Complementary and Alternative Health Practices

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By: Van Le

Complementary and Alternative Practices towards a Healthy Lifestyle. Over the last century, doctors and researchers in the Western world have made several medical breakthroughs and significant discoveries in the fight against terminal diseases.  Such discoveries are key milestones towards finding the cure for diseases such as cancer and other illnesses, however, the idea of using complementary and alternative medicines, remedies, and holistic therapy to help manage a natural, healthier lifestyle is gaining popularity in the Western world.

Complementary and alternative medicine consists of practices that do not follow the norm of conventional medicine; complementary medicine is used in conjunction with conventional medicine, while alternative medicine is used in place of conventional treatment.  Some examples of complementary and alternative medicine include acupuncture, meditation/visualization, and the use of natural products.

Acupuncture
Acupuncture, a complementary medicine technique, is the practice of inserting tiny needles into very specific parts of the body to relieve pain and discomforts associated with conventional treatments.  According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), it is the oldest healing practice in the world, and works by restoring the body’s balance (ying and yang.)  Acupuncture is most popular for its ability to relieve pain and aches, but the idea of “cosmetic acupuncture” is also gaining attention as a less-drastic alternative to cosmetic surgeries.

It has been reported that those who undergo cosmetic acupuncture experience vibrant skin tone, reduced and finer wrinkles, and firmer skin.  A study in The Journal of Clinical Acupuncture states that 90% of cosmetic acupuncture patients experience notable improvement in their skin quality.  As with any medical procedure, acupuncture carries risks, and when considering an acupuncture treatment, it is important to examine the creditability and equipment of the practitioner.

Meditation/Visualization
Meditation is a complementary technique used to escape from the stress of our hectic lifestyles and reach a profound state of relaxation and calmness.

There are several types of meditation, including yoga and tai-chi.  Yoga consists of molding the body into postures, using controlled breathing, and focusing on the moment to escape from the day’s stress.  Tai-chi started as a form of martial arts but has transformed into a healing practice.  Those who practice tai-chi move their bodies slowly and mindfully while focusing on their breathing.  According to the Associated Press, tai-chi helps build a stronger immune system, which can help the body fight against shingles, a skin condition that cause rashes.  Visualization, also known as mental imagery, is a technique in which the mind focuses on a specific image.  Cancer patients sometimes use this technique to envision their bodies fighting off the disease.  Visualization can be used by anyone to relieve stress from a busy day.

Use of natural products
The popularity of natural products has increased exponentially in the last few years due to its ability to generate healthy skin from the inside out.  Products that contain natural ingredients as opposed to harsh chemicals are logically better for the body and skin.  From a diet filled with healthy choices to using natural skincare products, there are several ways to generate a healthy, more fulfilling lifestyle.  By choosing blueberries over Botox, you can achieve longer-lasting and healthier results.  Switch to an all-natural line of skin care products to give your skin a break from the preservatives and lab-generated chemicals that can wreak havoc years down the road.

Van Le is a staff writer for the CSU Daily Titan and writing intern for Vivoderm Laboratories in Los Angeles, California. She is currently pursuing a Journalism degree at California State University, Fullerton.

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