Do Alternative Therapies Really Work? Eastern Cures For Western Problems [And I'm sorry in advance for the picture.]

by Charlotte on April 26, 2013 · 41 comments

THIS. Just. I have no. Ah. Okay, what in the 7th circle of Dante’s nightmare IS THIS?! (Seriously, pause and take a guess – I’d LOVE to see in the comments how many of you got this right just from looking at the picture!)

guasha

This picture? Is the back of a man who has just received a Gua Sha treatment, a type of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Those red lines, by the way, aren’t paint. They’re broken blood vessels and bruises from the “scraping” performed as part of the treatment.

This noise? Is the sound of me screaming and doing a full-body shudder before wondering if anyone looking at my search history will think I’m into torture porn. (Dear loved ones, in the event of my untimely passing or incarceration please please do not look at my search history. It is a weird, scary world out there and apparently Googling health topics brings out the best of that.)

Um, excuse me, Charlotte: Your ignorance is showing.

When Shape assigned me to write about “Eastern Cures for Western Workout Problems” I immediately replied to my editor reminding her of my natural skepticism for all things kooky, er, outside traditional American medicine. She wrote back and told me to get over myself. Which I’m sincerely trying to do! I’ve had a whole lifetime of “western” programming, see, but I am getting better! I’m finally at a point in my life where I can admit the benefits to acupuncture (in theory, I still haven’t tried it) and see the relief provided by a chiropractors (again, in theory, since they still scare the ever-loving crap out of me). Plus I’ve been burned often enough by conventional medical wisdom to know there is a lot (LOT) to be desired in our current medical system. But there are still some health treatments out there that I really struggle to understand and see the benefit of. I mean, did you SEE that guy up there?! They basically beat him bloody with a blunt object and he paid them for the privilege!

So really this article was perfect for me! Take a non-believer, make her interview a bunch of experts and she’ll be converted! Did it work? Eh… maybe. A little. But many people do not share my reticence when it comes to alternative therapies.

Gwyneth Paltrow told Oprah she’s a lifelong fan “because it just works.” Robert Downey Jr. confessed he’s “as close to being a Chinese-American as any Caucasian ever could be in his life” thanks to his love of it. And supermodel Elle McPherson trusts it so much that she puts her million-dollar body completely in its care,  saying, “I do choose to look after my body from a Chinese medicine perspective, which promotes and maintains wellness rather than treats illness.” (A perspective I really agree with, by the way. Preventative care, for the win!) It’s official: Traditional Chinese Medicine is making a modern comeback! Caught up in the marvels of modern medicine it can be easy to forget that once upon a time there was no Icy Hot and Ibuprofen. And yet people still had ways, many of them ingenious, to deal with the soreness, pain, fatigue and other problems that come from leading an active lifestyle. And now you don’t even need to be a celebrity to reap the benefits of this ancient wisdom. Check it:

6 Eastern therapies that could help cure your Western workout woes: 

Gua sha

Stretching merely an afterthought in your workout? For too many of us flexibility takes a backseat to other goals like getting stronger, faster or just sweatier. Yet flexibility is a key component of good health and injury prevention. But you aren’t limited to boring static stretches after a treadmill session; Gua Sha, a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), offers an Eastern antidote to this Western issue.

 Gua Sha is performed by a practitioner who first lubricates the skin with oils and then firmly “scrapes” the skin with repeated strokes using a round-edged instrument like a Chinese soupspoon, a blunt bottle cap or or even an animal bone. The scraping is continued along the acupuncture or “balance meridians” until small red or purple spots, called “sha”, appear on the skin. Depending on the pressure used, these spots range from subcutaneous blemishing to bruising or broken capillaries and may take several days to weeks to disappear. The treatment can be soothing or quite aggressive depending on the person performing it and intensity of the desired treatment. The name, gua sha, literally means “scrape sand” in Chinese and describes the goal of treatment which is to “scrape away disease by allowing the disease to escape as sandy-looking objects through the skin.”

While it is generally performed over certain energy spots, or “meridians”, over the entire body it can be used to treat specific areas as well. Lisa Alvarez, MSOM, L.Ac. and co-founder of Healing Foundations, an Oriental medicine practice, explains that Gua Sha is used to not only increase flexibility but also does wonders for “releasing muscle tension and stiffness” from a hard workout.  She adds that it also helps with other conditions caused by tight or sore muscles like TMJ (or clenched-jaw pain) and tension headaches.

