Millions of people around the world are living with pain that could be prevented with the use of alternative therapies. As a result many of these people use harmful or ineffective drugs and surgeries in an attempt to cure their ailments. With a steady schedule of massage therapy, acupuncture, and healthy foods, people can lead a healthy and invigorating life without drugs or surgery. During the time of the ancient Roman gladiators, massage therapy was used to treat everything from headaches to
injures on them. Today massage therapy is widely recognized as a sensible alternative to traditional medicine, in that it relieves pain and soreness otherwise helped by taking pills or other medicines. Massage can help everyone, including premature infants according to USA Weekend, "premature infants who get regular massages in the hospital gain more weight and leave the hospital sooner then unmassaged babies"(McNichol,22). I firmly believe that massage therapy is one of the best preventative measures that a person can take to avoid most medical problems involved with aging, physical exertion, and the stress of everyday life. Some doctors agree by saying, "If you have a massage every week, you will have 2/3 less illness" (H. Gruenn, M.D.). There are many different types of massage therapy including relaxing Swedish massage for relieving stress, sports massage for treating sports related injuries, and therapeutic massage to name a few. Relaxing Swedish massage is one of the most effective ways to deal with that invisible killer, stress. By applying smooth gentle stokes or other non-invasive massage techniques, the Swedish massage practitioner can relieve the client of the every day stresses of life that can be fatal if not dealt with. In sports massage, the use of more advanced massage techniques can relieve athletes of lactic acid and other wastes that accumulate in the muscles due to exertion. Other therapeutic massage techniques such as Neuromuscular, Myofascal, and Lymphatic drainage can aid in the recovery of injured clients. Another form of alternative therapy is the ancient Chinese healing art of acupuncture. Acupuncture was first experimented within the First Imperial Medical College of China during the Sui Dynasty in 589 AD. "In Chinese medicine, and therefore in acupuncture, health is determined by a persons ability to maintain a balanced and harmonious internal environment."(Mills pg. 8). This theory of internal harmony is expressed through the principles of Ying and Yang and it's five separate phases: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Internal harmony is also based on the uninterrupted flow of the "Qi", or vitality. The Qi is responsible for all of the body's spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical processes. The Qi flows up and down channels of the body called "Jingluo", or meridians. Twelve particular meridians run up and down the body in a continuous circuit connecting the internal organs of the body known as "Zangfu". If the acupuncturist knows the correct point along the meridians, the Qi's flow may be returned to normal by using the needle. I have experienced acupuncture first hand and I do believe it is an effective tool for relieving pain and diseases that effect the body. Overall, the basic principle of acupuncture and all of Chinese medicine is to restore the balance of Ying and Yang. Acupuncture works best in conduction with massage therapy and a good diet of healthy foods. How many times did your mother have to tell you to eat your vegetables? "In fact, scientists say that a little more attention to our diets might slash the death rate for heart disease by seventy percent."(Michaud,28). As a result of all the junk food in the world, clogged arteries, overburdened hearts, stone filled gall bladders, ruined livers, and many other chemical enemies are eating away at our health. As the well known saying goes, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away", because apples and other fruits can lower cholesterol, prevent gallstones, and protect against certain cancers. Dr. Neil Stone, M.D., says "It's important to eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables" (Wild,29). Among other healthy fruits there are apricots that combat constipation and bananas that heal ulcers and prevent strokes. Experts state that, "Fortunately, bananas are the overwhelming fruit snack of Americans. Americans have increased the consumption of the fruit by about 30 percent over the past couple of decades"(Michaud, 38). Vegetables such as beans lower cholesterol and can even control appetite. Berries may also prevent certain cancers and also battle arthritis and urinary tract infections. Carrots and cherries may also help lower cholesterol levels that can result in heart attacks. Many other tasty entrees such as fish and other meats may prevent iron deficiency anemia and even memory loss. Meats can also bolster the immune system to fight diseases and keep people out of the hospital. Any of these foods combined with a drink of calcium enriched milk or an artery clearing citrus drink will improve your health dramatically. The junk food companies will say that their products are low-fat or light on the calories, but who are they kidding? They just want to sell their product and could care less about the health of the world. Sometimes it is hard to resist the temptation of a freshly baked batch of cookies or a bag of salty potato chips on Super Bowl Sunday, but the only one responsible for your health is you. There are many other ways to avoid common health problems that can send people straight to the hospital for surgery. Other alternative therapies like chiropractic care and aromatherapy are also great ways to keep people healthy. It is important to inform people of the many preventative measures in alternative therapy that could improve the people of the world's health dramatically. Thousands of people die every year due to the side effects of prescription medicine and surgeries that go wrong. No one in the history of massage therapy or acupuncture has died from the application of these therapies. Too many people decide that the application of these therapies is a waste of money or frivolous, but when it comes to the doctor prescribing medicine or surgeries that pose a threat to health, people take this seriously. Some doctors, the ones who truly care for your health, will recommend alternative therapies before dangerous medical procedures, but there are many medical doctors out there who have dollar signs in their eyes and will recommend expensive and sometimes unnecessary surgeries and medicine just to make their pockets thicker. Do yourself a favor, look into alternative therapies or ask your doctor about them, the future of your health may depend on it. WORKS CITED Michaud, Ellen. "Healing Foods." The Complete Book of Natural and Medicinal Cures. Rodale Press Inc., 1994. Mills, Simon M.A., and Finado, Stephen J. Ph.D. Alternatives in Healing. Marshall Editions Ltd., 1988. Fritz, Sandy. Mosby's Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage. Mosby-Year Book Inc., 1995. McNichol, Tom. The power of touch.