Natural Remedies for Common Ailments
Increasingly, people have been choosing to merge both Eastern and Western medicine practices in order to best treat their chronic ailments. With the pharmaceutical industry bigger than ever--they raked in a whopping $711.4 billion in 2012--people are becoming more dependent on treating their medical conditions with prescription drugs. According to the nonprofit organization, Health Care for America Now (HCAN.org), the majority of that profit came from the Medicare Part D prescription drug program which mostly serves the senior community.
Some of the most popular drugs on the market are the ones that assist with anxiety, depression, stress and insomnia. Luckily, more and more alternative medicine centers have been popping up across the country, which help people to find ways of dealing with these chronic ailments without the use of drugs.
Acupuncture is one of the world’s oldest medical therapies and it involves inserting thin needles through the skin in a scientific way to help stimulate nerves, muscles, and connective tissue. It has been shown to increase your body’s natural painkillers and boost blood circulation throughout the body.
Acupuncture can assist with a number of ailments, but a study was recently conducted by British researchers that acupuncture can majorly benefit people suffering from depression.
Hugh MacPherson of the University of York in the U.K. and his team of researchers studied almost 800 people who suffered from moderate to severe depression. After three months of acupuncture treatments, 1 in 3 of them were no longer depressed compared to 1 in 5 of the recipients who did not receive acupuncture treatments.
"For people who have depression, who have tried various medical options, who are still not getting the benefit they want, they should try acupuncture or counseling as options that are now known to be clinically effective," MacPherson said.
Ayurveda is sanskrit for “life and knowledge” and is the ancient Hindu science of health and medicine. Ayurvedic medicine is still widely practiced both in India and throughout the world.
Shirodhara is one of the most unique Ayurvedic therapy practices and it involves pouring liquids over the forehead, or “third-eye.” The liquids can vary based on the ailment you are trying to sooth and usually include sesame oil, milk, buttermilk, coconut water, or simply water.
A case study recently presented by researchers at Southern California University of Health Sciences found that Shirodhara helps relieve insomnia, fatigue, tension, anxiety, anger and chronic headaches. The researchers performed Shirodhara on participants and monitored their brain function with an EEG.
Results showed that participants experienced both low-level activity, similar to that which occurs during meditation practices, and also high-level activity that creates a high coherence in neural systems. Successive Shirodhara treatments were able to reduce anxiety in participants within one month. Some participants even reported a major lifestyle change, such as smoking cessation and improvement in bulimia.
Herbs and Supplements
Native Americans have been practicing natural medicine for hundreds of years using plant-based herbal remedies for all sorts of ailments. Medicine men within tribes would pass their knowledge down through the generations and eventually the information was passed on to some of the European settlers.
Herbal remedies and natural supplements are still used in modern society. Magnesium, which is a natural mineral found in green leafy vegetables, legumes and whole grains, is a great option for people who suffer from Fibromyalgia.
A Turkish study performed by Dr. Selda Bagis found that the lower the magnesium level, the greater the Fibromyalgia-related symptoms. Magnesium is an essential component in helping the body absorb important minerals such as calcium and potassium and is necessary for metabolizing energy properly. In Dr. Bagis’ study, patients who took a magnesium supplement along with an antidepressant reported a significant improvement in their pain rating, fatigue, irritability, physical function and anxiety.
Hilary Young is the Communications Manager for Medical Guardian. She is dedicated to helping educate seniors and their Caregivers about how to live healthier, more fulfilling lives.