As a group, seniors are a huge consumer of medical services. For that and other reasons, the decision to explore alternative or complementary medicine is an easy one.
Before We Can Start
We need to explain the difference between alternative and complementary medicine.
Alternative methods are forms of treatments that replace traditional medical options.
Complementary therapies are those that are done in addition to regular or traditional medical treatments.
The obvious alternative choices to medical treatment are such things as yoga and acupuncture.
Both seem to have roots in eastern culture. Yoga, a form of physical activity that can enhance awareness, increase flexibility and for some, develop a sense of spirituality.
Acupuncture for many, is a promising way to relieve pain. The long term effects of chronic pain can be expressed only by those who suffer. Finding relief is more important than the method of that relief.
A practitioner of acupuncture and herbal remedies reports treating as many as fifty seniors a day.
The herbal and holistic treatments offered to seniors are for any number of ailments or challenges. For many older adults, alternative medicine brings hope in dealing with certain hard to treat disorders.
If the treatment is safe, seniors have a willingness to try.
The help may come with unusual potions from ancient lands, or common food sources that are not so appetizing. Who would have thought that science could and would find healthy ingredients from shells, weeds and roots.
A practitioner of acupuncture reports helping patients suffering from cancer. While the treatments themselves do nothing in fighting cancer, acupuncture and herbal remedies aid in reducing the side effects of oncology treatments.
Dry mouth, pain, nausea and other effects of cancer treatments have been reduced.
Where are seniors and their quest for better health?
Seniors and others are finding relief. They have engaged in alternatives that many doctors are unwilling to endorse. The lack of approval may have its explanation based in legalese. Doctors are unwilling to suggest alternatives for fear of legal entanglements.
HealthLivingAfter60.com has written about the amazing exercise program Tai Cheng. A variation of ancient Tai Chi. The program has been endorsed by both Regis Philbin and Dick VanDyke.
Rooted in the martial arts, Tai Cheng enhances balance, stability and strength through a series of slow motion exercises that resemble those of karate or judo. All the choreographed moves are done in slow motion. You can use this link to read our article on Tai Cheng.
Have you considered marijuana?
As states continue to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes, the debate rages over the true purpose. Are we smoking weed to get well, or to get high.
The hippies of yesterday are the seniors of today. While most who came of age in the 60’s did not embrace the hippie culture, they still wonder if there are real health benefits in marijuana?
Others believe the health benefits are secondary to the financial opportunities possible from a product that has created great wealth for those willing to trade in illegal distribution. Drug dealers.
The recent legalization of medical marijuana in Florida has found doctors advertising a prescription for the price of a $199 office visit.
What many know, is the component of marijuana that gives a euphoric or high sensation is the compound THC.
What many do not know is THC is not the medicinal property of the plant. The medical benefits come from the Cannabidiol. It has none of the psychoactive components.
Cannabidiol is available without a prescription. It is an over the counter remedy for such things as inflammation, the source of some pain, anxiety and nausea.
In Florida, a prescription is available for Cannabidiol in liquid form. It is to be inhaled with the use of a vapor pen.
The smoking of marijuana may offer the same relief from stress and anxiety as millions have tried to find in alcohol. The relief is there, but it is only temporary. The numbing of the brain allows us to forget problems, if only for a little while.
The downside, is the creation of new problems from over consumption of the drug. It makes no difference if its liquor or marijuana.
While Cannabidiol is not a cure all, it has proven clinical value for a number of conditions. Relief from stress and anxiety are among them. All done without numbing the brain.
The benefits are clinically proven, the risks are non-existent.
Healing from within
The senior community, and many others, are tired of the failed, risky treatments based on pharmacology. Taking pills for everything from headaches to treating sexual inadequacies.
If we circle back to acupuncture for a moment, we can draw attention to alternative and complementary choices when faced with chronic pain and discomfort from such things as lower back and neck pain.
Acupuncture is a valid choice to risky surgeries that have less than stellar records for delivering relief patients are seeking.
One practitioner offers this, “I don’t know what I am treating until the patient feels better.” The treatment often is for chronic conditions even if the condition is something as serious as cancer.
“Patients being treated with chemotherapy or radiation, often find relief from pain, bowel movements and other problems related to the treatment.” Acupuncture is not curing cancer, but offering relief from the side effects of treatment.
Some treatments may border on the touchy feely but are none the less, offering patients the relief they seek. An example is salt therapy. A drug free non-invasive treatment.
Salt therapy is also known as Halotherapy. It is reported to be a powerful, natural treatment. The therapy is conducted in a controlled room. It is built to simulate a natural salt cave.
Dry salt air is said to be amazing in the treatment of respiratory and skin conditions. Therapy is simply spending time in the salt room relaxing.
The negatively charged ions in salt are Inhaled. The particles can reduce inflammation and mucus in the lungs, improving respiratory conditions. Ailments including asthma, allergies, bronchitis, sinus congestion and COPD, (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) have been treated with success.
Nearly everyone is familiar with some forms of cryotherapy. It is the localized freezing of tissue. It has been a treatment for warts for decades.
A mild form of cryotherapy is icing tissue after an injury or exertion of a muscle. Athletes have been icing for ever.
The new cryotherapy can include whole body treatments. By stepping into a chamber nearly naked, patients experience temperatures of -200 degrees for two to four minutes. The cold is a way to treat muscle soreness and other ailments.
Imagine the athlete ice dip taken to the extreme. US News has an interesting article you can read here.
It is no secret. Aging takes a toll on one’s health. Even seniors with limited financial resources can be doing more physical activity such as hiking or walking if it were not for their health.
These alternative and complementary treatment options may be just what you are seeking to enhance your life and enjoy the best years yet.