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Top 10 Alternative Medicine Systems and Therapies

Alternative medicine is considered a safer and natural approach to healing, which exists outside the realm of the mainstream allopathic or western medicine system. Alternative medicine makes use of various natural herbs, massage techniques, diets, and therapies not just to cure illnesses but also to prevent occurrence of various ailments. Many people opt for alternative medicine when mainstream medicine fails to address their issue effectively as in certain types of cancer, diabetes, allergies, or chronic back pain.

1. Homeopathy

Homeopathy was developed by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, who based his therapy on two principles; the substance that can cause symptom in a healthy person can cure symptoms of sick person and the more the substance is diluted, the more potent it becomes. For 200 years homeopathy has been able to address various diseases successfully using pills or medicinal drops which are exclusively prepared with extracts of herbs and chemical substances.


2. Ayurveda

Ayurveda means ‘science of life’ in Sanskrit. More than alternative medicine Ayurveda is a way of life which is aimed at improving mental, social, physical and spiritual well being of a person. It is the oldest existing system of medicine which was developed by ancient sages of India nearly 5000 years ago. Ayurveda tries to balance the life forces, as it believes that imbalance of these forces causes’ diseases.

3. Acupuncture

Developed by Chinese nearly 4000 years ago, acupuncture stimulates specific points with a needle to allow free flow of the energy Qi in the human body. The needles do not leave behind any marks or pain.

4. Chiropractic

Started by David Palmer in 1890’s chiropractic used manipulation or adjustment of spine, bone and tissue to cure ailments. The treatment involves no administration of medicines or drugs.

5. Biofeedback

In 1060’s Neal Miller demonstrated that autonomic nervous system can be trained to function as needed. Biofeedback made quick progress and today monitoring instruments are used to provide patients with information that they are unaware of and treat diseases like headaches, stress, addictions, insomnia, and high blood pressure effectively.

6. Unani

The name Unani is derived from Unan meaning Greece from where it originated. This system was widely adopted by Muslim doctors in South Asia who were known as Hakims. It is based on the humoral theory propagated by Hippocrates.

7. Reiki

Reiki meaning life force energy is known to have developed in Tibet and propagated by Japanese monk Mikao Usui in 1800’s. It is a hands-on healing therapy which channelizes universal life force which is present in living things to balance the life force energy of the body. It is said that blockage of this energy is what causes all types physical and mental ailments.

8. Hypnotherapy

The therapy makes use of hypnosis to reach subconscious mind of the patient to create awareness of being whole and complete. It takes the person to the inner world to bring forth changes in the body through mind, by altering thoughts, behaviors and attitude towards life.

9. Aromatherapy

A gift of Greeks to the world, Aromatherapy takes advantage of the therapeutic properties of essential oils extracted from herbs, flowers or trees to heal both body and mind. The essential oils also posses’ antibacterial, antiseptic and other healing properties which can be absorbed by the skin to provide relief.

10. Hydrotherapy

Water is main source of life on earth which Hydrotherapy uses to treat diseases. Though practiced by Greek physicians, it was Vincenz Priessnitz who popularized it in modern times. It has been proven excellent remedy for sprains, muscular fatigue and aches. Whirlpool baths, sitz baths and other buoyant mediums are used to move bodies easily without much stress.


Apart from these, there are a number of other alternative therapies which include:

  • faith healing
  • sound therapy
  • music therapy
  • reflexology
  • vibrational healing
  • theta healing
  • placebo effect
  • thalassotherapy
  • magnet therapy
  • balneotherapy
  • yoga/meditation
  • Alexander technique
  • aquatic therapy
  • art therapy
  • astral projection
  • Bach flower remedies
  • Bates method
  • bee venom therapy
  • Bowen therapy
  • chelation therapy
  • cognitive therapy
  • colloidal gold
  • craniosacral therapy
  • crystal healing
  • dianetics
  • dolphin therapy
  • pranic healing
  • Feldenkrais method
  • cupping therapy
  • heat/thermotherapy
  • physiotherapy
  • psychotherapy
  • gua sha
  • guided imagery
  • holotropic breathing
  • inner child therapy
  • iridology
  • laughter therapy
  • light therapy
  • mckenzie method
  • Moxibustion
  • myotherapy
  • Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)
  • osteopathy
  • ozone therapy
  • prolotherapy
  • raindrop therapy
  • rolfing
  • shamanism
  • etc.

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