Cupping

When you’re struggling to eke out that last squat, the last thing on your mind is air pollution. But according to Alvarez, you should because both internal and external toxins accumulate in the body over time and can significantly affect your muscle endurance. One way to to release this toxic buildup is a TCM technique called cupping.

 Cupping is done by placing little cups strategically over your body. The 1- to 3- inch cups, which are generally made of glass or plastic but can sometimes be rubber or ceramic, are specially designed to induce a vacuum in some way. In hot cupping, a lit cotton ball is held briefly underneath the cup before placing it on the skin. Other methods include a hot water bath, a mechanical mechanism, or a rubber ball that can be squeezed. The slight vacuum created is said to “extract” the toxins by increasing blood flow to the muscle and tissue underneath thereby helping the body to cleanse itself, reduce inflammation and stimulate healing. Alvarez explains that it’s like a “reverse” massage. “Instead of pushing the muscles into the body to get them to relax, suction is used to gently pull the muscle tissue upward to help it release.”

For athletes, cupping is often used as a relaxing massage to treat sore muscles but it can also help treat injuries and pain. It’s so effective for exercise woes like a tight IT band or a strained shoulder that Alvarez says many of her clients see results both in their comfort level and in the gym in just one session!

Energy therapy

Nothing feels better on sore muscles than a relaxing massage but what if you could get the benefits without the actual massage? Reiki is a form of Japanese touch therapy based on the belief that energy can be channeled through the practitioner’s hands to heal the spirit of the patient. According to Alvarez, this spiritual healing promotes deep relaxation, revitalizes and resets the body’s energy field.

 Alvarez explains how a session typically goes: “During a Reiki session the client lies fully clothed on a massage table. The Reiki practitioner places their hands on or slightly above areas along the endocrine system and internal organs on the front and back of the body.” In Western versions of Reiki, practitioners usually focus on the seven chakras that run from the crown of the head to the end of the spine while in traditional Japanese Reiki the focus is on the energy or balance meridians which are found over the whole body. In both techniques the aim is to “channel healing energy” from the giver’s palms to the recipient’s body, specifically the sites where illness or pain is felt. Alvarez adds that because this is not a massage technique and therefore there is no manipulation of muscles or tissue that anyone can benefit from a Reiki treatment.

It’s most often used in conjunction with other treatments like acupuncture to “provide a deeper healing and rejuvenating experience.” And while it may sound hokey at first, some research has shown a reduction in pain for cancer patients receiving Reiki treatments. Alvarez says that reiki is one of the fastest growing complementary treatments and has many uses for athletes including overall relaxation, pain management, reduction of soreness and even aiding more Western therapies like physical rehab by helping the person relax and remain open.

EFT

“I can’t do this!” can stop you from finishing that tough spin class, “I’m too fat!” can deep six your confidence in the gym and “I have to have that jumbo chocolate doughnut!” can undo in five minutes what it took you an hour in the gym to accomplish. The mind is a powerful tool and getting it to work for you and not against you can be half the battle when it comes to making healthier choices. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), is a method based off of acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming (a behavioral modification technique), energy medicine, and Thought Field Therapy (a psychological technique that uses tapping on certain meridians) and is designed to help you master your own thoughts.

“The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system,” Gary Craig, the founder of one popular style of EFT, says. “While acupuncture, acupressure and the like have been primarily focused on physical ailments, EFT stands back from this ancient process and points it directly at emotional issues. These, in turn, often provide benefits for performance and physical issues.” This is done by the patient performing a prescribed series of tapping or pressing on acupressure or meridian points on the body while repeating a mantra. Sometimes other steps are involved like counting backwards, singing a song or moving the eyes in specified ways, as instructed by the therapist.

As it’s designed to complement other types of therapies, specifically Eastern treatment methodologies, simple to learn and perform and doesn’t require any special tools or equipment, EFT can work for almost everyone, Craig explains. Its main benefit is enhancing your willpower and focus to help you stay on course with your healthy living goals.

 ART

Snap, crackle, pop! We’ve all had that moment in the gym where we’ve pushed a little too hard or stretched a little too far and while there’s no break or sprain, something’s most definitely out of whack. Active Release Technique (ART) is a Western therapy that aims to “treat pain and heal injuries resulting from poor biomechanics or improper muscular function,” Craig Thomas, ACSM, LMT, A.R.T., says.

