Alternative treatments complement traditional care to help you reach your health and wellness goals.
For years holistic care has been practiced separately from traditional care. But in today’s world, it is more common to use both forms of care to achieve health goals.
Holistic care is non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical by nature, and is also referred to as alternative medicine and natural healing. Holistic practitioners are certified in specialty areas and are trained to provide symptom management for chronic conditions in ways that differ, yet complement conventional care. Unlike traditional care, holistic care looks at an individual’s overall physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being to determine treatment.
Alternative medicine comes in a variety of forms, the most popular being acupuncture and medical massage.
Acupuncture therapy is an ancient form of Chinese medicine that involves the placement of thin metal needles into the skin to stimulate specific areas of the body known as “acupuncture points” to achieve pain relief and improve overall wellness.
What can it treat?
Acupuncturists believe that these acupuncture points correspond to different body organs or systems. For example, needles may be placed in the hand to treat back pain. Practitioners use body “maps” to target specific areas of discomfort. Acupuncture needles are regulated by the FDA and are so thin you can barely feel them. Treatment is completely customized to your specific need, from the number of needles used to the frequency of visits.
Along with relieving pain, acupuncture also promotes increased energy levels, relaxation, body detoxification and increased resistance to illness. Treatment generally ends when your pain subsides or your health goals are met. If you are considering acupuncture therapy consult your family doctor to be sure it complements current treatment plans.
Medical massage is the direct application of pressure to a specific soft tissue or muscle groups to achieve a certain medical outcome and improve overall health and well-being. Different from a pampering massage, medically necessary massages are prescribed to patients as a form of treatment.
What can it treat?
Massage therapists believe that medical massage supports healing, boosts energy, reduces recovery time after an injury, eases pain and enhances mood. While some people receive massages solely for relaxation purposes, more individuals are seeking massage therapy to assist with medical conditions. According to a survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association, 74 percent of consumers agree that massage therapy should be considered a form of health care.
While getting a massage can feel luxurious, massage therapy can also be a powerful addition to your health care regimen with more than 100 techniques that can be used to meet your health goals. Your massage therapist will work with you to determine the best technique to fit your health need. Only massages deemed medically necessary by a therapist, and approved by your health insurance are eligible for coverage with certain health plans. You can expect a massage therapist to use their fingertips, knuckles, hands, forearms or elbows during the treatment. A massage oil or lotion might also be used to decrease friction and promote muscle relaxation. With so many options, you are bound to find the right treatment to achieve your health goals.
Holistic care is not used to diagnose or cure chronic conditions, but it does supplement traditional care by treating the whole person. The therapeutic effects of massage and acupuncture are cumulative, so the more often you receive treatment, the better you will feel and the more quickly your body will respond.
If you are interested in either of these services, work with your family doctor to see if holistic care is the right option for you. Holistic care provides a variety of treatment options to suit your individual health goals. Knowing more about your options allows you to make informed decisions about your health care.