Alternative medicine is the use of treatments and therapies that are not standard treatments in Western medicine, and have usually not been proven through the scientific method in controlled trials. Some scientific minds attribute success of some of these methods to the placebo effect. A more complete list of alternative medicine techniques can be found on Wikipedia.
Aromatherapy uses scent to achieve healing and stress relief. Essential oils are commonly used in aromatherapy.
Chiropractic medicine involves the manipulation of joints and bones in the body by an experienced chiropractic practitioner. Chiropractic medicine is coming into more acceptance among standard medical practitioners for certain conditions, such as back pain. Extreme care should be taken when manipulating certain areas of the body, particularly the neck area, as miscalculations here can cause permanent damage.
Reiki is a type of massage. Shiatsu is another type of massage. Massage is useful in relieving stress and soothing sore muscles.
This type of therapy is practiced by certain religions. It can be dangerous in certain medical conditions when substituted for the care of a physician. Prayer, affirmations, and psychic surgery are different methods of faith healing.
The idea behind homeopathy is that diluted substances can have certain healing effects. Homeopaths believe that the more diluted the substance, the stronger its effect. Bach flower remedies are an example of homeopathic therapy.
In this type of alternative medicine, needles are inserted in the patient at key points to heal ailments.
In this type of alternative medicine, certain plant materials or plant extracts are used to treat patients. Herbs are common in Oriental medicine. Teas that are reputed to have healing properties are an example of herbal medicine. Due to the way herbs and supplements are currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States, herbal supplements sold over the counter are not required to have a specific strength or content of active ingredients, and may vary in potency from brand to brand. Herbal supplements sold in the United States may not advertise their possible benefits on the bottle, but are regulated like food products. Some practitioners of herbal medicine collect their own herbs from the wild for personal use. One hazard of collecting herbs from the wild is avoiding chemicals that may have been sprayed on the plants by landowners.
In this type of alternative medicine, the patient is usually put under hypnosis by a trained practitioner. Alternatively, the patient may use autosuggestion as a self-hypnosis technique.