Alternative Therapies

The definition of alternative therapies, or alternative medicine, are therapies that are said to have therapeutic effects but are refuted or impossible to prove by traditional medicine. Alternative therapies are not part of modern science-based medicine.

Alternative therapies have grown in popularity among the population in many countries as they seek solutions to problems that traditional medicine faces poorly. They often suggest that alternative medicine and complementary therapies be used in conjunction with functional medical treatment, in the belief that it improves the efficiency of the treatment. In some of them, their effectiveness has not been consistently proven, so they are not recognized at an institutional level in many countries.

The problem between alternative therapies and medicine is minimized when they are used after exhausting all therapeutic options. Some patients believe that alternative therapies can help in chronic diseases for which medicine does not offer solutions, even the doctor himself suggests to his patients alternatives when he can not offer a treatment. Alternative therapies are multiple and varied, but we are only going to review the most frequently used by patients to improve their quality of life.

Types of alternative therapies

Natural Products

Often sold as a dietary supplement, natural products can include herbs, probiotics, antioxidants, chemicals and a variety of other substances. 20% of adults have ever used a supplement.

Body and mind therapies

These alternative therapies usually involve the use of specific techniques to increase the mind's ability to influence body function and improve health. Hypnosis is used to promote weight loss, relieve back pain, and quit smoking. Meditation is a therapy that can benefit people who struggle with chronic pain. Yoga is often practiced as a form of exercise, and as a means of reducing stress, it is also used as a therapy of the mind. In fact, some research indicates that yoga can help manage conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, migraines, and depression. Other types of therapies include biofeedback or music therapy.

Alternative medical systems

Alternative medicine uses alternative therapies and healing practices of alternative medical systems, such as homeopathy and naturopathy. It also include traditional medical systems such as Ayurveda or traditional Chinese medicine. Within traditional Chinese medicine, there are a number of therapies such as acupuncture, acupressure, and herbal medicine. Alternative therapies - What are they, types, what are they?

Manipulative therapies

This type of alternative therapies is based on the manipulation and movement of one or more parts of the body. Two of the most popular are chiropractic and massage. In some cases, manipulative methods have the objective of changing their movement habits. The Alexander technique involves relearning basic movements to reduce muscle tension. Other types of manipulative ways focus on the application of specific treatments to address health problems such as reflexology and osteopathy.

Energy Therapies

Energy therapies are generally based on the idea that energy fields surround and penetrate the human body. Energy therapies usually try to manipulate magnetic fields by applying pressure or by placing their hands in these fields. While the existence of such energy fields has not been scientifically proven, there is some evidence that they may have beneficial effects to help control chronic pain and lower blood pressure. Reiki can help reduce pain, promote healthy sleep and reduce anxiety.

What are the alternative therapies

There are more than 100 alternative therapy systems worldwide. Each region has its own traditional system of health and medical care. Examples of the most popular alternative therapies are Ayurveda, homeopathy, naturopathy, yoga, acupuncture, magnetotherapy, shiatsu, herbal medicine, meditation, aromatherapy or Reiki. Then we talk about some of them.


They are a series of procedures that stimulate specific points in the body. The best-known variety consists in penetrating the skin with fine controlled needles stimulating specific points. Some studies consider it useful for chronic pain and depression, but the evidence in all cases is confusing.


Aromatherapy uses essential oils to promote healing. In this alternative therapy oils can be inhaled, massaged into the skin or taken orally, and each has a specific purpose. Studies suggest that aromatherapy may reduce pain, depression, and anxiety, but more research is needed to fully determine its uses and benefits.


Ayurvedic medicine originated in India and practitioners use a variety of techniques, including herbs, massage, and specialized diets, with the intention of balancing the body, mind, and spirit to promote general well-being. It is difficult to determine how effective it is as a treatment system but it was used for several centuries. Evolving throughout its history, Ayurveda remains an influential system of medicine in South Asia.


Detoxification is an approach that claims to rid the body of accumulated harmful toxins that supposedly exert a negative effect on individual health. The idea of ​​a good detox plan is to eat pure and natural foods that will help the function of the lymph, kidneys, and liver.


It is a practice of folk medicine based on the use of plants and plant extracts. It is also known as botanical medicine.


Homeopathy is based on the principle that a substance that causes adverse reactions when taken in large doses can be used in small amounts to treat the same symptoms. In these alternative therapies, homeopaths collect background information about patients before prescribing a very dilute substance, which stimulates the body's natural healing systems. There is some clinical evidence that homeopathy is more effective than placebos, although more research is needed.


