Today is Day 6 in 31 Days Of Surviving Chronic Illness. You can catch up to Day 1 here.
Complementary & Alternative Medicine (CAM)
Yesterday we took a look at the different types of traditional clinicians. Today we are going to touch on a few alternative options in the medical world. According to Mayo Clinic , "Doctors are embracing CAM therapies, too, often combining them with mainstream medical therapies — spawning the new term 'integrative medicine.'" These therapists and treatment facilities are not always covered by traditional insurance but their ability to think outside of the modern western medicine box makes them worth taking a 2nd look at:
Spa/Massage Therapists- It may sound a little self-indulgent but a reputable, medically-minded spa therapist can offer so many alternative treatments. I am not really a spa-kinda-girl however, I have found that regular massages with a qualified, highly trained massage therapist tremendously help with my pain management, particularly in my large joints like shoulder and hip. Here are a few my local medical-spa offers:
- Swedish Massage
- Medical Massage
- Thai Massage
- Stretch/Flexibility Therapy
- Hydro Therapy
- Light Therapy
- Heat Therapy
- Raindrop Spinal Therapy
Naturopath (ND)- I’m all about doing things naturally, if I can. I feel that less chemicals is a wise approach to my already stressed out body. A Naturopath can offer alternatives in treatment, especially when it comes to prescription medications. A Naturopath may also recommend tests that are not commonly ordered by a traditional MD. Naturopaths often focus on diet and supplementation and some offer shots or infusions. My mother saw a Naturopath when she was trying to get pregnant with my little brother. For 10 years she tried to get pregnant, she went to see the Naturopath and 12 months later my little brother was born. You be the judge. (side-note: some DO's practice in the same way a Naturopath does so if your insurance is balking at covering the bill from a Naturopath, you may have better luck with a qualified DO.)
Acupressure/Acupuncture- Some people swear by acupressure/acupuncture. I don’t quite understand it all, but Chinese physicians have been using it for thousands of years so it might be worth a try if you suffer from chronic pain.
Certified Health Coach- A certified Health Coach is like a Life Coach, but for your health care needs. " A Health Coach is a wellness authority and supportive mentor who motivates individuals to cultivate positive health choices. Health Coaches educate and support clients to achieve their health goals through lifestyle and behavior adjustments." If you need help staying on track with your health goals or research, a certified health coach can help.
- Homeopathy- I like to think of homeopathics as wives-tales-proven-right. God provided so much for us in the way of plants and herbs that offer tried and true help with physical ailments and that is how most of our ancestors treated sickness. It doesn't have to be weird or religious, it's simply a matter of taking a concentrated dose of a natural plant or other natural substance, usually under the tongue. They are as scientific as the prescriptions from your local pharmacy, in fact some of the very same substances are used for both. Over the course of my life I have used homeopathics to treat a variety of ailments such as cold sores, impetigo, bruising, allergies and more. Some work better than others and not all homepathics work for everyone. The great thing about homeopathics is they are readily available at your local health food store and don't cost more than $10-$15 to try.
You can read about more Complementary/Alternative therapies here. If traditional forms of treatment don't seem to be helping you, pick a couple alternative therapies and see if they can bring you some relief. Please keep in mind that some alternative practices incorporate religious or spiritual elements so be sure to thoroughly research before beginning any practice that may be in conflict with your own religious beliefs. I am a Christian and therefore there are some alternative practices that I am not comfortable with (ie: Reikki, certain forms of meditation, etc.). I simply avoid those practices that I feel contradict my faith.