 However, because ART requires the practitioner to actively manipulate the patient’s joints and tissue it can be, as Thomas puts it, “very intense.” Because of this, Thomas likes to incorporate the Eastern philosophy of balancing the yin and yang by beginning with shiatsu, a Japanese form of acupressure, and Thai massage, wherein the practitioner uses their own body weight – often leaning against or even sitting on the client – to pull and push, thereby opening up the joints. Together they relax the patient and open up the body to get the maximum benefit from the ART.

“Because the body is a whole system and every part affects the whole, the body wants to respond in entirety,” Thomas explains. “Which is why, even if you have pain in an isolated spot, you need to address the whole body.” During an ART session, the therapist will manipulate the muscle and other soft tissue of the patient as well as leading them or moving them through specified movements with the goal being to re-establish proper, healthy mechanical function and to gain flexibility and motion by separating the scar tissue from the underlying muscle. Thomas says that ART is perfect for treating the overuse injuries lifelong athletes often incur because it not only fixes the immediate source of the pain but also corrects the underlying structural problems that allowed the injury to happen in the first place. But, he adds, while ART is great for treating the injured area, the shiatsu and Thai massage are integral for balancing the yin, also known as the body’s potential energy, and the yang, known as the body’s active energy.

 Acupressure

Your workout is only as good as your recovery, as muscles grow when you’re resting. One way to speed up your recovery is through acupressure because it has the ability to target very specific areas and types of pain while still addressing the needs of the entire body. Thomas calls it “tonifcation” or bringing energy back into the body.

“Acupressure is using fingers or a tool to apply pressure to acupoints on the body to balance circulation and stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities,” Alvarez explains. It’s similar to acupuncture, the technique using thin needles that many people are familiar with, except that there aren’t any needles. Instead, the practitioner simply uses their fingers to apply firm pressure to certain meridian spots thought to correspond with specific ailments, injuries or pain. It’s so simple that Alvarez says she often teaches her clients to do it on themselves, providing a quick and easy way for them to get some immediate relief and calming when they need it.

 One of her favorites that she recommends to athletes is the Gathering Valley (Large Intestine 4) acupoint found on the hand between the thumb and 2nd finger. “Applying pressure to this area is great for relieving any type of pain in the low back, whether it’s from deadlifts or PMS,” she says.

Conclusion

Welp. It’s been over a month since I wrote the article and the only one I’ve tried is EFT (and that was years ago). BUT at least now I’m open to them. I’d try any of these once. Okay, except maybe the Gua Sha because seriously, doesn’t that look like it hurts??

How do you feel about Traditional Chinese Medicine or other alternative therapies in general – you a little leery like me or totally into it? Have you guys tried any of these therapies? Do you have an “alternative” therapy or technique that you swear by? I want to hear all about it! Also: Anyone guess the picture??

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin April 26, 2013 at 12:32 am

Shockingly enough, I did guess the picture! Not because I’ve ever experienced such a therapy (I’m sorry, I will not pay someone to smack me with a spoon. I got enough of that in my naughty childhood), but i’ve read about it in my internet travels.

I have personally just seen a naturopath who specialises in iridology, the study of the eyes. She believes that like feet, the eyes are connected to all of the systems of the body and can say a lot about what’s going inside of us. Sounds a little woo-woo, I know, but I’m trying to keep an open mind!

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Kay April 26, 2013 at 1:06 am

I’m a nonbeliever through and through. Yoga has helped me relax, but that’s due to the breathing exercises and not because of some body energy magic. All the stretching does wonders for my back too! It’s way better than a massage.

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Ralph Blunk April 26, 2013 at 3:25 am

I have several Asian friends who convinced me to try Acupressure therapy. My friends told me that it is the traditional Tibet alternative medicine before the discovery of Acupuncture. Believe me, I felt relieved after the therapy. It’s like you have been drugged and can’t feel any pain at all. Also, I would like to try other alternative therapies to know if they are really effective. :-D

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Redhead April 26, 2013 at 5:15 am

Ummm no. Paying someone to pass their hands *near* you to send energy? Just give me the massage already, instead of waving your hands around while I’m in the room!
I do like prevention when possible (who doesn’t?) and I think anything where you are laying or sitting in a dim room meant to be relaxing for a period of time with your cell phone turned off will have a relaxing effect on you for those reasons. But the things you’re paying someone to do? Nope.
Then again, while I do love me some yoga, I will not see a chiropractor – too many lawsuits where chiropractors (who don’t go to medical school) get their “adjustment”/back popping slightly wrong and cause partial paralysis. (But not to worry! I tried one once and he told me he could cure paralysis just by cracking my back! I definitely didn’t go back)

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Katie April 26, 2013 at 5:25 am

I guessed the picture. I’ve had it done to me and living in Vietnam as a child, everyone does it as a treatment for illness, although not to that extreme in the picture. You’re supposed to do it along certain lines of muscle in the body and not randomly all over the place. Whoever did that mess up there has not a damn clue. They’re doing it wrong *shakes head*.

