Mya Care Blogger 08 Aug 2019

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) are medical treatments that are considered out of the ordinary from traditional medicine in the West. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has reported that around 30% of Americans receive alternative treatments. CAM prioritizes not only the patient’s specific health issues but the entire body, mind, and well-being of the individual, including social factors. 

People have their reasons for choosing alternative medicine over the conventional. Perhaps they are open to new things and want more options, or they no longer trust conventional methodologies. Some could be following in the footsteps of their ancestors and believe their personal beliefs. Whatever the reason, CAM has its benefits, as well as the close attention of many in the scientific community who may not have much faith. Therefore, it is advised that patients do their research before diving in because of the expansive grey area surrounding these forms of healing.

Alternative Medicine Categories

There are five main categories within CAM: Alternative Medical Systems, Mind-body Techniques, Biologically Based Therapies, Energy Therapies, and Manipulative and Body-based Therapies. The alternative medical systems consist of Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Ayurveda, and more. Mind-body techniques include music therapy, meditation, Hypnotherapy, yoga, art therapy, and more. Biologically-based treatments involve diets, dietary supplements, herbals, and mega-vitamins. Energy therapies work with Qi Gong, Reiki, therapeutic touch, and Prana. Finally, manipulative and body-based therapies consist of chiropractic, acupressure, osteopathy, Trager approach, massage therapy, and more. 


The practice of acupuncture began thousands of years ago and is considered traditional Chinese medicine. Those that are involved with the practice believe that there exist more than a thousand acupuncture locations/points in the body that each sit on a meridian. A meridian is an energy channel that is a part of the body’s Qi (life energy). When there is a disturbance with the flow of energy, then health problems arise and acupuncture is a treatment option to restore that flow. Extremely thin needles are inserted into these meridian points. 

Scientists do not yet know much about acupuncture, but one theory is that it causes the body to release endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving chemicals. The most popular uses of acupuncture are anxiety, depression, migraines, arthritis, insomnia, addictions, nausea, and stress

Ayurvedic Medicine (Ayurveda)

Ayurveda is one of the oldest holistic treatments that traces its origin back to India over 3000 years ago. It is believed that fighting diseases is counterproductive to the goal of promoting health through the mind, body, and soul. Ayurveda followers believe that everything in the Universe is connected and that every human is composed of space, water, fire, earth, and air. These elements form what is known as the three Doshas (life energies): Vata Dosha (space & air), Pitta dosha (fire & water), and Kapha dosha (water & earth). Ayurvedic practitioners believe that health is dependent on the balance of your doshas. This is similar to some alternative medicine in Thailand that involves energy and spiritual health.


Homeopathic medicine is a German system that was created around 200 years ago. It follows two principles: 

1. “Like cures like” – Diseases can be cured by a substance that causes similar symptoms in healthy people. 

2. “Law of minimum dose” – The lower the dose, the more significant effect of the medicine. 


Chiropractors deal with the spine and its association with the nervous system. There are two main principles:

1. Misalignment or structural problems with the spine affects the nervous system.

2. Chiropractic sessions can help fix spinal issues, decrease pain and pressure on the tissue, and ultimately improve health overall. 

Applied Kinesiology (AK) 

Applied Kinesiology, also known as Muscle Testing, is an alternative treatment that diagnoses health issues based on other parts of the body. For example, a weak bicep would correlate to problems with the spleen. It is believed that every part of the body affects another in either a direct or indirect manner. 

Finding a suitable alternative medicine practitioner can be a difficult task. Here are some points to consider. 

  • Verifying credentials is a good idea for any healthcare provider. Check their education, training, licensing, certification, and other critical factors which vary as per the country and the discipline. 

  • Make sure that they are willing to dispense coordinated care along with the regular healthcare service provider, as the communication and corporation will help administer more holistic care and treatment. 

  • It is essential to inform all your health care providers about the alternative medicine approach so that they all can work together to strengthen your overall well-being. 

  • Since not every insurance company covers the alternative medicine approach in their policies, you need to make sure that you choose that healthcare insurance provider who does. Furthermore, many such coverage providers will cover your alternative medicine expense but with specific terms and conditions. 

To search for the best healthcare providers worldwide, please use the Mya Care search engine.

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