Monthly Archives: October 2018

Alternative Medicine

What is alternative medicine? It is a phrase that has been tossed around more and more in the media, the bookstores, and increasingly, the doctor’s office, but how often does anyone say what alternative medicine is?

Theoretically, alternative medicine is any form of medicine that does not fit with in the scientific framework of western medicine. Once a form of medicine has been proven scientifically effective, and a theory has been determined to explain in the language of western medicine why it is effective, it should no longer be considered alternative

Unfortunately, after the theory comes the politics. In reality, in the United States, alternative medicine is any form of medicine that has not been accepted as scientifically valid by the American Medical Association and the United States Government. In other countries different official bodies will determine what is and is not alternative medicine. In the United States, massage is alternative medicine. In Canada massage is conventional medicine, and as such, highly regulated.

Would you believe that according the US government’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vitamins are a complementary or alternative medicine (depending on how they are used) that have not yet been proven to have any greater effect on the human body then a placebo? Personally, I’d like to know if they would like to be treated for scurvy with a placebo. I’ll stick with vitamin C. There are theoretical uses for vitamins that have not yet been fully proven, but that does not make the proven effects any less scientifically valid.

At the same time, just because someone claims what they offer is medicine does not make it true. Herbal supplements are not regulated, and may not fully disclose their ingredients. They certainly will not tell you about any dangerous interaction with your heart medication!

Of course, you can ask an expert, but keep in mind that there are many kinds of alternative medicine, an acupuncturist is not necessarily trained in herbs, and your primary care physician probably won’t be trained in any of them.

If you are interested in using alternative medicine, either for a specific problem, or simply improve your overall health, it’s probably best to first research what kinds of alternative medicine you are interested in, and speak with you doctor about whether or not she will be willing to work with an alternative medicine practitioner. Then find a practitioner who has had training in that specific area of alternative medicine. Most forms of alternative medicine are not licensed in the United States, so ask where they went to school, and how long they have been practicing. Then they can work with your doctor to make sure you get the care you need, without any unexpected side effects.

Some forms of alternative medicine that might be worth looking into are:

Oriental medicine: Oriental medicine is the only form of alternative medicine that is truly comparably to western medicine as a complete system of medicine. Oriental medicine is based on several theories developed thousands of years ago and first elaborated on in the Yellow Emperor’s Classic, between three and five thousand years ago. Oriental medicine includes the practices of massage, acupuncture, herbal therapy, qi gong, and several others. Tradition Chinese Medicine is a variant of oriental medicine specific to China. It is the only variant of oriental medicine the can be found with relative ease in the United States. In many parts of Asia, oriental medicine is still considered the standard of medical care and western medicine is ‘alternative.’

Herbal therapy: Herbal therapy is probably the most common form of alternative medicine found in the United States, and quite possibly one of the riskiest. While most of the conventional medicines doctors prescribe today were derived from herbs, the herbal supplements commonly on sale have no common dosages, mat contain fillers, and will rarely warn of side effects. While herbs can be used to treat everything that medication can, and possibly quite a bit more, make sure you speak with a trained herbalist before taking any. They can tell you what dosage is safe, what suppliers are worth using, and any potential side effects.

Homeopathy: Homeopathy was developed in the 1800’s by two doctors who noticed that quinine, the only medicine capable of treated malaria, caused symptoms of malaria in healthy people who were given it. They theorized that like would cure like, so caffeine which normally causes wakefulness, would be used to help someone who was not sleeping through the night, sleep better. Homeopathy is probably the only alternative medicine that is safe to try without speaking with an expert, because the active substance is so dilute that it is not possible to over dose, or incur side effects on the amounts in the local health food store, never mind the few bottles you would keep in your home. At the same time, it is still best to consult a homeopath to be sure that what your taking will work for what you need.

Massage: Massage is the use of hands or tools to manipulate the muscles and tendons. The two most common uses of massage are to ease aches and pains, and for stress relief. While there are many conditions that massage will obviously not help with (diabetes, for instance), there are many that it is surprisingly effective on, such as eating disorders, fibromyalgia, and carpal tunnel syndrome. In addition, almost any muscular injury can be treated with massage to prevent scar build up, speed healing, and increase a restricted range of motion. There are many different forms of massage therapy, including Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Pre-Natal Massage, Shiatsu, Thai Massage, Lomi Lomi, Medical Massage, Chair Massage, Aromatherapy Massage and Hot Stone Massage. If you go to a massage therapist for a medical condition, make sure they are trained in Medical Massage. Some states have licensing programs for massage therapists now, as do most European countries. If you live in an area that has licensing, make sure the therapist you go to is licensed.

Herbal Medicine

Find Herbal Medicine Schools in the United States and Canada. Herbal medicine schools instruct students in the essentials of herbalism and botanical medicine. Students who opt to enroll in herbal medicine schools will learn that this form of medicine is one of the oldest healthcare systems known to mankind.

Typically, students who possess an interest in participating in herbal studies at one of several herbal medicine schools should have attained some education in physiology and/or anatomy prior to enrollment. This is important, as it lends to the student’s ability to better understand the philosophy and theories behind herbal medicine therapies.

While some herbal medicine schools focus primarily on traditional Chinese medicine, other herbal medicine schools may provide a wider array of classes that encompass studies in botany, botanical terminology, phytochemistry (of medicinal plants), cell chemistry, medicinal plant compounds, Ayurvedic medicine, Native American plant medicine, herbal pharmacy, diagnosis, clinic and case history; among other related topics.

Students enrolled in herbal medicine schools will gain an overall understanding of how herbal medicine is facilitated for spices, therapy and/or medicinal purposes. In addition, students will learn from which plants herbs are derived, and how to use those herbs for not only medicinal purposes, but for nutritional additives and aromatherapy. Because herb plants produce and comprise a myriad of chemical substances, students participating in studies at herbal medicine schools will also learn that 25% of prescription drugs in the US contain at least one active plant material ingredient.