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Naomi/Dragonmamma April 26, 2013 at 6:29 am

Bacon Man!!
Gua Sha sounds an awful lot like the Graston Technique. Wanna see a demo? (You know you do!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGeM-DuDmo4

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Michelle April 26, 2013 at 6:45 am

My husband was hurt in an accident at work and could hardly walk he was in so much pain. The pain medication he was one made him a complete lump – he doesn’t remember a 3 week period of time at all. He doesn’t like taking pain medication but in this instance did not have a choice. His doctor’s office was next door to an acupuncturist who had studied in China, and because he was high on pain meds I was able to convince him to give it a try. We were both skeptical but had nothing to lose. It worked! Combining acupuncture, cupping and massage so deep that he was shouting at times made him able to stop the pain meds. He will never be 100% but we will always be grateful to that practitioner for the help she was able to give him

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malevolent andrea April 26, 2013 at 7:05 am

I’ve had gua sha, but just on an ankle. I had sprained it and for months after it was healed, it would still randomly swell up. I was telling my acupuncturist about it and she suggested we try the gua sha. The fact she was doing it with an actual soup spoon kinda cracked me up, but it didn’t hurt or anything. In fact, it felt like what we massage therapists would call (and is probably the Chinese equivalent of) cross-fiber friction. In any case it apparently worked, because that ankle never swelled again. Or maybe it was just coincidence.

I’m a big fan of acupuncture in general. It helped me a lot with anxiety and other symptoms during perimenopause.

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Renée April 26, 2013 at 8:05 am

I actually started seeing an atlas orthogonal chiropractor last summer after getting fed up with physical therapy for a chronic hamstring. I’d go to PT and they only ever worked on the hamstring area, it would be better, so I’d try to pick up my pace and immediately the pain would flare, so I looked for a whole body alternative. Traditional chiropractic gives me the oobies, so I looked elsewhere and discovered a form of chiropractic called Atlas Orthogonal, where they start with the atlas bone…the skinny vertebrae between skull and spine…and work down. You don’t even feel the adjustment…until later, when muscles begin to complain about being moved back where they belong…but after a few sessions my hamstring pain disappeared and so did the slouch I had begun to notice in pictures. They combine the adjustment with massage, either by hand or with a percussor, to encourage the muscles to relax and move.The adjustment of the atlas is also known for improving balance, and since I have had such good results I found a similar doc near my in-laws, as my 79 year old FIL has been experiencing imbalance for a couple years (to the point where he feels the need to use a cane to keep his balance!) and modern medicine couldn’t identify a reason. They told him to drink more water….riiight. After only a few weeks he was doing and feeling better, and continues to go…doc says they are working to get rid of the cane. I have to say that I am very happy I found this procedure. BTW, I did consider acupuncture as a man I work with had recently started going for back and neck pain, and he’s a huge fan of the person he goes to, but for now I’m sticking with whats working for me.

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Abby April 26, 2013 at 8:20 am

I unintentionally tried hot cupping once. When I was in Beijing we went to a place to have foot massages, which were pretty Western feeling except at the end they put cups on the bottom of the feet. My feet tend to be super sensitive but it didn’t hurt, it just felt bizarre. My feet definitely felt less sore and more relaxed but not sure if that was the massage or the cups.

As for traditional medicine in general, what can I say? I’m a scientist through and through. I tend to believe more in what I can prove (like how certain herbs providing benefits can be proven via their chemical makeup) and lean more towards thinking that what can’t be proven is a placebo. Not that a placebo can’t be powerful or that there’s anything wrong with it but well, I like science. The only time I would ever criticize traditional medicine though would be in the case of parents rejecting Western medicine that would help their children in favor of it.

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Leth April 26, 2013 at 8:39 am

I regularly go to a chiropractor and I’ve just started going to an acupuncture school for treatment with acupuncture and cupping. I’ve had an injury affecting muscles and nerves for several months, and so far the only thing that’s seemed to make much impact was acupuncture and cupping. Definitely now thinking about trying the active release technique.

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Laura April 26, 2013 at 9:07 am

Ok, I’m a nurse in a hospital. I have been super skeptical my whole life over alternative routes. In fact my coworkers would smirk and laugh at the weird patients and their families who did alternative junk at the bedside.

