Skip to content

    Health & Balance

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    What Exactly Is Alternative Medicine?

    Alternative medicine is a term that describes medical treatments that are used instead of traditional (mainstream) therapies. Some people also refer to it as “integrative,” or “complementary” medicine.

    About 40% of adults in the United States say they use some form of alternative medicine. But exactly what types of therapies are considered alternative? The definition changes as doctors test and move more of them into the mainstream.

    Recommended Related to Mind, Body, Spirit

    Expand Your Comfort Zone

    By Elizabeth Kuster Initially, the title of this article was "Break Out Of Your Comfort Zone." But then I talked with bestselling author and fear expert Rhonda Britten, founder of the Fearless Living Institute, and she schooled me. "I'm not interested in people getting rid of their comfort zones," she told me. "In fact, you want to have the largest comfort zone possible -- because the larger it is, the more masterful you feel in more areas of your life. When you have a large comfort zone, you can...

    Read the Expand Your Comfort Zone article > >

    This article examines some popular alternative medical treatments and their potential risks and benefits.

    Acupuncture

    This is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that uses needles to stimulate specific points around the body. The person who performs this therapy (an acupuncturist) sticks thin, sterile needles into your skin. The goal is to help your body’s natural healing process kick in. Studies show that acupuncture can be effective in treating a number of conditions, like neck and back pain, nausea, anxiety, depression, insomnia, infertility, and more.

    Chiropractic Medicine

    This practice focuses on the body’s structure -- mainly the spine --and how it functions. A trained professional called a chiropractor uses different techniques to adjust (“manipulate”) your spine or other parts of your body so that they’re in proper form, or alignment.

    The goal of chiropractic medicine is to ease pain, improve body function, and help your body to heal itself naturally.

    Much of the research around it has focused on low back pain. But studies show chiropractic can also be helpful for a number of other ailments, like headaches, neck pain, joint problems in your upper and lower body, and disorders caused by whiplash.

    Energy Therapies

    These focus on the energy fields many people believe exist in and around the body. Included in this category are:

    Magnetic Field Therapy. This uses magnetic or electrical fields to treat a number of musculoskeletal problems. Studies show that it can work for osteoarthritis and other pain conditions. It’s also been found to help fractures heal faster. Magnetic field therapy may not be safe if you’re pregnant, have an implanted cardiac device, use an insulin pump, or take a drug given by patch.

    Today on WebMD

    woman in yoga class
    6 health benefits of yoga.
    beautiful girl lying down of grass
    10 relaxation techniques to try.
     
    mature woman with glass of water
    Do you really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?
    coffee beans in shape of mug
    Get the facts.
     
    Take your medication
    Slideshow
    Hand appearing to hold the sun
    Article
     
    Hungover man
    Slideshow
    Welcome mat and wellington boots
    Slideshow
     
    Woman worn out on couch
    Article
    Happy and sad faces
    Quiz
     
    Fingertip with string tied in a bow
    Article
    laughing family
    Quiz