Alternative Medicine Essay 11

2355 WordsJul 28, 200210 Pages
Alternative Medicine Throughout recorded history, people of various cultures have relied on what Western medical practitioners today call alternative medicine. The term alternative medicine covers a broad range of healing philosophies, approaches, and therapies. It generally describes those treatments and health care practices that are outside mainstream Western health care. People use these treatments and therapies in a variety of ways. Alternative therapies used alone are often referred to as alternative; when used in combination with other alternative therapies, or in addition to conventional therapies they are referred to as complementary. Some therapies are far outside the realm of accepted…show more content…
Puncturing the skin with a needle is the usual method, but acupuncturists may also stimulate the acupuncture points with finger-pressure. Although Western physicians and researchers do not truly understand the concept of Qi, there is evidence that acupuncture can influence the movement or release of many chemicals in the body. Research conducted by Dr. Bruce Pomeranz, a neurophysiologist at the University of Toronto, established that acupuncture releases naturally produced, morphine-like substances called endorphins (Crute). In addition to releasing endorphins, doctors and clinicians know that acupuncture can provide at least short-term relief for a wide range of pains by inhibiting the transmission of pain impulses through the nerves. Furthermore, recent studies also show acupuncture to be effective in alleviating bronchial asthma, bronchitis, and stroke-induced paralysis (Apostolides). "I'm a healthy skeptic," says Johns Hopkins psychiatrist Mary McCaul (Apostolides). "But look, we don't have all the answers. Patients who choose acupuncture feel calmer. Even if it's a placebo effect, placebos are powerful things." Mind-Body Healing Relaxation techniques like meditation and biofeedback--which teach patients to control heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and other involuntary functions through concentration--have also given respectability to alternative medicine and are routinely taught to patients and medical
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