Then desperation happened. ( I think that is when people open their minds to other ideas.)
I am no longer a skeptic. I am doing emotional coding and I have NOT felt this good in years. Whereas a few months ago I never felt worst.

I became open to the idea when I saw my sister who was suffering from horrible depression (she couldn’t do anything but rock back and forth on the floor) and my niece who was diagnosed with a serious kidney ailment…..get better. My sister with depression is not only better, she is more alive and fruitful than I have EVER seen her be. My niece is still not 100%, but she is 75% better.

I read Dr. Bradley’s Nelson’s book, “Emotional Code” last month. It wasn’t until I read it that I actually saw the science behind it and became open minded. He explains how it works and why it works in such a scientific and matter of fact way that it convinced me. I now am going to one and doing a lot of EFT’s on myself. IT WORKS!!!! I feel so good. And when I feel anxious and down, there are techniques I can do on myself and I feel wonderful!

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Nicholle April 26, 2013 at 10:41 am

I have had bad experiences with western medicine, so I tend to be willing to try alternative therapies. I’ve had good luck with acupuncture and (self-administered) acupressure. I swear by ART–it hurts like crazy but always works for me. I have a massage therapist who does great deep tissue massage but is also certified to do ART and he keeps me going when my body starts to break down. I’m on the fence about chiropractors–I’ve had good ones and bad ones over the years. The best one also had an animal practice on the side (mostly racehorses, who get back problems from always running around the track in the same direction). However, a friend’s mom was nearly killed by a chiro–his neck/head manipulation caused her to have a stroke. I also do reiki (mostly on myself) and, if nothing else, it’s really relaxing. I think that, if conventional therapies aren’t working, people should be open to trying some of the alternatives, but some research and forethought is required.

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JavaChick April 26, 2013 at 11:08 am

My husband – who is deathly afraid of needles – has had acupuncture and said it worked. My father-in-law has talked about using acupressure for something – I think it was headaches.

My feeling is that some of it works, but I admit that some of it seems pretty unlikely to me.

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Alyssa (azusmom) April 26, 2013 at 11:58 am

Back in the late 80′s, when I was in college, I sprained my back. I tried EVERYTHING, but the only thing that helped was the chiropractor. I chose one who had a lot of training, and I think I lucked out.
I also started hearing about other alternative methods, things like Alexander Technique and another (which I can’t remember the name of and it’s driving me nuts, lol!), which are gentle techniques for spinal alignment. And Rolfing, which is a not-at-all-gentle technique. I haven’t tried anything painful, because I REALLY don’t wanna!
I’ve used reflexology for headaches, and found it very effective. Yes, I occasionally take painkillers, but for the amount of headaches I get during PMS I’d have to take them by the handful, and I’d prefer not to damage my liver.
And, as you know, I’m taking a pretty intensive EFT course right now, and it’s working wonders! Seriously, in 20-plus years of trying various techniques, I’ve never found anything that works as well as this. I’m FINALLY letting go of stuff that’s been plaguing me my entire life.
I think there’s a good mix of eastern and western medicine out there. Each can learn something from the other.

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Laura April 26, 2013 at 12:31 pm

I totally think EFT is amazing!!!! I’m thinking of becoming certified. I want to yell it from the rooftops! . #SeeMyAbovePost

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Kati April 26, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Acupuncture and cupping are the BEST! Nothing else worked to fully address my lower back pain until I tried acupuncture. Drugs, physical therapy, and the chiropractor simply did not treat the underlying muscle imbalance like acupuncture did. I’ve also had acupuncture to treat plantar fasciitis and headaches with good results. I refer all of my friends to my acupuncturist and several of them have loved it as well. I’ve had a gua sha treatment on my legs and it looked nothing like that and did not really hurt much at all.

While I have a science background, I also believe that there are some things which science simply can’t explain. We don’t fully know why acupuncture, but it does. That’s enough for me!

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Nicole April 26, 2013 at 1:45 pm

My chiropractor uses something known as the “graston technique”, which sounds very similar to Gua Sha. She uses it along side ART. Put lotion on whatever is sore (in my case my ankle/calf around my achilles tendon) and then scrape the ever-loving sh*t out of it! SO painful…but it really works. Just like ART.

