(CARLSBAD, CA) – Your neighbor insists that you see her acupuncturist to relieve migraine headaches. Your co-worker swears by the carpal tunnel relief she has experienced from her chiropractor. And your sister raves about her newfound freedom from depression, thanks to St. John’s Wort. But, you’re not sure if any of these alternative medical options are for you.
As you decide whether or not to try alternative health therapies, Judi Sheppard Missett, founder and CEO of Jazzercise, Inc., suggests that you do your homework. Take the same steps that you would follow before seeing any mainstream health professional. Ask friends for referrals, check the medical professional’s credentials, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
In fact, why not start your research right now? Consider these pros and cons of three popular types of alternative medicine.
Acupuncture – Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine. Certified practitioners identify places where the flow of your qi (pronounced “chee”) energy force is blocked. The acupuncturists then insert extremely thin needles into these strategic points. Acupuncture patients generally report that the needle insertions are not painful, rather they feel a slight tingling sensation or nothing at all.
While acupuncture has been practiced for more than 2,500 years, mainstream health professionals have acknowledged it only recently. The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture as effective for 43 common ailments, including allergies, asthma, arthritis, depression, and migraine headaches.
To find a qualified acupuncturist near you, check with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (www.nccaom.org). To be fully certified with the board, acupuncturists must complete between 2,000 to 3,000 hours of training and pass rigorous board exams.
Chiropractic – Chiropractic medicine is based upon the principle that your spine is the largest channel through which your body’s energy flows. Chiropractors apply a quick, controlled force – called an adjustment – to realign any dislocated bones and correct any blockage along your spine.
Most people who seek chiropractic care suffer from some type of chronic pain, most commonly lower back pain. One study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that chiropractic care offers legitimate pain relief, yet less-costly physical therapy can provide the same results. Nevertheless, chiropractic medicine is becoming so mainstream in American medicine that it is now the number-one insurance-covered complementary medicine.
When visiting a new chiropractor, look for the credential DC, which stands for Doctor of Chiropractic. The credential means that your chiropractor is licensed and has passed a four-part examination with the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners.
Herbal Medicine – A quick walk down the aisles of any health food store will show you the mass marketing and distribution of herbal supplements in today’s world. Herbal supplements are sold as tablets, capsules, teas, extracts, and powders.
Herbal supplements, made from plants and plant parts, can have therapeutic properties, yet they can also be risky for some people. The labels can be confusing, and some products are manufactured outside the United States, escaping the regulation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
If you decide to take herbal supplements, talk to your doctor first. Your doctor can advise you of potential side effects or interactions with your current medications. Be especially cautious if you are pregnant or nursing. And never take a bigger dose than the product label recommends.
More than 62 percent of U.S. adults have tried some form of alternative health therapy. Georgetown, Duke, and Harvard have all added Integrated Medical Centers to their campuses, in which western and eastern medical practitioners work together. Perhaps alternative medicine is becoming more mainstream, and less alternative, in the twenty-first century.
Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,500 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1969, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.