Free Essay On Benchmark Nontraditional Health Care Practices
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Health, Medicine, Herbs, Therapy, Acupuncture, United States, Psychology, Prayer
A study by the ministry of health reveals that more than one-third of Americans use one form of alternative and complementary medicine or another. Findings indicate that two-thirds of Americans rely on prayer for health purposes. Only 4% of the respondents of this study used diet-based therapies. Traditional medicine refers to complementary and alternative forms of medicine including traditional Chinese medicine, mind-body medications, naturopathic medicine, osteopathy, ayurvedic medicine, etc. According to Chisolm (2007), scientific evidence indicates that many alternative forms of medicine are highly effective. Examples include acupuncture for pain treatment, nutritional therapy, meditation practices for cancer, Chinese herbs for various inflammatory diseases, and massage therapy for the immune system. These may also be described as any preventive or therapeutic services used to treat illnesses or to maintain health that are different from those employed by traditional Western or conventional medicine. Conventional or traditional Western medicine, also known as allopathic medicine, comprises the system of medical practice that employs counteractive remedies. These remedies elicit effects that are different from those given by the disease being treated. This paper examines the different healthcare practices and how they impact cultures in terms of wellness and prevention.
Perhaps the most common alternative/ nontraditional healthcare practice in the United States (as well as other places in the world) is prayer. According to a 2004 National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) report, more than 36% of Americans have resorted to some form of alternative medicine (Chisolm, 2007). This figure rises to 62% when prayer for health is included. 43% of the respondents in the study had used prayer for health while 25% had other people pray for them. About 10% had taken part in a prayer group for health purposes. Prayer is a big component of complementary and alternative medicine in the United States. Prayer not only gives hope to people suffering from health problems, but also puts them in the frame of mind that is free of depression, anxiety and loneliness. As a result, patients put themselves in a good position to recover.
Another non-traditional health practice in the United States is the use of herbs. All cultures have, throughout their history, used various plants and plant derivatives to prevent and treat diseases. Continued use of these herbs over the years is a source of evidence for their effectiveness. Herbs have been used for a long time for various reasons. For example, about one in every five adults uses herbs for diverse symptoms including menopausal hot flashes, memory problems among others. One of the herbs used is the Saint-John’s-wort. This herb is used and regulated just as foods and not drugs. Other herbs that are used just as widely as the Saint-John’s-wort include ginkgo, ginseng, garlic, ginger, peppermint, ragweed, soy, and kava-kava. Manufacturers who package these herbs do not have to prove their effectiveness and safety. According to Wang and Kennedy (2011), the number of adults that use herbs in the United States has been growing considerably. For example, between 2002 and 2007, the number grew from 50.6 million to 55.1 million. This growth had been preceded by an increase in the use of herbs and dietary supplements 1990s (Wang and Kennedy, 2011). Bardia et al (2007) indicate that women and college graduates are more likely to use herbs (except echinacea) that are supported by scientific evidence. Black adults were considerably less likely to use herbs than their white counterparts. Younger adults were more unlikely to use herbs and supplements (17.6%) than their older counterparts. In 2007, the number of respondents that felt free to disclose their use of herbs and supplements to their conventional medical professionals continued to rise and was at 45.4% (Wang and Kennedy, 2011).
Various therapies are also examples of non-traditional health care used mostly for relief and cure in some cases. One of the most common forms of therapies employed in the United States is acupuncture (Ernst, 2015). Acupuncture is a component of healthcare that dates back to almost 2,500 years ago when it was first practiced by the Chinese. The theory on which acupuncture is based on dwells on the premise that the human body has different patterns of energy (chi) flow that are critical to one’s health (Ernst, 2015). When these patterns of energy flow are interrupted, diseases result. By inserting tiny needles at specific points in the body, practitioners attempt to re-balance energy flow. In the United States, however, practitioners view these acupuncture points as locations that help stimulate nerves, muscles, as well as connective tissue. Others believe that this kind of stimulation boosts the body’s natural painkillers while increasing the flow of blood. Acupuncture is employed to relieve discomfort related to a variety of diseases and conditions. These conditions include nausea and vomiting in post-chemotherapy, dental pain, headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia, lower back pain, labor pain, menstrual cramps, osteoarthritis, and neck pain.
Other therapies include nutritional therapy, massage and ointments, reflexology, magnetic-field therapy, and the Feldenkrais bodywork (Kerr, 2015). Nutritional therapy involves the use of specific dietary changes to calm down the system. Specific nutritional therapies include the use of supplements like evening primrose oil, fish oil, borage or probiotics. These supplements help to calm down the alimentary canal while probiotics restore the proper bacterial balance of the stomach. A lot of these oils and supplements are readily available on store shelves in the United States. Massages and ointments help to sooth muscular pain while stimulating the flow of blood to injured tissue. Proper flow of blood to injured tissue helps in the healing process. The prevalence of various types of massage parlors and spas in the United States evidences the effectiveness of massages in dealing with muscular tension and other discomforts. Counseling is another form of non-traditional health practices prevalent in the United States. Counseling involves psychological assistance that may be delivered by registered professionals or one’s peers, friends or family. Counseling offers hope and advises, which are two elements that may help the sick to be determined to get well and overcome their illnesses.
Research indicates that there is an increase in the number of people seeking alternative and non-traditional health remedies for their medical issues. Non-traditional health practices include prayer, herbs and supplements, acupuncture, massages, nutritional therapy, and counseling. The number of Americans taking up these medical practices is on the rise because people are sharing their experiences with others. The growth of the internet and social media has enabled people from all walks of life, cultures, and backgrounds to interact and share their health experiences. Stories of success have encouraged people to try various health practices for which they previously had reservations. Overall, some non-traditional health practices are effective but should not be attempted without prior consultations with qualified medical practitioners.
Chisolm, S. (2007). The health professions. Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Ernst, E. (2015). Acupuncture and most other alternative therapies for MS are not evidence-based.Edzard Ernst. Retrieved 25 January 2015, from http://edzardernst.com/2014/08/acupuncture-and-most-other-alternative-therapies-for-ms-are-not-evidence-based/
Kerr, M. (2015). Magnet Therapy, Acupuncture, and Other CAM Treatments for GERD. Healthline. Retrieved 25 January 2015, from http://www.healthline.com/health/gerd/alternative-treatment#Overview1
Wang, C., & Kennedy, J. (2011). Changes in Herb and Dietary Supplement Use in the US Adult Population: A Comparison of 2002 and 2007 National Health Interview Surveys. Clinical Therapeutics,33(11), 1749-1758. doi:10.1016/j.clinthera.2011.09.024