Alternative medicine is a term given to approaches that differ from more mainstream and conventional medical
practices. Most often you will hear conventional medical practices referred to as Western Medicine.
Alternative medicine, on the other hand, is a fairly broad umbrella term which covers many different methods of
treatment such as acupuncture, homeopathy, Chinese herbal medicine, and Ayurvedic.
TCM is an example of alternative medicine. TCM, short for Traditional Chinese Medicine, is a broad term for
therapies which include massage, diet therapy, herbalism and acupuncture. It's based on the philosophy that having
good health revolves around the correct flow of "chi" (the energy of the body). Chi flows through our bodies in
channels, known as meridians. In turn, these meridians contain hundreds of points which link the different organs
and functions of the body together. You can help increase the chi in your body by looking after yourself with
healthy eating habits and exercise.
Traditional Chinese medicine is often used for skin complaints such as acne and eczema oriented conditions, but
it's also used for resolving a variety of other diseases and disorders. Treatments can vary dramatically. For
instance, a massage is completely different from acupuncture, which is completely different from using Chinese
In the United States, Chinese herbal medicine is already being prescribed to AIDS and HIV sufferers. In fact,
research papers published in China have concluded that the use of Chinese herbs in the treatment of HIV and AIDS
has reduced the virus symptoms and increased the survival times. Elsewhere, Chinese herbs are being used as a
treatment for malaria, with others investigating the possibility of using both Chinese herbs and acupuncture to
reduce the side effects of chemotherapy for cancer patients. It all looks rather promising.
Most important, as with any form of alternative medicine, ensure your practitioner is properly qualified and not
a bogus practitioner in disguise. TCM is a very powerful medicinal system with an ancient lineage and as such it
needs to be treated with utmost respect. Cases have arisen where frauds have posed as bogus doctors. There have
also been cases where bona fide doctors, especially here in the West, have been prescribing Chinese herbal
treatments without being properly qualified to do so, and without knowing the full power of the medicine they are
Ayurveda, another popular alternative discipline, is an ancient traditional medicine system that originates from
India. It's often considered a lifestyle, covering all aspects of health from nutrition and surgery. The main aim
of Ayurveda is prevention. The ancient texts tell us that humans should be able to live to be 100 years old and
that all of these years should be lived in good health, both physically and mentally. Ayurveda does not accept that
getting old equals failing health and or a poor quality of life.
In Ayurveda, there's an emphasis on trying to achieve a positive and equal balance between mind and body.
Ayurvedic practitioners often strive to find health issues in their early stages and to deal with them before they
become more serious.
Ayurveda treatments may include diet, relaxation, massage, and even herbal preparations to be taken orally. The
philosophical foundation is quite complex. It can take some practitioners many years before they can fully grasp
and thoroughly appreciate it. Ayurvedic teachings state that each atom is made up of five elements: its weight
comes from earth; its cohesion comes from watcxer; its energy comes from fire; its motion comes from air; the
spaces between the particles are made of ether. And so, in this way, in Ayurveda, the entire human body is
comprised of these same five elements. An excess of one or more of these could throw the body into imbalance and in
doing so lead to illness.
Throughout this site, you'll have an opportunity to thoroughly explore both of these alternative medicine
disciplines, as well as acupuncture, homeopathy, and others.
General Alternative Health Topics