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Alternative treatments such as acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, chiropractic, naturopathy, and Ayurveda, are clustered by various names such as integrative, holistic, or complementary medicine, but the main thread that connects them is their focus on the mind, body, and the spirit. They work patiently to heal the root cause of a medical disorder, not just the symptoms.
Alternative practitioners work in sharp contrast to Western doctors who focus on an organ or organ systems when treating a patient. For instance, infertility specialists look at our reproductive systems - the ovaries and testes, tubes and the tissues, and the endocrine system - in isolation of the rest the human being. Alternative practitioners treat our whole system, hence the term, holistic. Acupuncture and herbal medicine may strengthen and balance your integrated systems, helping make assisted reproductive technologies (ART) more effective, and in some cases, unnecessary.
Many “alternative” treatments have been used for thousands of years in other parts of the world such as China and India, but not until recently have they been accepted in the U.S. Similar to medical doctors, practitioners are licensed in their particular fields through similar processes: they’re required to take courses of study, undergo lengthy exams, and log in hours as supervised interns before getting their licenses.
Holistic practitioners take time to sit down and get to know the patient and the circumstances that led up to an illness or condition. They touch us, take our pulse (some take our energy pulses), and ask many questions about our diet, emotional life, and exercise. Such close attention in itself can be healing for those of us who are used to being rushed through medical exams in 15 minutes or less.
Effects of Treatment
However, because many alternative medicine practices do not have a universally accepted scientific basis - a means to measure the effects of energy treatments and herbal medicine - they have had difficulty proving their outcomes. Also, since alternative medicines do not require FDA approval, few scientific studies are made. Consequently, documenting a drug’s efficacy or side-effects is difficult.
Other alternative therapies that soothe and integrate the mind, spirit, and body include yoga, message therapy, flower essences, and hypnotherapy and other stress-reduction techniques. They can help calm your body and soul and let your natural healing system do its work.