Many in the world of traditional medicine dismiss natural health remedies, despite the fact that many natural remedies have existed for hundreds of years, with safety and practical uses clearly documented. Sadly, most people generally blindly accept newly-discovered treatments and drugs without thought to long-term risks, side effects and potential interactions and contradictions.
Myths of Alternative Healthcare
Large pharmaceutical conglomerates dominate Western society. Companies dictate where research monies go and medications to promote based on cost analysis. Drugs are designed to quell symptoms and often ignore the root cause(s) of ailments. People have been conditioned to accept new treatments and reject natural therapies; therapies proven safe and effective for centuries. Natural health remedies are ironically referred to as alternative despite, in the not so distant history, being accepted mainstream treatments. One myth is these treatments would not have been replaced if they were effective. This is not true. We live in a society that equates anything new, medication or technology, with better. We quickly replace the old without taking the time to consider the risks of the new. In many cases, even though some new medications have impressive results, the old remedies still work just as well, possibly equal or better than the new. And despite the success of many modern treatments, many individuals are realizing the benefits of age-old remedies.
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The world of medicine in Western society is a business and, as such, pharmaceutical companies are judged on profitability. Profits come from treating symptoms and leaving the cause well enough alone. The big pharmaceutical oligopoly has resulted in the extreme cost of medications that many in our society cannot afford. The resurgence of natural health remedies is, in part, a result of individuals seeking effective and affordable options. As a result of affordability, natural methods of common ailments and first aid are becoming more popular.
Many drugs come with a long list of unwanted side effects and potential long and short-term risks. The effects of some medications are as severe as the symptoms they intend to treat. In addition, many unknowns exist even after the FDA approves a drug such as:
Contradicted use in person with certain diseases, disorders or symptoms
Interactions with other medications, including over-the-counter preparations, new and older drugs as well as potential interactions with foods, natural supplements and herbs
The lists that do exist are incomplete and patients are often left with weighing risks versus benefits. Natural health remedies do not guarantee safety, but because of the number of years many remedies have existed patients have access to greater knowledge. In addition, many remedies are aimed at treating the cause rather than merely alleviating symptoms. This involves a new way of looking at healthcare and defining wellness.
The accepted concept of health has been morphed to meet the needs of pharmaceutical companies. Health is no longer defined in terms of wellness or the absence of disease, but shifted to tolerance, living with symptoms and side effects. Natural health practitioners and remedies do not promise quick cures, but a change in lifestyle, the potential for healing and, hopefully, living disease-free. Alternative practices recognize that every body is different and no one pill or herb or supplement will work exactly the same on every person. One's state of health is not stagnant, but an ever-changing, dynamic moving toward an optimum potential.
Healthy living is an action. Wellness involves eating healthy and sleeping well; it involves finding the ideal supplement(s) to treat a condition; it involves a conscious commitment to healthy lifestyles and behaviors. Wellness is different for every person, but the goal is always to achieve the greatest potential for functioning within a body's limits. Everyone has the potential for wellness; even a person with chronic illness or disability can achieve a desirable level of wellness if he/she is living life to his/her full physical potential.
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Many common diseases/disorders can be prevented. Diets rich in antioxidants can protect against heart disease and cancer; exercise and a healthy diet can decrease diabetes, heart disease and stroke and make the immune system stronger. In addition, lack of sleep and high levels of stress can cause and exacerbate many physical conditions. Although a healthy diet and supplements can decrease the probability of disease, be wary of any alternative practitioner or natural remedy that claims to cure.
A variety of alternative treatments exist including massage and energy work, nutritional counseling, homeopathy, aromatherapy, supplements such as vitamins, minerals, nutrients as well as herbal tinctures, oils and teas. Natural products are meant to promote wellness, lessen symptoms and focus on the cause of disease. Although many remedies are safe, individuals should consult a qualified professional able to recommend a course of treatment as well as inform you of any potential precautions and/or contradictions.
Natural health remedies provide a viable alternative to allopathic medicine, where drugs are developed and prescribed based on monetary gain rather than wellness. Alternative treatments are not without side effects; however, many remedies have existed for hundreds of years with documentation on potential side effects and interactions as well as treatable conditions. More and more people are turning back toward natural health methods, timeworn substances that are affordable and effective.