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Alternative Medicine Tips
  1. If you are currently taking any drug—prescription or over-the-counter—that your doctor has recommended, don't stop! Alternative treatments may help you need less of the drug or even stop taking it eventually, but never change the dose or stop taking a drug on your own! Always talk to your doctor before starting an alternative treatment, and always talk to your doctor about changing your medication.
  2. Alternative medicine takes a wellness-based, holistic approach to your health, looking at you as a whole person and not just a group of symptoms.
  3. The goal of most alternative treatments is to treat the underlying problem by activating your own self-healing abilities.
  4. Alternative therapies avoid drugs and surgery and focus on nutrition, stress reduction, herbs, and other gentle treatments.
  5. Always ask an alternative health provider about his or her education. If you think the practitioner went to a, shall we say, uncompetitive school or might have a mail-order degree (you can buy these for your pets), look up the program in Accredited Institutions of Postsecondary Education, a reference book that's found in most libraries. If the school or program isn't there, find another practitioner.
  6. It's important to feel comfortable with your practitioner, but sometimes the two of you just won't hit it off. In some cases, you may have to try several practitioners before you find one you feel compatible with.
  7. Most alternative health providers have a pretty good understanding of the health-insurance maze and can advise you on whether their services are usually covered. Even so, check with your insurer first. If you're turned down, ask about the procedure for appealing the decision. Be persistent and provide as much evidence as you can for the value of the treatment.
  8. Naturopathy or naturopathic medicine treats health problems by using the body's natural ability to heal. The terms come from the word natural, as in the methods used, and –path, the Greek word for "disease." Modern naturopathy includes a wide range of therapies, such as herbs, homeopathy, acupuncture, and nutrition.
  9. After a few days of naturopathic treatment, you might feel worse, not better. You're going through a perfectly normal healing crisis. A healing crisis usually lasts for only a day or two?after that, you'll probably start to feel much better.
  10. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is the system of medicine that has been used in China and other parts of Asia, including Japan and Korea, for thousands of years. It's also sometimes called Oriental medicine.
  11. Qi (sometimes written chi or ch'i and pronounced chee) is the invisible but fundamental energy that flows through everything and everyone in the universe. It's usually translated as "energy," but Qi is more than that. It's the life force of all living things, but it's also the energy found in all nonliving things.
  12. In traditional Chinese medicine, there are 28 basic pulse patterns. Each one reveals something about how your Qi is flowing through your body. If your pulse is rapid, for example, it means you're suffering from internal heat; a slow pulse, on the other hand, means internal cold. A wiry pulse-one that feels taut and stringlike-means liver disharmony from stagnant Qi.
  13. Qigong is usually translated as "energy cultivation" or "energy development." More loosely, it can be translated as "energy flow." Qigong exercises keep your Qi flowing.
  14. To restore the proper balance and unblock your Qi, your Oriental medicine practitioner (OMP) may recommend acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and dietary changes.
  15. TCM can be helpful for health problems such as chronic pain, menstrual difficulties, arthritis, allergies, skin conditions, digestive problems, and chronic fatigue.

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