By Lawrence Reaves

Alternative methods of medical care are quickly becoming some of the most sought-after forms of treatment for common and lesser-known medical concerns. People who experience everything from poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and type two diabetes to arthritis and chronic pain have looked for answers to their health questions from practitioners of alternative medicine. Now that the many of benefits of these alternative practices have been proven by conventional science, more people than ever are anxious to learn about other ways that they can pursue their health goals.

If you have never explored the world of alternative medicine, you might be confused about many of the healing modalities being discussed. This is a simple guide to some of the most common forms of alternative medicine. To learn more about these or any other type of alternative medicine, speak with a professional practitioner or do some more research in books or on the Internet.

Herbalism, Reiki, and More

One of the oldest of all forms of alternative medicine is herbalism. Herbalism was the first way in which medicine was practiced; thousands of years before medication could be created in the laboratory, people used the local plants to heal themselves. Over time, the traditional herbalists were replaced by medical doctors trained in distant cities. For a while, traditional herbalism was almost lost. Today, a Renaissance of herbalism is taking place. There are now many accredited herbal medicine training programs all over the world teaching new students about European, Chinese, and Indian traditions of herbal healing.

Today’s herbalists help their patients in many ways in addition to the use of healing herbs. Herbal remedies can be made more effective through changes in diet and lifestyle habit, so an herbalist will often recommend that a patient speak with a dietician or personal trainer to maximize the benefits they gain from the herbal remedies they’re taking.

Energy healing is another common form of alternative medicine. Reiki energy healing is perhaps the most common, though a number of other forms exist, too. Reiki is said by practitioners to be a subtle universal energy that is accessible to all people for use in ways that will better their lives. Reiki healing techniques are passed on from teacher to student, often in lines of teaching that stretch back for generations. Once certain levels of proficiency have been attained, a student is then able to go and teach others in their particular Reiki tradition.

What Makes Alternative Medicine Special?

So why do people choose alternative forms of treatment instead of conventional ones? There is no single answer to this question; everyone who seeks out alternative treatments does so for very personal reasons. One reason cited most often by patients of alternative medicine is the personal attention they receive from their preferred practitioner. Conventional health clinics and hospitals can be imposing and impersonal; in contrast, many alternative clinics are designed with the emotional well-being of the patient in mind.

Alternative medicine stresses the need for a patient to address matters of health and healing on more than just a physical level. Alternative medical traditions emphasize that poor health is not confined to the physical body; there are emotional and even spiritual components that have to be considered when returning a person to health. While each herbalist, Reiki practitioner, and other alternative medical provider will have their own way of achieving this goal, they all prioritize the patient’s entire well-being.

Lawrence Reaves writes for Solstice Medince Company, an online store that sells traditional chinese medicine that helps with many different types of medical problems. For more informaton about chinese medicine click here.