Anti aging guide

Complementary Treatments for Age-Related Diseases



How different complementary treatments could be used to treat age-related diseases

There are dozens of different complementary treatments aimed at treating one health problem or another. This section is going to highlight only those therapies which have a particular role to play in aging and in age-related diseases. This section is only an introduction, just enough to stimulate your interest and to show you that there is always a way out of suffering. If you are interested in one therapy in particular and wish to find out more details, it is suggested that you consult relevant books describing the therapy.

What is the difference between alternative and complementary medicine? In practice, the two terms are used similarly. In theory, alternative practitioners such as osteopaths and chiropractors are suitably qualified and are allowed to take clinical care of a patient. Complementary practitioners, on the other hand, are not allowed to take clinical care of the patient themselves but are supposed to offer treatments which complement traditional medicine.

During the past few years, there has been a more favorable attitude towards complementary medicine among medical professionals. Over 40 per cent of general Western doctors now use complementary treatment and more than 70 per cent make referrals to complementary practitioners.

Integrated medicine aims to bring together conventional and complementary therapies and practitioners in an attempt to widen the treatment choices for patients. The Foundation for Integrated Medicine takes a serious view of the different practices available and their potential. Eminent professionals from both sides of the health-care establishment are being brought together to explore and study common pathways to good health.

There is, however, a general reluctance among conventional practitioners to accept some complementary treatments. This is due to several factors. Certain complementary treatments, for example, may indeed not have any effect on health or may be practiced by unqualified or unscrupulous practitioners. Also, many, if not all, treatments use ideas foreign to the prevailing medical establishment, giving rise to disbelief among conventional scientists.

It may be that the basic ideas are still the same, but different words are used to describe the same process. Below is a short list which brings together orthodox and alternative terminology. Here it is:

Complementary Terms and their Conventional Equivalent

  • A ‘tonic’ is something that stimulates protein synthesis, anabolic.
  • ‘Cleanse the system’ means to stimulate immunity, to eliminate dead or foreign material.
  • The flow of energy’ is the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid, as well as the reactions of chemical energy within the cell.
  • ‘Eliminate toxins’ is the stimulation of the liver and kidney to metabolize and secrete chemical substances.
  • ‘Balance of energy’ is physiological homeostasis.
  • ‘Cosmic energy’ is fresh air, sunshine and invisible particles like electrons and neutrinos.
  • ‘Yin and yang’ are positive and negative, which need to be balanced to avoid over- or under-stimulation of homeostasis. Examples are excessive or insufficient production of hormones, hyper- and hypoglycemia in diabetes, etc.

One of the main benefits of complementary’ medicine is that it offers a wider choice of treatments, helping patients to take matters into their own hands. Also, these treatments have generally fewer side effects than conventional treatments.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t use complementary treatments indiscriminately without proper advice. If you have an illness, involve both your doctor and your qualified complementary practitioner in the treatment and let each know what you are up to.

If you feel confident, you could try the treatments yourself at home, if suitable, but it is best not to try to diagnose any problems yourself because you may use the wrong treatment and cause more damage. If your doctor has given you a prescription for a particular drug, don’t just stop taking this when you begin a new complementary treatment.

The following treatments are some of the most common complementary therapies available. These are based on a wide view of health which sees the individual as a whole and are not focused on particular diseases only.

  • Acupuncture
  • Alexander Technique
  • Aromatherapy
  • Ayurveda
  • Bach Flower Remedies
  • Biofeedback
  • Breathing
  • Chiropractic
  • Flotation
  • Healing
  • Herbalism
  • Traditional Chinese Herbalism
  • Homeopathy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Laughter Therapy
  • Light Therapy
  • Magnetism
  • Massage
  • Music Therapy
  • Naturopathy
  • Reflexology

Above are some of the complementary therapies which have relevance to aging. If you do decide to follow a certain treatment, it may be necessary to find out more information about it. Aim to do some sessions with a qualified practitioner before you try home exercises or treatments. The decision whether to use established, well-researched treatments or new alternative ones should be made after careful consideration of the effects and side effects of each. Have a frank, open-minded discussion with a doctor who is willing to listen.

Posted by Carol Hudgens