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Change Your Mind, Body & Health
Improve your Health with Holistic and Integrative Therapies
Many people in the United States have been raised and educated to perceive the health of their body as separate from the health of their mind but since the body is made up of integrative systems that control our functions- shouldn’t our minds be included as a major one of these systems?
Gone are the days when “alternative” therapies and doctors are automatically filed in peoples’ heads as closely akin to what our grandmothers and great grandmothers might have called, snake oil and quack doctors.
Many therapies that are referred to less and less as, “alternative,” now are approved by the Western medical community. There is now empirical data to prove the efficacy of many of them. More and more research is being done that indicates that the value of more more and more holistic and integrative therapies will be recognized as medically effective as time goes on.
East Meets West
One example of what was thought of as “alternative” medicine when it first began to gain popularity in the U.S. in the 1970s, is acupuncture. Acupuncture is a theory and therapy practice that originated in China a few hundred years before the Common Era. When acupuncture was first introduced to mainstream culture many people thought it was strange and just for hippies and people from other countries. Nowadays, everyone from your Great Aunt Edna to your child’s kindergarten teacher, to your assistant at work, most likely know people who have gotten help from acupuncture or have gotten help from it themselves.
Part of many peoples’ skepticism about acupuncture stems from, up until the last few decades traditional Western medicine did not recognize the medical value of acupuncture. Much medical literature prior to this time did not report on acupuncture. What little study by Western medical practitioners and researcher was done on acupuncture, did not recognize it as a medically valid therapy or practice.
Even though more and more people in the US had been getting relief from health problems through acupuncture, many western doctors attributed this to more of a placebo effect than a medically sound treatment. One of the breakthroughs for Western recognition of the curative effects of acupuncture is when it was performed on animals. In very simplistic terms, Western medicine began to recognize that acupuncture has real curative properties because they could measure these in animals. At this point, Western medicine acknowledged acupuncture but still did not fully accept it because the systems of the body in Chinese medicine, meridians, did not translate into Western medicine’s understanding of body systems. Once Western medicine began to develop a language to explain acupuncture in Western terms, is when mainstream Western medicine accepted it as a valid therapy.
This and other breakthroughs between the Eastern and Western philosophies has allowed acupuncture to be accepted to the point that most major health insurance companies in the United States have options where they will insure acupuncture visits.
This is just one of many examples of how “alternative” holistic and integrative therapies have garnered mainstream Western medicine’s approval.
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