Successful candidates, who have completed all course requirements through one of many herbal medicine schools can go onto achieve varying levels of herbal medicine certifications. Many of these certified herbal medicine therapists can enter the healthcare fields of Ayurvedic practitioners, homeopathic practitioners, natural health practitioners, Chinese medicine practitioners and other holistic health practitioners. In addition, astute candidates who have completed advanced training courses at one of many herbal medicine schools may utilize their knowledge and skills to help develop plant medicines for pharmaceutical researchers.

Because herbal medicine schools vary in course length, tuition costs and curriculum, it is always wise for prospective students to carefully review course outlines, prerequisites (if any) and if financial aid options are available. Generally speaking, herbal medicine schools are growing in quantity because the demand for alternative and natural medicine is concurrently on the rise. Students and even current health professionals who are seeking a rewarding alternative in health care will find that gaining a comprehensive education through any one of numerous herbal medicine schools can only benefit one’s personal and professional growth.

To learn more about the benefits of herbal medicine or to locate herbal medicine schools near you, feel free to peruse our healing arts schools and holistic health practitioners’ directories.

Alternative Medicine Colleges

Find Alternative Medicine Colleges in the United States and Canada. If you are drawn to complementary and alternative medicine, you are not alone. Alternative medicine colleges are growing in demand as “36 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 years and over use some form of complementary and alternative medicine.” [1] Alternative and complementary medicine therapies that are most commonly sought after include acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine, and nutritional [2] therapies. These professions are frequently taught to students in a number of alternative medicine colleges.

Before registering in the wide expand of alternative medicine colleges, you should first determine which alternative medicine practice you would like to enter. For example, if you interested in chiropractic, be sure that the selection of alternative medicine colleges in which you choose to enroll offer this course of study. Some alternative medicine colleges provide training in a diverse range of health therapies including education in pathology-specific treatments, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Studies offered through alternative medicine colleges in this area may include diverse curriculums in botanical or herbal medicine, supplements and vitamins, hydrotherapy, mind-body therapies, Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, homeopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture and other massage therapies.

Other courses provided through alternative medicine colleges may be designed for the future homeopathic practitioner or professionally certified massage therapist. However, there are so many fields of study from which to choose, the potential to attaining a quality education at one of several alternative medicine colleges is virtually unlimited.

Currently, a number of alternative medicine colleges provide undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral and independent career training programs. Students who are interested in naturopathic medicine or holistic medicine can gain a comprehensive education and skills through accredited alternative medicine colleges, as well as other complementary medicine schools. Students seeking certification or diploma programs can frequently achieve these goals at alternative medicine colleges, too. For instance, some alternative medicine colleges specifically provide certification courses in massage, herbal medicine and reflexology. Again, the diverse options in education are quite compelling.

Students, who have successfully graduated from one of several alternative medicine colleges, can go onto lucrative and personally rewarding careers that are mutually beneficial in helping patients and clients from all walks of life.

If you (or someone you know) are interested in enrolling in one of several alternative medicine colleges to help find your dream job, let education within fast-growing industries like massage therapy, cosmetology, acupuncture, oriental medicine, Reiki, and others get you started! Explore career school programs near you.

Chinese Medicine Colleges

Find Chinese Medicine Colleges in the United States and Canada. While Chinese medicine may be considered “alternative” medicine in the West, it is an accepted form of conventional medicine in Eastern cultures – Chinese medicine colleges are trying to change this Western mode of thinking by researching, teaching and administering comprehensive training in this unique healing art.

Whether you’re interested in an introductory class in herbal medicine or are more seriously considering a long-term career in acupuncture and Oriental medicine, one of several Chinese medicine colleges can help you advance your personal and professional goals.

Today, Chinese medicine colleges provide a diverse assortment of certificate and degree programs. One of the more popular courses afforded through Chinese medicine colleges is the Masters in Oriental medicine. Class and clinical training in this program will often include human anatomy and physiology, basic Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theories, acupuncture, Oriental bodywork, Tai Chi, meridian therapy, moxibustion, Qi gong, and a vast assortment of related studies. Students who have enrolled in a number of Chinese medicine colleges will also learn that they can achieve their Doctorates in Oriental medicine as well.

Aside from learning how to become a licensed acupuncturist, most Chinese medicine colleges frequently offer fundamental studies in the Chinese language to better understand and identify common Chinese medical terms. Additionally, Chinese medicine colleges integrate Eastern philosophies in their teachings, as well as TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) theories.

In many Chinese medicine colleges, students will be able to engage in certificate programs that teach herbal medicine, Chinese medical massage (Tuina), and other Oriental bodywork therapies. Students who wish to become licensed acupuncturists and practicing Oriental medicine doctors must understand that many Chinese medicine colleges regularly require certain prerequisites prior to enrollment. In many cases, these requirements include extensive education from an accredited university or college. It is always beneficial to review all curriculum requirements at your choice of Chinese medicine colleges so that you are fully prepared to start your educational passage. In addition, students attending Chinese medicine colleges and who are enrolled in more intricate courses (i.e., doctor of Oriental medicine, etc.) will be expected to pass a series of rigorous examinations along the way. These tests will validate comprehension in fundamental knowledge and critical skills in the practice of Chinese medicine.

While there are several varieties of techniques and methods that are facilitated in Oriental medicine, Chinese medicine colleges may slightly differ in independent teachings and length of study. Depending on which course you elect to enroll, training programs in Chinese medicine colleges may vary from mere months to several years. The prospect for success for graduates of any number of Chinese medicine colleges is virtually unlimited.