Are Alternative Medical Therapies Worth the Money?

The use of alternative medicine is either scoffed at or wholeheartedly endorsed by people who have used it. But are these alternative medical practices really worth it? Read ahead to compare which therapies are right for you-and your wallet.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a ancient Chinese medical practice that using needles inserted in various places of the body to balance a person’s yin and yang. It is mainly used to ward of disease or to ease a person’s physical pain. Treatment ranges between $50-100 per treatment. Some health insurance do cover acupuncture, so check your policy.

Research has found acupuncation to be safe and effective for both the treatment of pain and nausea.

Herbs

St. John's Wort

Various herbs (like oolong tea and St. John’s Wort) have been found to have healing properties. The cost can range from $10-20 per 100 capsules. Insurance companies typically do not cover the costs of buying herbs. The jury is out on whether herbs are really a healthy supplement.

They are usually part of fads and can be dangerous if you do not do proper research on the herb. Check with your doctor first before taking.

Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a type of vibrational medicine and Naturopathy is a new age approach to nutrition and a type of vibrational medicine. For an initial consultation, you pay between $50 to 300. Some insurances do cover this type of therapy. There is no concrete evidence on the health benefits of Homeopathy, however, it does seem to have credence.

Naturopathy teaches healthy advice on eating right and living a healthy life.

Supplements

Supplements are very popular with anyone looking to include a vitamin or mineral that may be lacking in their diet. Supplements include vitamins, minerals, amino acids and oils. Supplements can range from very inexpensive or very expensive, depending on where you purchase them from and the brand. Supplements are not covered by insurance.

Doctors recommend supplements, but check with yours first to make sure it doesn’t interfere with any medication you may be taking.

Massage and Reiki

Massage and Reiki

Massage and Reiki are both practices done to promote blood flow throughout the body to promote blood flow. A half-hour long massage will cost you at least $60, while a 30- to 60-minute Reiki session will cost upwards of $100. Insurances do not typically covered massage or Reiki sessions, however both do very well to relax you.

Meditation

Meditation is a popular technique that works to clear the mind and help you focus on one goal. It can cost up to $100 per session, however, meditation can be practiced for free in your own home. Meditation isn’t covered by insurance. Many people who have participated in meditation rave about its benefits.

Chiropractic

Chiropractic is a manipulation of the spine and is done in a chiroprator’s office. It costs between $130-$150 for an initial visit and between $50 to 70 for any follow-up visits. It is often covered by insurance companies. People visit chiropractor’s offices for alleviation for sore backs.

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Ginger Root: Effective Herbal Remedy for a Variety of Medical Conditions

For many years I would go into my local supermarket, saunter right past the bin of tan, knobby, aromatic ginger root, head straight to the medicine aisle and plop a bottle of aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen into my basket. About five bucks later I’d return home, with my little bottle of side effect producers, armed and ready for the war on pain.

The ginger would have armed me just as well for about 20 cents. Without putting me at risk of an ulcer or a stroke. I just didn’t know any better in those days.

After a frightening incident in which my friend’s blood pressure shot up to 171/117 after he’d used a prescription pain med we began to wonder of the pharmaceutical companies really had our best interests at heart. Doug stopped the naproxen immediately and I began to search, in earnest, for a natural remedy for his wrist (he’d sprained it) pain.

Ginger Root

I had been toying with herbalism and nutrition therapy for years, but now was the time to get serious. I had recently lost my mom to a massive stroke. I had to find something to help my friend that would not endanger him. I pulled my reference books off the shelf and paged through them again. I scoured the net.

I kept seeing references to ginger. At first, I paid them no mind. It’s just a kitchen spice I told myself. I’ve had a jar of it in the pantry for ages. It makes a nice square cake that tastes good with a dollop of whipped cream on top of it, but a pain reliever? Naah. A natural cox II inhibitor? An anti-inflammatory?

A cure for gas, nausea and motion sickness? You’ve got to be kidding me.

I was more than skeptical, but ginger’s cheap and accessible so what did I have to lose?

I knew from my research that I could buy a root, peel the papery skin off, slice a 1/4″ round from it and just simmer it in a cup of water for ten minutes to make a spicy tea, but, as I needed to order some supplements at the time anyway, I opted to purchase dried, ground ginger root in capsules.

At $2.50 per hundred these were cheaper than most of the NSAIDs we’d been using and we could just wash two down with a glass of water. I wouldn’t always have time to make a tea. This way, Doug could take them to work if he wanted to.

When the capsules arrived, I explained to Doug what they were supposed to do. He accepted this much more readily than I had and took two right away. Half an hour later I made inquiry. He said his wrist didn’t hurt anymore. Over the next couple weeks, he continued to take two 540mg caps at the first sign of pain.

The ginger root always knocked it right out. And he noticed another thing. His back wasn’t bothering him anymore.

