Many forms of healing practice have evolved around the world that reflect different people and their diverse cultures and traditions. Post-industrial Western traditions have come to lead all modes of medicine in industrialized nations and relies heavily on pharmaceutical drugs and surgical interventions. But it might shock you to know that The Journal of Patient Safety in 2013 reported that between 210,000 and 440,000 patients die in the U.S. alone each year, exclusively from a preventable doctor or hospital error. That makes medical errors the third-leading cause of death in America, right after heart disease and cancer!
Meanwhile, other healing traditions rely on more natural or holistic approaches to health which take into account individual differences, emotions, habits and history. Many resurgent medical practices, deemed “complementary medicine” rely on plant-based compounds and traditional understandings of the way plant chemistry and body chemistry systems interact. But rest assured that your family doctor, unless specifically trained in one or more of these alternative medical systems, will be something ranging between unimpressed and horrified to learn that you are using anything but western drugs and treatments for what ails you. But explore them for yourself, grandma’s folk medicine wasn’t wrong, and it certainly killed fewer people than the quarter of a million Americans who die needlessly in hospitals each year.
The following are 12 alternative health practitioners your doctor doesn’t want you to know about:
Acupuncture is a branch of traditional Chinese medicine that stimulates specific points on the skin using tiny needles. Chinese medicine practitioners believe that by stimulating specific meridian points, they assist in correcting imbalances in the flow of a person’s qi (pronounced “chee”). Chi, literally translated means “breath” or “air” and may be interpreted as broadly as “life force”, or “natural energy”. Acupuncture aims to treat many ailments, most commonly, pain relief. It is rarely used alone but rather as an adjunct to other forms of treatment, such as herbs, tai chi or chi-gong. Although much maligned by mainstream medicine, many people find relief for many conditions ranging from pain and nausea to allergies, rheumatoid conditions and depression.