More and more people are turning to alternative medicine, either to complement existing traditional medical treatments or to completely replace these procedures.

In fact, a nationwide government survey in the United States found that 38 percent of US adults eighteen years old and above used some form of complementary alternative medicine in 2007.

There are plenty of therapies and substances used as alternative medicine. Some of them are still being studied for their effectiveness, while others have been shown to consistently produce positive results in patients.

The following are some of the most popular substances and therapies used as alternative medicine.

Acupuncture

This several-thousand-year-old tradition traces its origins to China, and it is now one of the most widely used alternative therapies in the United States and around the world. Acupuncture involves a variety of procedures designed to stimulate particular points on the body.

One of the best-known methods of acupuncture is the one in which practitioners make use of thin needles to penetrate the patient’s skin. Acupuncture has been shown to offer positive effects on chronic pain, high blood pressure, asthma, and even depression.

Detoxification

Also known as body cleansing, detoxification is a method designed to remove toxins that have accumulated in the body. These toxins are substances that are responsible for causing different short-term or long-term adverse effects on a person’s health.

Detoxification encompasses a wide range of methods, from taking simple one-day detox supplements to undergoing more extensive procedures like detox dieting that lasts for weeks, colon cleansing, and chelation therapy. Detoxification is believed to lower inflammation, boost energy and cognitive ability, promote weight loss, and improve skin health.

Reflexology

Reflexology is an alternative therapy that treats various health conditions by stimulating points found on the patient’s feet, hands, or ears. The underlying principle of reflexology is that there are specific energy points found around the body that, when triggered, can have various healing effects.

For example, applying pressure to a specific point in the arch of the food is said to improve bladder function. People can practice reflexology on their own or hire a reflexologist to help them treat pain or other health conditions.

Homeopathy

Created in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann, homeopathy is a system of natural health care based on the founder’s doctrine of “like cures like” or that substances that cause symptoms of disease in healthy people can be used to treat similar symptoms when applied on sick people. Homeopaths work by gathering extensive information about their patient’s condition and then using that information to create a homeopathic remedy that the sick person must take orally.

The treatment is designed to boost the body’s natural healing systems. Homeopathic medications have been used to treat a wide range of health conditions, including allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, and even muscle sprains and cuts.

Reiki

Reiki is an alternative medicine developed by a Japanese Buddhist, Mikao Usui, in 1922. This form of treatment is based on the philosophy that there is qi, or a universal life force, naturally flowing in the body and that low levels of this life force results in various health conditions.

Reiki teaches that qi can be manipulated to treat various illnesses and health conditions. During Reiki treatment, the practitioner transfers life energy onto the patient by placing their hands lightly on the body to promote relaxation, pain relief, and healing.

Some Words of Caution

Before you go to any practitioner of these alternative methods of healing, always consult your doctor first. Do not self-diagnose. Aside from that, be honest about the kinds of treatment you’ve been using. Interactions between the prescribed medicine and the alternative medicine may result in side effects, and it is the doctor who knows more about correctly integrating mainstream medicine and alternative medicine.