Doug had been suffering, on and off, with osteoarthritis in his lower back for 20 years. Because he was leery of taking mega doses of NSAIDs, he was rarely pain free during these flare-ups. The difference between the NSAIDs and the ginger root is “night and day” in his estimation. The ginger root takes the pain completely away.

I was so impressed by this that I began using it for period pain instead of ibuprofen. I have uterine fibroids which cause so much pain on days two and three of my menstrual cycle that it prevents me from sleeping. I found that the ginger root relieved my pain as effectively as ibuprofen if I started dosing on day one (two caps every six hours).

If I don’t remember to take it until my abdomen starts throbbing, I will have to add some cramp bark, yarrow or desmodium tea to my regimen in order to obtain complete relief.

Other Uses

  1. Ginger Root photoNausea: ginger is reputed to be safe and effective against morning sickness.
  2. Motion sickness: start dosing well ahead of the event. I find that this only works for me if I have at least two grams in my system before boarding the plane.
  3. Gas and indigestion: take one cap with foods known to cause distress. Alternately, if the dish is compatible, you could grate some fresh ginger into it. I do this with bean dishes and it prevent us from becoming so “musical”.
  4. Bioavailability enhancer: ginger root is one of those special herbs that helps your body to better absorb anything you take with it. In the case of other herbs you may be using for medicinal reason, this can be a desirable side effect. If you are on prescription meds, this can be something you don’t want to happen. So talk to you doctor before combining ginger with drugs.

Forms

You can make ginger tea, eat candied ginger, shred the fresh root into food or pop the capsules of dried, ground root. Some companies sell standardized capsules guarantied to contain a certain percentage volatile oil. I have used these and I have used just plain ginger. The non-standardized works just as well in my opinion.

You Can Tell By the Smell

How do you know if that root you just picked up is potent enough to treat your symptoms? Sniff it. The healing oils in ginger are very aromatic. They are also hot. Chew a little piece. If you can feel the heat, you know you’ve got the good stuff.

Dosages

One 540mg capsule for gas or indigestion. Two for pain or motion sickness. You may have to take a dose every four to six hours until enough is built up in your system to relieve your symptoms. Then you may be able to cut back to just one or two grams a day.

One of the nicer benefits of taking ginger root is that it can help your body repair itself so that you eventually need less of it. When we first started using it, we’d go through 100 caps in three weeks. Now, one bottle lasts us about three months.

Toxicity

None really. At extremely high doses (20 grams or more) it might bring on a premenopausal woman’s menses.

Warnings

Pregnant women should discuss this with their docs before beginning. Also, make sure you drink a full glass of water when taking the capsules.

Doug was used to swallowing meds without water. He tried this one night with a ginger cap on his way to work. It got stuck in his esophagus, the capsules dissolved and the ginger started to burn. Good thing there was a 7-11 nearby. He had to stop and buy a bottled water.

In the war on pain, indigestion and motion sickness, ginger root is a weapon I wouldn’t want to be without.

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How to Make Old Fashioned Toothpaste: An Alternative

A friend of mine and I were talking about the latest toothpaste recalls. As someone who is skeptical by nature, I informed her that if toothpaste ever got to a point that it would become unsafe or non-usable, that I would come up with a “plan B” of creating my own.

Homemade Toothpaste

I am well aware that will never happen, as science and technology has made that possible, however; “if” that would happen, I would come up with a secondary plan. Well in reality, on day, I decided that I wanted to experiment. I decided to attempt to make my own toothpaste. With that said, here it is…

Old Fashioned Dental Paste

  • Lemon and orange zest2 tablespoons of lemon or orange zest
  • 2 cups of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 tablespoon of vaseline
  • ½ tablespoon of vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon of salt
  • 2 drops of flavored extract

First, you want to take the lemon (or you can use orange) rinds and place them into a food processor. You want to grind the grinds (hahaha!) until they become powder. You then want to add baking soda and salt. As you are doing this, you want to combine the hydrogen peroxide, vaseline, and vinegar.

You then wanna combine everything together and blend it. As you are blending it, you want to add more baking soda. Add enough baking soda that it is thick in consistency.

Add 2 drops of flavored extract. This extract can be anything from pina colada to banana to whatever you want to use. You can then begin brushing. As far as keeping the product, it should be ok for a while, however; if you notice a change in color, texture, flavor, or smell; throw it away.

Good Luck!

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Complementary and Alternative Therapies

Many widely practiced philosophies can be utilized when a diagnosis of Cancer has been made. In this article we explore the differences between Complementary and Alternative Therapies, collectively referred to as CAM. More and more, integrative medicine is used in the treatment of many diseases.

With mainstream society becoming increasingly more self aware, many patients are opting to use complementary and alternative therapies to aid the recovery process.

How Cancer Occurs

CancerIt is considered that when the body is unwell overall, it is more likely that tumors will occur. In simple terms, the occurrence of Cancer is due to the cells of the body behaving in an unusual manner.

