The models for treating illness in Western medicine often break down into surgery and drug therapies. While these types of treatments are still the standard in the medical world, there is a growing movement from patients for increased access to alternative therapies. While some patients are looking for non-invasive ways of dealing with illnesses, others are looking for practices that can complement their current treatments.
Greater Sense of Control Over Health Decisions
Any time a patient is dealing with an illness, her body is under stress. If she is going in for surgery, she is putting her life into the hands of someone else. Many traditional medical treatments take control away from the patient. Alternative therapies such as meditation, yoga, and aromatherapy help a patient feel in charge. When people feel in control, they can deal with challenges from a calmer place.
Avoiding Side Effects of Medications
A growing number of patients do not want to put any unnecessary chemicals into their bodies. While many medicines are helpful in the short term, their long term effects are unknown. Also, most medications have side effects that can take away from a patient’s quality of life.
Alternative therapies offer a way to deal with illness without pharmaceuticals. For example, TMS depression treatment has become an increasingly popular alternative to traditional methods of treating the condition. In this non-invasive treatment, magnetic pulses stimulate the nerves in the brain in a way that reduces depression symptoms. When this treatment is successful, the patient avoids common side effects of depression medications such as dry mouth, anxiety, and erectile dysfunction.
Avoiding Complications from Surgery
Surgical treatments have significantly advanced in recent decades. Laparoscopic surgical techniques make some standard procedures less invasive. However, any surgery involves cutting into the body. Recovery from surgery can take several weeks and result in a great deal of pain. With the recent opioid crisis, some patients want to do everything they can to stay away from addictive painkillers.
In some cases of back pain, alternative therapies such as chiropractic treatment or yoga can offer pain relief at a similar level as surgery. If patients can relieve their ailment without going through a surgical procedure, they avoid medical expenses and the time lost during recovery.
Helping to Deal with Side Effects of Other Treatments
Doctors often consider alternative therapies as valid complementary practices along with traditional surgery and medication. This approach is especially common when doctors and patients know that medical treatment will have troublesome side effects.
Chemotherapy works by killing off cancer cells in the body. However, it also kills other healthy cells at the same time. The result is an array of unwelcome side effects such as pain and nausea. While some people treat these effects with additional medications, other people find benefits in alternative therapies such as massage, mindfulness, and acupuncture. While scientific research on these practices is not complete, many patients who take part in them find that they make it easier to cope with side effects.
As the medical world adopts a more holistic approach, scientifically-researched alternative therapies will become a standard part of medical care. Incorporating these techniques will give patients a positive outlook on their health and wellbeing.