Complementary alternative medicine is undoubtedly popular and I believe (deeply) that it has a place in our overall health. Also known as holistic or natural medicine, this field of study has garnered a lot more attention in the last five years. Not all of it is good and patients must be able to determine if specific aspects of complementary alternative medicine really works for them.
It seems we’re now being inundated with “miracles” and “cures” at every turn. As a true believer in living as cleanly and organically as I (and you) can, the new trends can be frustrating. Some of them can even be dangerous.
Many so-called experts leave the word complementary off and that’s misleading. To understand how you can use natural techniques in your own daily life, you need an accurate representation of what it is.
The very word complementary means to “complete, make better, work well together, or combine in such a way as to enhance or emphasize the qualities of each other.”
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) scientifically proven to work – meaning clinical trials have been conducted with human beings in non-medical modalities – is not disavowed by most medical doctors as some would have you believe.
In fact, when natural methods are proven to work (and can be replicated), they’re moved into mainstream medical practices.
I’ll use acupuncture as an example. Several clinical trials found this ancient modality effective in treating the side effects of chemotherapy such as pain, nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, and lightheadedness. One study notes that the mainstream medical community endorses the use of CAM techniques between 48-83% of the time among cancer patients.
Acupuncture is also discussed as something to consider for pain management on the American Cancer Society website alongside biofeedback therapy, massage, and hypnosis.
The mass majority of doctors want you to get better. They aren’t monsters the way they can sometimes be depicted. Being cautious about alternative medicine doesn’t mean they’re trying to kill their patients. Not all doctors are greedy shills for the pharmaceutical industry who don’t care about their patients.
Are there some? Of course! The human gene pool is diverse and you’re going to have some bad apples in every industry on the planet.
I’ve been working within the health industry for many years. During that time, I’ve seen a lot of “next big things” come across my desk. I’ve watched sites evolve from helpful and hopeful to people looking to make a quick buck. What were once valuable places to talk about remedies that worked for real people in real situations has become slick and practiced.
Does alternative medicine really work?
Here at Daily Superfood Love, I write articles meant to inform average people like me. Those who might be struggling with weight or depression or health issues that can frighten and confuse you. I try to always stay true to the message that your health is in your hands.
Not all sites are “diligent” in the information they present and I’ve started to see a lot of similarities between alternative health sites and televangelists. I don’t like seeing people fleeced because they’re made to feel afraid.
Fear is counterproductive to good health. A place of fear is not a good way to make important decisions about your health and your life.A place of fear is not a good way to make important decisions about your health and your life.Click To Tweet
CAM and Common Sense
Every expert in the scientific and medical community agrees that the primary risks of all the major diseases have several common threads.
Inflammation is seen as a root cause of most major diseases. For heart health in particular, Harvard Health Publications states, “Inflammation sets the stage for heart attacks, most strokes, peripheral artery disease, and even vascular dementia, a common cause of memory loss.”Inflammation is seen as a root cause of most major diseases.Click To Tweet
They go on to explain that the pharmaceutical companies are coming up with many anti-inflammatory drugs to treat this immune response gone wrong but you absolutely can get inflammation under control on your own by carefully choosing what you eat, not smoking, exercising, and maintaining a healthy bodyweight.
That’s a solid outline of complementary alternative medicine that really works.
Holistic medicine really boils down to combining common sense care of your body with natural avenues to improve your chances of remaining healthy and strong all the years of your life. It isn’t a “miracle” and it’s not going to work for you at all if you don’t love the body you live in.
In regards to your mental health, helpful techniques have been circulating in mainstream care for at least a decade. The benefits of yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and massage legitimately help people from all walks of life, no matter their current level of health. They are proven ways to lower stress (and the inflammation stress causes), improve sleep, and even balance mood.
Mayo Clinic has the following to say about CAM therapies, “Many conventional doctors practicing today didn’t receive training in CAM or integrative medicine, so they may not feel comfortable making recommendations or addressing questions in this area.”
They go on to explain, “One reason for the lack of research in alternative treatments is that large, carefully controlled medical studies are costly. Trials for conventional therapies are often funded by big companies that develop and sell drugs. Fewer resources are available to support trials of CAM therapies.”
CAM therapies are meant to be integrated with your medical care. With horrifying stories in the news lately about parents who don’t seek emergency care for a sick child, I’d like to drive that point home.
I personally limit my antibiotic intake because every reputable source confirms that the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria is primarily caused by overuse of antibiotics. I eat grass-fed meat and dairy, I choose organic whenever possible, and I use natural therapies to try to keep myself well day by day.
Boosting your immune system, improving brain cognition, lowering stress, and feeling better inside and out are the perfect springboard for complementary alternative medicine that really works. That’s where it is strong. That’s where they make measurable improvements in overall health and quality of life.
The World Health Organization (WHO) unequivocally states that obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and dental disease have a firm foundation in poor nutrition and negative lifestyle choices (such as smoking or lack of exercise).
Prevention is always better in the long term.
However, it is important to note that CAM is meant to be “in addition to” (not replace) medical care. If you already have a serious condition or disease, let your doctor help you. Don’t try to go it alone. Discuss options and bring up CAM therapies you’ve read about or been using yourself. Communication is the key.
There is no doubt that chemotherapy, radiation, and cholesterol drugs have devastating side effects and long-term risks. However, rather than being afraid, take an active role in your recovery. Be part of the conversation. Be part of your medical journey.
No one would ever tell you to blindly follow a doctor’s advice that seemed to go against your own intuition or common sense. That same standard should apply to CAM.
Superfoods may prevent many diseases or even slow the progression of disease because that makes sense. It’s the fuel your body uses to produce and repair tissue, operate your powerful immune army, and boost the efficiency of your bodily systems.Superfoods can prevent many diseases or even slow the progression of disease! #EatYourSuperfoodsClick To Tweet
They don’t “cure” disease. They aren’t “miracles.”
That’s why I stress the importance of change now. Get your body accustomed to good habits and good nutrition. Make it strong enough to fight for you today and decades into the future. If you get sick, maintain those habits because good nutrition and lifestyle practices can only help you fight disease that ravages your body.
Does complementary alternative medicine really work?
The answer is yes…if you do the work as well. If you work with your doctor. If you love your body so it can love you back.