It is based on the healing power of nature and seeks to understand the cause of a condition by exploring its mental, physical and spiritual manifestations in a patient. It involves a variety of treatment techniques including nutrition, behavioral changes, herbal medicine, homeopathy, and acupuncture.


It involves applying pressure to specific areas on the feet, hands or ears. The theory is that these points correspond to different organs and bodily systems and pressing them is believed to positively affect these organs and the general health of a person. It is used for diseases such as anxiety, cancer, diabetes, kidney function and asthma. Some studies have found that reflexology can reduce fatigue and improve sleep.

Chinese traditional medicine

It includes a range of traditional medical practices originating in China. It is considered a complementary or alternative medical system in much of the western world while remaining a primary form of care in most of Asia.


Also known as hydrotherapy, this alternative therapy involves the use of water for therapeutic purposes and is based on the idea that water benefits the skin and can treat a range of conditions from acne to pain, swelling and anxiety.


Within alternative therapies, biofeedback techniques allow people to control bodily processes that normally occur involuntarily, such as heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension and skin temperature, in order to improve conditions including high blood pressure, headaches and chronic pain. Patients work with a biofeedback therapist to learn these relaxation techniques and mental exercises.


Chiropractic focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, including pain in the back, neck, joints, and head. The most common procedure performed by chiropractors is the manipulation that applies a controlled force to the hypomotor joints. The adjustments in the affected area are intended to restore mobility by allowing tissues to improve.

Alternative psychological therapies

Within the alternative therapies, there are some more focused on the psychological field that do not focus on the body.

Artistic therapy

It is from the 1940s; art therapy uses the creative process to help explore and reconcile their emotions, develop self-awareness, reduce anxiety, deal with traumas, manage behavior, and increase self-esteem. Artistic therapy is particularly useful in cases of trauma because it provides patients with a visual language to use if they lack the words to express their feelings. Several studies support the effectiveness of therapy, finding that it can help rehabilitate people with mental disorders.

Movement therapy

Movement therapy within alternative therapies involves the therapeutic use of the movement to access creativity and emotions and promote emotional, mental, and physical health and has been used as a complement to Western medicine since 1940. Based on the interconnection between the body, the mind, the therapy encourages self-exploration through the expressive movement. It can improve symptoms of depression and promote health and well-being.


Mindfulness is the basic human capacity to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not too reactive or overwhelmed by what is happening around us. While full consciousness is innate, it can be cultivated through proven techniques walking, standing, and using meditation in short pauses that we insert in daily life and combine the practice of meditation with other activities, such as yoga or sports. When we are conscious, we reduce stress, we improve performance, we achieve discernment and awareness through the observation of our own mind, and we increase our attention towards the welfare of others.


In hypnotherapy, you are guided to a state of deep relaxation to silence the conscious mind and allow the subconscious mind to rise to the surface. The therapist suggests ideas or changes in lifestyle to the patient. The idea is that these intentions will be planted in the person's psyche and lead to positive changes after the session. The therapy has been used pain control method. It has also been shown to help with relaxation and stress management, and it can also help treat a variety of psychological, emotional and physical disorders, overcome addictions and phobias to end a stutter and reduce pain.

Laughter therapy

This alternative therapy is based on the benefits of laughter, which include reducing depression and anxiety, boosting immunity, and promoting a positive mood. The therapy uses humor to promote health and well-being and alleviate physical and emotional stress or pain and has been used by doctors to help patients cope with pain. It can reduce depression and insomnia and improve sleep quality.

Light therapy

Known to treat seasonal affective disorder began to gain popularity in the 80s. The therapy consists of controlled exposure to intense light levels by fluorescent bulbs located behind a diffusion screen. Bright light therapy can be useful in treating depression, eating disorders, bipolar depression, and sleep disorders.

Music therapy

There are many health benefits including stress and increasing pain thresholds. In a music therapy session, accredited therapists use musical interventions to help clients access their creativity and emotions and individualized client goals, which often revolve around managing stress, relieving pain, expressing feelings, improving memory and communication, and promote mental and physical well-being in general.

Primary therapy

They believe that mental illness can be eradicated by re-experiencing and expressing the pains of childhood. The methods involved include screaming, crying, or anything else that is needed to eliminate the pain. Repelling painful memories emphasizes our psyches, potentially causing neuroses and physical illnesses including ulcers, sexual dysfunction, hypertension, and asthma. Primary therapy seeks to help patients reconnect with repressed feelings at the root of their problems, express them, and let them go so that these conditions can be resolved.

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