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Alternative Therapies

In his book, Healing and the Mind, Bill Moyers states, “Touch is medicine’s real professional secret.” Multiple cultures around the globe have recognized and used the therapeutic benefits of touch for centuries. In 400 BC, Hippocrates described the art of rubbing as an integral part of medicine. Touch consoles, relaxes, stimulates circulation, deepens breathing, relieves joint pain, releases endorphins, and improves sleep.

The term alternative therapy means that you use the method in place of traditional medical treatment. The term complementary therapy means that you use the method in addition to traditional medical treatment. These types of therapies encompass a wide range of methods and beliefs from acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage, and biofeedback to the practice of yoga and Zen meditation.

The practice of alternative therapies is becoming more popular and mainstream in Western culture. Although Eastern medicine has used these practices for centuries, their use in Western medicine declined during the 20th century. The growth of the pharmaceutical industry along with a surge in the development and the widespread distribution of medicinal drugs contributed to this decline.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), we can divide complementary and alternative therapies into five major domains. These five domains include:

  • Alternative medical systems
  • Mind-body interventions
  • Biologically based therapies
  • Manipulative and body-based methods
  • Energy therapies

Page Author: Kim Ballard


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