The interesting thing about acupuncture is that there are so many different ways of doing it. I’ve had it from physiotherapists, chiropractors and traditional Chinese medicine doctors. The chiropractors incorporate parts of TCM, but also are focusing on tight or inflamed points, not just energy points (and I like their approach the best). The physiotherapists were probably the worst- they only left the needles in for 5 min and didn’t seem to have any exact science to where they placed them.

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Leah April 26, 2013 at 7:45 pm

You mean that guy’s back isn’t made of bacon?

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Liz April 26, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Before jumping into any of these, please check them out at the Science-based Medicine website (sciencebasedmedicine.org). Scan the list of categories on the right side of the page. The articles are written by Doctors and examine the clinical evidence behind acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, reiki, chiropractic, etc. There is no evidence (beyond anecdotal) that these alternative treatments work any better than placebo. But don’t take my word for it, please read what these doctors have written on any treatments that interest you.

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Joemama April 27, 2013 at 3:12 am

I think a lot of the eastern stuff is whack. I also think a lot of western medicine in whack, too. My mantra is research, research, research. (And not just testimonials on the page of the service you want done.) Use your brain, research the treatment, and research the one giving it to you. The only “alternative” thing right now that I feel comfortable with is going to a chiropractor, which, even though they don’t go to medical school to get an M.D., go to a minimum (if they are legit) of 4 years of college to obtain a D.C., Doctorate of Chiropractic. (Just like a vet or physiotherapist wouldn’t have an MD, but obtain the doctorate or masters in their own field.) There are literally dozens of chiros in our little town, but only one I feel comfortable seeing, just like there are scores of medical doctors in our little town, but I only trust two of them. Why? Because I researched and used my brain and instincts. I might try acupuncture if I felt comfortable with the practitioner, but that might me about it. I’ve really never heard about the other stuff before. Looks like I have more research to do!

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Angie April 27, 2013 at 10:01 am

First off, love your blog! I always love seeing it come up in my email! Second, if you are interested in any of these healing modalities, reiki is an excellent one to get your feet wet if you’re a little uncertain. It’s very gentle and the healer doesn’t even have to touch you if you aren’t comfortable with that. Your body only accepts what energy it needs or what you’re open to so there is no possibility of side effects other than maybe feeling a little dizzy right after the treatment. I love it :)

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Tim R April 27, 2013 at 10:49 am

That looks pretty painful! I don’t agree 100% with all of the Eastern approaches to health and wellness, but I certainly think many of them are quite beneficial. I’ve had back pain for years and have seen a chiropractor for the past 2 years or so with mixed results. I started doing yoga and daily stretching routines about 4 months ago and have to say that I feel better than I have in 20 years. I attribute this to the yoga practice. My western doctor just wanted to prescribe pain pills, which I have no interest in taking. I wish they would recommend things like yoga and other eastern practices for people to try before pushing drugs.

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TITLE Boxing Club Thornton April 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Great post! I know that to a lot of people, Western medicine seems the only answer. But you have to stop and think, how long have humans been on this earth, and how long have we had Western medicine. Obviously something they were doing before worked!

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Jen April 27, 2013 at 4:43 pm

This is a really interesting post. I had never heard Gua Sha. If it takes weeks for the marks on your body to go away, that just seems too intense. ART, on the other hand, I believe is a pretty standard physical therapy practice and I think something along those lines was used on me to treat a running injury with positive results.

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Jessica April 28, 2013 at 9:09 am

Jesus that doesn’t look great. Great post anyway, my question is really whether those marks that can probably take weeks to disappear is worth it.

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Casey Kay April 28, 2013 at 10:39 am

I don’t think I would go for something that makes my back look like a giant piece of bacon, but acupressure has always seemed interesting to me. The whole idea that applying pressure to one area could help relieve pain in another is kind of fascinating. Probably because I try to avoid medication as often as possible.

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Josie May 1, 2013 at 4:22 am

I’ve tried acupuncture a few times for my bad back and it has helped, although I have to keep doing it.I was a little squeamish at first – hate needles – but I didn’t feel any pain. If you’re going to use acupuncture make sure its a qualified practitioner. The way I see it is – if its not putting toxic chemicals in your body, its worth a look at.

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Shawn May 2, 2013 at 12:32 am

I am a fan of EFT. I really do think a lot of the problems that we have with our bodies is a result of the baggage of negative and stressful thoughts we hold in our minds. Releasing these thoughts through this process is very effective if practiced properly.
I also think that you should have included meditation on the list. It is slowly becoming more and more accepted in western culture. Of course there are many different kinds of meditation, but healing the body through the posers of the mind with meditation is a very serious and legitimate practice.

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