General Question

tw0k1ngs's avatar

Do alternative medicines and therapies actually work?

Asked by tw0k1ngs (56points) September 15th, 2007 from iPhone

Has anyone had any personal experience?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

10 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Question is too vague. Depends on alternative modalities and what your problems are. Can you narrow yr question down? Over the years I have tried meditation, back school, psychotherapy, accupressure, accupuncture, hypnotherapy, yoga, mind-body work, tai-chi, chi gong and a nutritionist.

Some were useful, some entertaining, some a waste of time. My issues were stress, anxiety, grief and lower back pain. I use the yoga breathing and stretches now primarily. My sis loves Tai chi, chi going. I hated them.. Nutritionist was great initially. I lost a lot of weight, but he went thru a bad period, gained about 80 lbs and died suddenly of a heart-attack. Hard to know how to think about that.

hossman's avatar

My dad was a chiropractor and I was very much spoiled by being able to have a treatment any time I wanted it. It was great relief from pain, injury, stress, etc., and was good for a general feeling of well-being. That said, I’ve been to two massage therapists and three chiropractors since my dad was no longer able to give treatments, and none of them did very much for me at all. Evidently, I’m big enough and non-limber enough that it is very difficult for a chiropractor to have much effect on me.

I have also had some success from accupressure, martial arts, and what I can only refer to as self-developed mental discipline. None of them as “cures” but more as aides to the release of stress and general well-being.

gailcalled's avatar

Oh yeah, forgot to add chiropractic, osteopathy (disliked both of them) and Swedish massage, which I found relaxing and effective…an hour session was the right length for me.

osakarob's avatar

I agree that your question is a bit vague. Do you have any particular therapy in mind? Are you suffering from specific ailments? I personally go to a massage therapist every week for a massage. There is no doubt in my mind that it helps with stress reduction, flexibility, and removes the chronic headaches that many of us get from being hunched over a computer all day.
I have also used an osteopath for specific injuries. Here in Japan, these alternative therapies are not terribly alternative but rather a basic tennant of “preventative medicine.” (There isn’t a lot of pill popping in countries that promote preventative alternatives I would guess.)

The entire field of “alternative therapies” would take volumes to discuss. Isn’t Harvard Medical School investing about a $1billion to research various therapies?

joli's avatar

I’ve used acupuncture a few times in the past and it works really well for me. I found a wonderful woman who was a Medical Doctor in China before she came here. I had heel pain for a year in one foot, and it was completely gone after one treatment from her. She uses needles and heat only, not that crazy noisy gadget some of the others hook you up to.

I tried accupressure prior to that for an upper back problem several times but wondered if the three day healing period wouldn’t happen on it’s own. It did, so I never went back.

I have my own alternative treatment for myself which is free. I rest, relax, stretch, and exercise everyday in ways that don’t tax my joints. I try to ballance my diet and don’t eat crap. Nonethless, stuff happens, (usually when I get bigheaded and push the limits), so when I end up in pain I look to the alternatives before calling a regular medical doctor.

Disease is, “Dis-ease”, your body or mind is at odds with itself. Once you discover the reason you can follow a natural path to repair. The thing is you have to follow the pain, not cover it up with medications that make you dopey. I would go to a therapist for anxiety, not the pharmacy. Not that there isn’t a time when those medical doctors will save your life.

A great book for prevention is Body Mechanics.

hossman's avatar

I agree with joli that it can be a problem with alternative therapy when people use it when standard, Western therapies might be appropriate. Sometimes, chemistry is the problem, and chemistry is the solution.

itsnotmyfault1's avatar

There was a really good mythbusters episode on how to cure sea sickness
one of the ways that worked was an alternative method
i think it involved garlic.

kylecnj's avatar

It’s impossible to simply say they work. Different methods work for some while they cause even more problems for others.

nerfmissile's avatar

I asked the same question and did a 140 article research project to answer it, via 75% of the complementary and alternative (CAM) articles I randomly selected were found effective for the treatment and prevention of twenty common health conditions. The remainder were found either inconclusive or conclusively ineffective.

So the question is not so much whether any of them work (the answer is that 3/4 of them in PubMed work) ... the question is which ones, and to what degree, and for which conditions, and for which people, and whether the methodologies are preventive or treatment types. Also, standardizing dosages for herbal therapies is difficult.

sks485's avatar

I found massage therapy to be very effective in the past. It really fixed my back problems after a car accident. Chiropractic also seems to work well after I was in a car accident.. Acupuncture did not work at all for me but I still think it will work for some people. I also tried homeopathy which yielded a positive result as well. I would think that some alternative therapies certainly do work.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther