For thousands of years, Eastern medicine has been practiced in many parts of the world. These traditional and natural healing methods are becoming even more popular today, especially among people who are looking for a relief for their various ailments – both emotional and physical. These healing procedures include herbal medicine, heat therapy or moxibustion, Tai Chi, Chinese therapeutic massage, acupuncture, and lifestyle counseling.
According to the director of San Diego’s Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, Department of Clinical Services, Greg Lane, alternative and complementary medical procedures are in many cases the top option for patients who are seeking treatment on a wide range of health concerns.
The beginnings of traditional Oriental medicine can be traced back to the archeological discoveries of stone needles that are thousands of years old and used during the Neolithic era. Since then, physicians and scholars have spent a significant amount of time in learning and understanding, and teaching others, on the principles behind the practice.
Advocates and practitioners of Eastern medicine say that the health benefits from the treatments are numerous. Pain relief is among them. Also, many patients say they experience less stress, a generally peaceful feeling, and better sleep after undergoing an Oriental treatment modality.
Most treatments use natural substances. For instance, moxibustion, a treatment for cancer, involves burning the herb mugwort. Without necessarily giving an endorsement, the American Cancer Society, quoting a study done on the practice, said that it can help reduce the accompanying vomiting and nausea, but warned that the study done was not thorough enough to be sure about the findings.
Another form of traditional Oriental method of healing is Ayurveda, which originated in India. The practice involves the use of nutrition, herbs, yoga, and acupressure massage. It seeks to restore balance and harmony in the patient, leading to a long and healthy life. Ayurveda is founded on 3 basic principles: sleep, exercise, and diet: with food being the primary key to preventive medicine.
Based on the Ayurvedic principles, the balance of an individual’s emotions, mind, diet, metabolism, appetite, and digestion determines whether weight loss or gain will be achieved. When everything is balanced, weight will be balanced as well.
Naturopathic medicine is another form of traditional Eastern medicine. According to Naturopathic Dr. (ND) David Powell of San Diego’s Chaparral Naturopathic Medicine, NDs are licensed and certified medical practitioners, just like the conventional MDs, perform blood work, physical exams, as well as other medical testing procedures. The treatment they provide, however, is based on a holistic approach.
The treatments may include lifestyle and diet counseling, homeopathy, bio-identical hormones, and herbal and nutritional supplements. Instead of using medications to alleviate or manage ailments, naturopathy employs alternative therapies to bring back balance to the body so it can be in a better position to heal itself. Using specific exercises and herbal supplements, and identifying or removing food that can reduce cholesterol levels or high blood pressure, for example, is the approach used by an naturopathic medicine practitioner.