to sit in a certain posture, a special place, keep your eyes closed and breath. But, in essence, meditation is clearing your mind of outside thoughts/fear, etc. The excuse, I can’t quiet my mind doesn’t hold up. Any activity that takes rhythm quiets the ‘monkey mind’ and becomes  a meditation – dancing, walking, playing sports and any calming, all engrossing activity is meditation – knitting, cooking, baking, painting, reading, playing a word game online, listening to music, even getting hypnotized by a ‘mindless’ movie online or on TV.

BREATHWORK

In meditating, we are taught to focus on our breathing. A popular, stand alone therapy, closely associated with meditation is breathwork. Breath is the sign of life. We come into this world with our first breath, leave it with our last. Take a breath  is something we are told to do in any kind of stress. Feeling sick ? Breathe. In pain? Breathe. Scared? Breath. Angry? Breathe! This ‘alternative’ therapy is used to calm the mind, slow down, relieve tension and even to sleep. One of the most popular breathwork exercise is what is known as a sleep aid. It’s the 4-7-8 method. 

Inhale for 4 counts

Hold for 7 counts

Exhale for 8 counts

There’s nothing magic about breathwork or meditation. You can do either anytime, anywhere. It’s free, convenient a time treasured practice from the Ancients and a simple way to disconnect from everyday stress, if only for a few minutes a day.  These techniques are not in place of another therapy, but in addition to. Try it! You have nothing to lose but some stress.

CHIROPRACTIC

In 1886, DD Palmer, performed his first chiropractic adjustment. Before that he was a teacher and grocer turned magnetic healer. Critics said a spinal adjustment can’t affect certain areas but Palmer disagreed. He described the human body as a type of machine that could be manipulated to produce a natural and drugless cure. He opened the first chiropractic medicine school in 1896.

Legitimizing chiropractic was an uphill battle, with lots of arrests for practicing medicine without a license. In the 1930s the National Chiropractic Association was formed to hold the education to a higher standard. Since then, various medical groups have tried to eliminate the therapy by reducing it to quackery. In 1978 the National Library of Medicine acknowledged chiropractors as practicing legitimate therapy. Today over 35 million people in the United States alone visit chiropractors.

The best way to find a good chiropractor is word of mouth. Ask your friends who they see. Research how long the chiropractor has been in business. Check for any really bad reviews. Many chiropractors now accept health insurance but remember, one adjustment usually doesn’t cure what’s ailing you. And just like meditation, it’s not a substitute for Western medical treatment, (although you may be able to cut down on Tylenol or other pain killers), but an addition to whatever you’ve been doing. And there is a possibility that chiropractic may eliminate whatever skeletal issues you’ve lived with.

ACCUPUNCTURE

This 2500 years old therapy from China has, through thousands of scientific studies, shown to be extremely effective. It is known to improve symptoms of multiple conditions including migraines, neck and back pain, immune system diseases, seasonal allergies, urinary and reproductive disorders plus many more.

The acupuncturist inserts tiny needles into the skin, triggering certain points that either block or bring energy to wherever it’s needed. Although sticking a needle in your skin may sound painful, the procedure is hardly felt at all. The needles are left inserted for several minutes before removing them.

Caveat: If you or anybody you know is thinking about acupuncture, consult your physician            to be sure the procedure would not harm your health. And if needles are not right for you, there is also a related therapy, acupressure where pressure instead of needles are used.

GUA SHA

One of the newest, most used alternative therapies in the world is Gua Sha. It’s an ancient practice dating back to the Paleolithic era, that involves scraping the skin with a type of roller.  Gua Sha is said to stimulate blood circulation which increases oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Although originally used to heal, it has more recently gained popularity as a skin care practice. In ancient days, Chinese practitioner used horns, coins or bones. Today you can order a jade  roller on Amazon or from other places. The difference in the two therapies is that the acupuncturist, for instance, will use the roller as a scraper. The ones you buy over the counter are smoother and used to stimulate cosmetic changes on the skin. For more information about Gua Sha, many acupuncturists, physical therapists and some massage therapists offer it as part of their services.

LIFE IS ABOUT CHOICES

With new, constantly evolving technology, advances in science and medicine, our Western medical practitioners are there to serve. Most protocols, Western therapies and drugs have gone through dozens of scientific studies and deemed successful in treatment. We are always at choice. We can stay 100% with Western medicine, change 100% to ancient traditions, making a resurgence in the past decades, or use a combination of both. Do your investigating, consult with your physician, then choose wisely.

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