Millions of people around the world are living with pain that could be
prevented with the use of alternative therapies. As a result many of
these people use harmful or ineffective drugs and surgeries in an attempt
to cure their ailments. With a steady schedule of massage therapy,
acupuncture, and healthy foods, people can lead a healthy and invigorating
life without drugs or surgery. During the time of the ancient Roman
gladiators, massage therapy was used to treat everything from headaches to
sports injures on them. Today massage therapy is widely recognized as a
sensible alternative to traditional medicine, in that it relieves pain and
soreness otherwise helped by taking pills or other medicines. Massage can
help everyone, including premature infants according to USA Weekend,
"premature infants who get regular massages in the hospital gain more
weight and leave the hospital sooner then unmassaged babies"(McNichol,22).
I firmly believe that massage therapy is one of the best preventative
measures that a person can take to avoid most medical problems involved
with aging, physical exertion, and the stress of everyday life. Some
doctors agree by saying, "If you have a massage every week, you will have
2/3 less illness"
(H. Gruenn, M.D.).
There are many different types of massage therapy including relaxing
Swedish massage for relieving stress, sports massage for treating sports
related injuries, and therapeutic massage to name a few. Relaxing Swedish
massage is one of the most effective ways to deal with that invisible
killer, stress. By applying smooth gentle stokes or other non-invasive
massage techniques, the Swedish massage practitioner can relieve the
client of the every day stresses of life that can be fatal if not dealt
In sports massage, the use of more advanced massage techniques can
relieve athletes of lactic acid and other wastes that accumulate in the
muscles due to exertion. Other therapeutic massage techniques such as
Neuromuscular, Myofascal, and Lymphatic drainage can aid in the recovery
of injured clients.
Another form of alternative therapy is the ancient Chinese healing art of
acupuncture. Acupuncture was first experimented within the First Imperial
Medical College of China during the Sui Dynasty in 589 AD. "In Chinese
medicine, and therefore in acupuncture, health is determined by a persons
ability to maintain a balanced and harmonious internal environment."(Mills
pg. 8). This theory of internal harmony is expressed through the
principles of Ying and Yang and it's five separate phases: wood, fire,
earth, metal, and water. Internal harmony is also based on the
uninterrupted flow of the "Qi", or vitality. The Qi is responsible for all
of the body's spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical processes. The Qi
flows up and down channels of the body called "Jingluo", or meridians.
Twelve particular meridians run up and down the body in a continuous
circuit connecting the internal organs of the body known as "Zangfu". If
the acupuncturist knows the correct point along the meridians, the Qi's
flow may be returned to normal by using the needle.
I have experienced acupuncture first hand and I do believe it is an
effective tool for relieving pain and diseases that effect the body.
Overall, the basic principle of acupuncture and all of Chinese medicine is
to restore the balance of Ying and Yang. Acupuncture works best in
conduction with massage therapy and a good diet of healthy foods. How many
times did your mother have to tell you to eat your vegetables? "In fact,
scientists say that a little more attention to our diets might slash the
death rate for heart disease by seventy percent."(Michaud,28). As a result
of all the junk food in the world, clogged arteries, overburdened hearts,
stone filled gall bladders, ruined livers, and many other chemical enemies
are eating away at our health. As the well known saying goes, "An apple a
day keeps the doctor away", because apples and other fruits can lower
cholesterol, prevent gallstones, and protect against certain cancers. Dr.
Neil Stone, M.D., says "It's important to eat a balanced diet rich in
fruits and vegetables" (Wild,29). Among other healthy fruits there are
apricots that combat constipation and bananas that heal ulcers and prevent
strokes. Experts state that, "Fortunately, bananas are the overwhelming
fruit snack of Americans. Americans have increased the consumption of the
fruit by about 30 percent over the past couple of decades"(Michaud, 38).
Vegetables such as beans lower cholesterol and can even control appetite.
Berries may also prevent certain cancers and also battle arthritis and
urinary tract infections. Carrots and cherries may also help lower
cholesterol levels that can result in heart attacks. Many other tasty
entrees such as fish and other meats may prevent iron deficiency anemia
and even memory loss. Meats can also bolster the immune system to fight
diseases and keep people out of the hospital. Any of these foods combined
with a drink of calcium enriched milk or an artery clearing citrus drink
will improve your health dramatically.
The junk food companies will say that their products are low-fat or light
on the calories, but who are they kidding? They just want to sell their
product and could care less about the health of the world. Sometimes it is
hard to resist the temptation of a freshly baked batch of cookies or a bag
of salty potato chips on Super Bowl Sunday, but the only one responsible
for your health is you. There are many other ways to avoid common health
problems that can send people straight to the hospital for surgery. Other
alternative therapies like chiropractic care and aromatherapy are also
great ways to keep people healthy. It is important to inform people of
the many preventative measures in alternative therapy that could improve
the people of the world's health dramatically. Thousands of people die
every year due to the side effects of prescription medicine and surgeries
that go wrong. No one in the history of massage therapy or acupuncture
has died from the application of these therapies. Too many people decide
that the application of these therapies is a waste of money or frivolous,
but when it comes to the doctor prescribing medicine or surgeries that
pose a threat to health, people take this seriously. Some doctors, the
ones who truly care for your health, will recommend alternative therapies
before dangerous medical procedures, but there are many medical doctors
out there who have dollar signs in their eyes and will recommend expensive
and sometimes unnecessary surgeries and medicine just to make their
pockets thicker. Do yourself a favor, look into alternative therapies or
ask your doctor about them, the future of your health may depend on it.
Michaud, Ellen. "Healing Foods."
The Complete Book of Natural and Medicinal Cures. Rodale Press Inc.,
Mills, Simon M.A., and Finado, Stephen J. Ph.D.
Alternatives in Healing. Marshall Editions Ltd., 1988.
Fritz, Sandy. Mosby's Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage.
Mosby-Year Book Inc., 1995.
McNichol, Tom. The power of touch.