That is, cells naturally reproduce, but occasionally a unnatural patterning emerges where cells will begin to multiply and divide themselves in a manner which is abnormal. These cells continue to malfunction until a noticeable mass develops .This mass can be benign or malignant, the latter of which is Cancer.

Integrative Medicine: Exploring The Differences

Not to confuse the two, complementary medicine is used in conjunction with conventional treatments. Alternative therapies are those which are sought after as a replacement to the more orthodox chemical based lines of treatment. Some examples of complementary therapies are acupuncture, acupressure, massage, yoga, aromatherapy and counseling.

Alternative therapies would consist of specific dietary plans including but not limited to herbal inclusions. Psychological and spiritual healing programs are used to stimulate the immune system, whilst prayers and detoxification programs are also used frequently. These alternative methods treat the disease by taking a view of the body as a whole diseased entity.

Using Hypnotherapy As Complementary Treatment

Hypnotherapy

With regard to complementary therapy, it is worth noting that Hypnotherapy has also played a major role in the treatment of Cancer. Dr.Milton Erickson was a pioneer in pain control using Hypnosis and spent more than forty years visiting Cancer patients to assist with pain control. He was successfully able to either alleviate pain, or remove pain altogether.

Since Hypnotherapy can also be used successfully for guided imagery and deep relaxation, it stands to reason that this is an effective complementary therapy.

Increasing tolerance to stress and pain is of major benefit to the Cancer patient since it affords the patient a different perception of what is happening to them, and affords them more coherence when they would otherwise be incapable. The mind-body connection plays a significant role in the recovery process.

In Summary

Although the choices are vast, many who regularly practice yoga, meditation, self hypnosis and similar philosophies are generally better equipped mentally when dealing with such a traumatic event such as a Cancer diagnosis. The ability to relax plays a critical role in dealing with nausea associated with chemotherapy, pain, and of course obvious high stress levels.

When conventional medicine must be used, it is certainly worth exploring which of these Complementary therapies can be integrated into your care and recovery.

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Try a Natural Alternative to Sleeping Pills

From over-the-counter sleep-aids to prescription sleeping pills, many options exist for those who have trouble sleeping and staying asleep for a full eight hours each night. Unfortunately, nonprescription sleep-aids don’t always work very well, and prescription meds come with warnings that sound far worse than the sleepless nights they’re meant to remedy.

It’s best to avoid any type of sleep-aids that aren’t natural, if possible, since for some they do more harm than good. Natural alternatives to sleeping pills are safe, they have few side-effects, and they can be very effective.

Muscle Relaxation

Tense muscles can cause restlessness, and a simple relaxation technique is a natural alternative to sleeping pills. After laying down in a comfortable position, begin relaxing the body one area at a time. Begin by clearing the mind, and concentrate on relaxing the body beginning with the toes, the feet, the ankles, and so on until each muscle is fully relaxed.

You’ll feel as if you’re floating on a cloud, and you might even fall asleep before you finish mentally and physically relaxing the entire body.

Linden Tea

Linden TeaA warm cup of linden tea can be just as effective as over-the-counter remedies, and it’s one of the best natural alternatives to any type of sleeping pills. Avoid caffeine in the evening, and enjoy a cup of linden tea about an hour before going to bed. It contains natural ingredients that induce sleep, and it’s a healthy alternative to sleeping pills.

You’ll find linden tea in stores that sell natural tea and herbal products, or you can order it online.

Controlled Breathing

Deep breathing can help you fall asleep faster, and it’s a completely natural alternative to sleeping pills. Find a comfortable position for sleeping, and take slow deep breaths. Think relaxing and comforting thoughts while breathing deeply and slowly, and be sure to let it all out before taking another breath.

A few minutes of deep breathing is all it takes for some people to fall into a deep and relaxing sleep without the use of sleeping pills.

Fresh air

Fresh air has a cooling effect and heps to relax. A cool bedroom environment is key to getting a good night’s sleep. But opening the window in a big city, you let smoke and bad odors in. That’s why many people use air conditioners or portable ozone generators. They provide fresh air for you and help to sleep beter.

White Noise

An electric fan or a noise machine is a natural alternative to sleep medication, and many people find they can’t sleep without some form of white noise. Consider running a fan or a sound machine instead of sleeping in silence. You’re less likely to be awakened by every little sound, and you’ll find you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Just as the sound of a humming car motor or a washing machine lulls a baby to sleep, a fan or a noise machine will help put anyone to sleep without the use of sleeping pills.

Write Down Bedtime Thoughts

Write Down Bedtime ThoughtsNighttime brings on a flood of worries for some, and even if nothing is wrong, some people search their minds to find things to worry about. Instead of lying awake worrying or taking sleeping pills and staying awake worrying anyway, write down your thoughts in a journal. If you have something you must do the following day, write it down, and clear your mind.

Once your mind is clear you’ll be able to fall asleep without thinking of what happened, what’s going to happen, or what might happen. This is a natural way to relax the mind, and along with the aforementioned methods, it’s good alternative to sleeping pills of any kind.

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