What is traditional medicine and is it safe?


2020-09-16 12:00:05




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What is traditional medicine and is it safe?

The effectiveness of traditional medicine and non-traditional treatments is disputed by many scientists

As strange as they may seem, alternative medical practices are incredibly popular. The term "alternative therapy" refers to any medical treatment not standard in Western medical practice. However, alternative treatments are often difficult to distinguish from evidence-based medicine, mainly because the area is incredibly diverse. Alternative medicine (aka traditional medicine), includes hypnosis, diet, chiropractic, acupuncture (acupuncture), osteopathy, herbal treatment, etc. Moreover, among the adherents of alternative medicine, the five-year survival rate for cancer is 2.5 times lower, as oncologists have established. But why?

The website (WHO) provides the following definition of traditional medicine: "Traditional medicine is a general result of accumulated knowledge, beliefs and skills based on the theory, beliefs and experiences of indigenous peoples and people of different cultures, whether we can explain them or not, which are used to maintain health, as well as to prevent, diagnose and improve the condition of physical and mental disorders."

Scientists insist on more research to determine the effectiveness of alternative therapies, but this does not prevent a huge number of people around the world from testing these methods on themselves.


Despite the fact that the word "acupuncture" is associated with sharp needles, this practice of traditional Chinese medicine is incredibly popular. The term acupuncture or acupuncture describes on the body. The most famous type of acupuncture is the penetration of thin needles into the skin, the process is under the control of the attending physician, but electrical stimulation can also be used.

In fact scientists have long known that acupuncture can be effective in insomnia, and many types of chronic pain such as neck pain and . The new research also looks promising. For example, a 2016 study involving 2,349 subjects showed that acupuncture can be effective in stress or chronic headaches, although more research is needed.

Acupuncture session may look like this

But what is this, the placebo effect? Not really. confirmed that the positive results of acupuncture can not be explained only by the placebo effect, and therefore it is a reasonable treatment option for those who regularly face chronic pain.


In aromatherapy used essential oils - highly concentrated extracts from roots, leaves, seeds or flowering plants. Aromatherapy is thought to promote wound healing. It is noteworthy that the roots of this practice can be traced back to 4001 BC.

The oils are inhaled with a diffuser or diluted with base oil and rubbed into the skin. Some oils are used to treat inflammation or infections, while others are used to promote relaxation and calmness. In clinical settings, the researchers focused on aromatherapy to treat anxiety, depression, pain relief, nausea and insomnia. For example, the results showed that lavender aromatherapy helps normalize sleep and reduces anxiety in patients with cardiovascular disease.

Nurses working night shifts participated as test subjects. Scientists wanted to find out whether aromatherapy massage would help their sleep. It turns out that after a massage with sweet marjoram essential oil and a glass of warm water, the sleep quality of the subjects improved. However, more research is needed in this area.

You need to be very careful with aromatherapy, especially for people with allergic diseases and upper respiratory tract diseases

Moreover, when using aromatherapy, it is important to remember that some essential oils can be dangerous for pregnant women, children or pets.


This technique has originated in India and has been around for thousands of years. Ayurveda practitioners use a variety of techniques, including herbs, massages and special diets, to balance the body, mind and spirit. All this for the general recovery of the body. There are showing positive results for specific Ayurvedic practices such as taking turmeric from inflammation and (called nasal irrigation). However, often Ayurvedic practices are applied in alongside pseudo-scientific teachings about chakra, astrology and special, often dangerous diets.

Chakras and special diets - this is what pseudoscience looks like, be vigilant

However, speaking of Ayurveda, we should not forget about yoga, which is often mentioned in Ayurvedic texts. The results show that yoga has an effect when addressing a range of mental and physical health problems such as anxiety, depression, highblood pressure and insomnia.

Manual therapy

Chiropractic is widely recognized in the medical community, and therefore qualifies more as "complementary" medicine, rather than as an alternative. Manual therapy focuses on the musculoskeletal system and nervous system and is used for pain of the back, neck, joints, arms, legs and head. The most common procedure performed by chiropractors is the manipulation of the spine, it is also "adjustment" which includes the use of controlled force (usually the hand chiropractic) to joints that have become hypomobile.

Manual therapy can be effective in the treatment of neck and lower back pain

Hiropractic devices are designed to restore mobility and relax muscles, allowing tissues to heal reducing pain. Studies generally confirm, and scientists suggest that this practice may be effective in neck pain or lower back pain.


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