We’ve all heard these terms – alternative, complementary and integrative medicine. But what do they really mean?
When these terms are used, we’re usually talking about healthcare approaches developed and used outside mainstream, conventional and traditional medicine. Although many people use the terms “complementary” and “alternative” interchangeably, their practices differ.
In complementary medicine
, a non-traditional practice is used in conjunction with conventional medicine.
With alternative medicine
, a non-traditional practice is used in place of conventional medicine. Since most people typically use non-traditional treatments in conjunction with conventional, the use of true alternative medicine is uncommon.
involves using both conventional and complementary healthcare practices together in a coordinated effort. The use of integrative medicine has grown within care settings and with good reason. Research proves it works.
Massage therapy has been used for thousands of years with references to its use found in ancient writings from the Arabic nations, India, China, Japan, Greece, Egypt and Rome. In his writings, Hippocrates defined it as “the art of rubbing.”
Its use quickly became popular for a variety of health purposes after being brought to the United States in the 1850s by two physicians who studied in Sweden. Its use waned in the 1930s and 1940s but revived again in the 1970s, especially among athletes.
Hundreds of thousands use massage therapy every year for a variety of health-related purposes including:
- General Wellness
- Pain relief
- Injury rehabilitation
- Stress reduction
- Decreases depression and anxiety
At Medford Leas, our on-site massage practitioner is certified in both geriatric and oncologic massage.
Reiki is a Japanese healing practice based on several traditional Asian healing methods. It was developed by Japanese Buddist Mikao Usui in 1922 and has been adapted by various cultures around the globe. Reiki involves a technique called hands-on healing or palm healing. In Reiki, the practitioner will lightly touch their patient or they may hold their hand over the patient’s body to channel the body’s life force, thereby supporting the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Reiki combines the Japanese word “rei” which means “universal life” and “ki” (chi) which means “energy.” Reiki practitioners believe that a person’s “ki” should be strong and free-flowing. A weak and imbalanced “ki” leads to symptoms of emotional and physical imbalance.
Studies suggest Reiki provides the following:
- Induces relaxation, easing stress and tension
- Prepares the body for healing, physically, mentally and emotionally
- Reduces pain
- Relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Improves energy, reducing fatigue
Since Reiki promotes relaxation which lowers the recipient’s stress response, it encourages healing. Our Reiki practitioner uses a hands-on technique designed to foster healing and relieve discomfort.
Biopuncture consists of a treatment whereby tiny amounts of homeopathic formulas (plant-based ultra-low dilution products) are injected into the skin or muscles to release trigger points, relieve areas of chronic or acute pain and to repair damage.
Biopuncture, an injection-based therapy, came to the United States in 2008 after its creation in 1991 through the efforts of Jan Kersschot, MD, a Belgian family practice doctor.
Biopuncture is not intended to be used as a stand-alone treatment, but instead, as a complementary treatment alongside traditional or alternative treatment. When used in conjunction with massage, chiropractic and physical therapies, it helps the effectivity of these therapies.
Biopuncture triggers an immune system response, stimulating the natural healing process. The healing comes naturally from within the body itself, not from the product injected.
Unlike acupuncture, biopuncture does not follow the body’s meridians.
Biopuncture is used as a treatment for:
- Muscle, joint and body pains
- Muscle spasms
- Nerve compression
- Disc herniations
- Inflammatory issues, including arthritis
- Chronic and acute pain
- Bronchitis, asthma and hay fever
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Nutraceutical is a commercial-based term used for foods or food products that may help treat or prevent disease. Generally natural substances, they are sometimes referred to as functional foods. They are used as part of a diet having beneficial effects extending beyond those provided by basic nutrition.
Examples of nutraceuticals include:
- Vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements
- Herbal products
- Dietary enzymes
- Pre- and probiotics
- Hydrolyzed proteins
- Dietary fiber
At Medford Leas, our knowledgeable nutraceuticals specialist uses pharmaceutical-grade plant-based nutraceuticals as a complementary treatment for a multitude of medical problems.
Aromatherapy has been used for 1000s of years. Two oils are even famously mentioned in the Bible … frankincense and myrrh. Hippocrates recommended aromatic baths for overall health and well-being. Philosopher Disoscorides mentioned aromatic oils in his writings in 100 A.D. Egyptian priests used them medicinally and during religious ceremonies.
Aromatherapy utilizes the volatile oils found in healing plants to overcome physical and emotional health issues. When inhaled or diluted with a carrier oil and applied to the skin, therapeutic-grade essential oils can help with a wide range of health issues including:
- Chronic stress and anxiety
- Reduces fatigue and increases alertness
- Improves sleep quality
- Skin problems and disorders, including acne, bites, rashes, cellulite and bruising
- Respiratory issues, including allergies, asthma, infections, colds and flu
- Cancer, in the treatment of, managing the symptoms of the disease and its treatments
- Digestive upset
- PMS and menopausal symptoms
- Blood sugar
- Reduces pain and inflammation
- Improves libido
Care should be taken when using essential oils. Skin irritation can occur, especially when they haven’t been properly diluted. Allergic reactions can also occur. Some oils cause photosensitivity to sunlight.
Good nutrition and a good eating plan are both important for health. They will help you maintain a healthy body weight and improve your body’s ability to heal itself and to fight inflammation.
At Medford Leas, we have a dietary specialist who will help our residents focus on overall wellness, advising dietary adaptations for a healthier life. Our specialist will help personalize an eating plan to meet our residents’ individual health needs.
Healthy Living at Medford Leas
Medford Leas offers individualized care and respect to all … it’s the core of our wellness philosophy
. That’s why we are proud to offer a wide range of healthcare services including the alternative and complementary healthcare options we have discussed here. If you want to learn more, contact us