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Alternative Medicine Panacea for 21st Century MaladiesThe modern-day spiritual New Age movement has brought with it a renewed enthusiasm for alternative or complementary medicine. What is alternative medicine? Simply put, alternative medicine is a term that lynchpins many disparate health practices that are typically not included in the accepted Western medical canon. For example, homeopathy, Ayurveda and acupuncture are all alternative health systems that, for whatever reason, have not received adequate backing by Western science and Western medicine.

That said, select diets and treatments under, say, the Indian Ayurveda system of alternative medicine have been vindicated by contemporary, Western science. Sound interesting? Read on! Just remember that never should you make any major medical decision without consulting a professional – doctor, that is. However, assuming they give you permission, you are quite likely to be in for some pleasant surprises! Here’s what you need to know.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is steeped in over two millennia of Eastern medicine; nonetheless, traditional Chinese medicine is still classed in the West as alternative medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine includes the following fields: qigong, message, acupuncture, herbalism, and dietary treatment.

What is TCM about?

The basic tenet of traditional Chinese medicine is that disease stems from somatic disharmony, or disbalance between yin and yang. Trained herbalists in China employ many different chinese tonic herbs to correct these imbalances. Reishi mushroom and Ho Shou Wu, for example, are used in China and parts of Japan to correct chronic fatigue syndrome and rampant anxiety, as well as other maladies.

Reishi and Ho Shou Wu

Both Reishi mushroom and Ho Shou Wu are adaptogens, which means they aid the body’s defenses in dealing with stress. Reishi and Ho Shou Wu calm down the adrenal cortex and assist the body in finding a sustainable balance between the sympathetic nervous system’s energy and the parasympathetic nervous system’s restfulness.

Reishi Mushroom, also known as Lingzhi mushroom, has been revered in the East as a life-extending substance and cardiovascular supplement. Indeed, modern science has shown that the polysaccharides in Reishi mushroom are an excellent source of cellular energy and help to lower serum cholesterol. Considering the high incidence of stress and heart disease in the West, Reishi mushroom is really a no-brainer!

Ho Shou Wu, also known as polygonum multiflorum, is known to strengthen primordial energy while decreasing stress. Ho Shou Wu has also been shown to increases superoxide dismutase, lower monoamine oxidase action in the brain and decrease a harmful pigment named lipofuscin.

Ho Shou Wu streamlines the body’s natural antioxidant defenses by boosting the action of superoxide dismutase. By increasing the action of superoxide dismutase, one of the main causes of aging – free radical damage – is dispatched.


A lot of people are really scared of acupuncture, but really shouldn’t be. Most people who have undergone appropriately administered acupuncture will tell you that it is far from painful. In all actuality, it is very relaxing and beneficial. It is only painful in the most extreme of afflictions, and even then, the pain you’d feel would pale in comparison to whatever pain would inspire you to seek out these alternative services. Be sure to check with insurance providers and doctors before checking it out, but if you’ve heard that acupuncture could be beneficial for something you’re afflicted with, check it out!

Summing Up

Alternative medicine is an extensive field of complementary treatments. Some alternative medicine schools, such as traditional chinese medicine, have been the norm in the East for millennia. Modern science, moreover, is increasingly seeing the value in alternative medical practices, and though you should always listen to your doctor first and foremost, it might behoove you to incorporate some of these techniques into your treatment plan (with their permission, of course).

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