A Guide to Popular and Beneficial Alternative Medicine Treatments by Dr. Prem – Types, Benefits, Popularity, Integration in wellness Tourism, and Ethical Considerations

Reiki is a custom of curing through hand healing

How many times has it happened that when you suffer from back pain someone suggests yoga or any such treatment to get rid of it? Nowadays alternative medicines are gaining ground throughout the world. In fact, alternative medicine is any treatment that has healing effect, but is not based on conventional medical treatment.

No ailments can completely be cured with the help of conventional medicine. For chronic ailments and aches people often turn towards alternative medicine for help. Alternative medicine does not only give respite from chronic pains and illness but it also strengthens our body from within and nourishes the bones and muscles. There are many benefits of getting alternative medicine therapies. The therapies and medicines are not synthetic. Natural and herbal medicines and procedures are used to vitalize our body, mind and spirit. There is a host of different therapies that are listed under alternative medicine treatments.

A Guide to Popular and Beneficial Alternative Medicine Treatments by Dr. Prem – Types, Benefits, Popularity, Integration in wellness Tourism, and Ethical Considerations

Why are alternative medicine treatments gaining popularity?

 disease treatment fee charges

One evident reason is the astronomical cost of modern healthcare, people are somewhat dissatisfied with the outcomes. Groundbreaking technological advancements are revolutionizing global healthcare but at the same time it is creating a disconnect between the patients and providers whereas alternative medicines with deep rooted tradition can connect with people easily. Some of these time-tested alternative treatments backed by scientific evidence are brought into mainstream clinical practices along with modern medicine. The holistic approach of alternative treatments address the patient’s condition in entirety not only the clinical symptoms of the disease.

A research survey published by JAMA decades back gives the following explanation behind the growing popularity of alternative medicine treatments

  1. High level of dissatisfaction among patients with conventional medicine owing to adverse effects, too impersonal and costly.
  2. Patients get the personal control of their treatments. Alternative medicine, to them, seems to be less authoritarian. They feel more empowered and better control of their health care decisions.
  3. Alternative medicine treatments resonate with the belief system of the patients. Patients feel more comfortable and aligned with the healthcare philosophy of the alternative medicines.

Expansion of Affordable Treatment Options with Alternative Medicine 


The fact that many well established and eminent hospitals have started opening integrative medicine wings points at the growing social and professional acceptance alternative medicine in the past decade. Alternative medicine has evolved itself to become more effective and beneficial to the patients. 

At least 70% physicians of the world prescribe some alternative treatments or therapies to their patients along with modern conventional medicines. Integrative medicine and complementary medicine offer alternative treatments combined with conventional medicine so that the patients get healed faster and get relief from chronic ailments sooner. 

.Established in the year 1998, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is continuously exploring the possibilities and effectiveness of different alternative therapies. This organization has made alternative medicine more acceptable and encouraged the inclusion of the different scientifically viable alternative therapies in mainstream medicine. Growing costs of conventional medicine has been a big worry for the common working or middle class people. There are millions of people who do not have medical insurance.

These people cannot get proper modern medical attention or treatments. Alternative medicine offers the middle class people a wonderful cost effective way of getting healed. 

Alternative medicine combines a very wide range of different treatments and therapies like, behavioral changes, nutritional changes, Ayurveda, Yoga, meditation, hypnosis, psychotherapy, homeopathy, Reiki, acupuncture, meditation, and massage therapy. 

NCAAM approves the way integrative medicine combines both alternative and conventional medicine to give better treatments and care to the patients. For example cancer patients who are undergoing chemo therapy can get some relief from the continuous feeling of nausea with the help of acupuncture.

Alternative medicine prepares the mind, body and spirit of an individual for receiving the conventional medical treatments. There is no adversity between the two different streams of medicine. Together they can achieve better results and gain more effectiveness. Alternative medicine has not just offered more options but it has also enhanced the abilities of conventional medicine.

Main Types of Alternative Medicine

The CAM or the complementary and alternative medicine is a diverse group of heath care and medical systems, products and practices are usually not considered as a part of the conventional medicine, otherwise known as allopathic or western medicine. Most of the people use both kinds of medicines for good health and well being. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has classified the alternative and complementary treatments under five huge categories. The five main types of alternative medicine are given below.

1. Whole medical systems


The treatments are usually built on the complete systems of both theory and practice. These systems have evolved earlier than the conventional approach of treatment used in the United States. Most popular systems include acupuncture, ayurveda, homeopathy, naturopathic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.

2. Mind and body medicine

vibrations caused by tuning forks

These forms of treatments use different techniques for enhancing the mind’s capacity to affect the symptoms and functioning of the body. Certain techniques that were believed to be alternative like the cognitive behavioral therapy, has become a main type of treatment today. 

Various other mind and body techniques are considered to be a part of the complementary and alternative therapy such as the biofeedback, mindfulness meditation, music therapy, progressive muscle relaxation, relaxation response and yoga.

3. Biologically based therapies


These treatments include the use of various items found in nature like foods, herbs, vitamins, etc. They also include many natural therapies that are not yet scientifically proven. Dieting and use of nutritional and herbal supplements are very important.

4. Manipulative and body-based therapies


Massages are indulgent. However, along with many other kinds of body-based therapies, they are known to be healing too. The techniques used are based on manipulation and movement of the various parts of the body. The techniques include Alexander technique, Feldenkrais, massage therapy, reflexology, rolfing and Shiatsu.

5. Energy therapies

Reiki healing

The energy therapies use the energy fields for treatment. There are 2 types of therapies. One is biofield therapies. They are intended for affecting the energy fields that penetrate and surround the human body. Some forms manipulate the biofields by applying pressure or sing the hands through or in the fields. There is no scientific proof for the existence of such fields. The second is the bioelectromagnetic-based therapy that involves unconventional use of the electromagnetic fields. The therapies include reiki, qi gong and therapeutic touch.

With so many options available, people have a lot of options to choose from the kind of treatment that is more suitable to them. Some people are more comfortable using the alternative medicine than the conventional treatments. Many people who feel that the conventional treatment is not bringing any relief to their disease may look forward to use one of these alternative medicines for finding a cure for their ailments. 

So, it depends on the kind of treatment and how effective it is that people begin to turn towards these alternative treatments. According to the telephone interview conducted by researchers on alternative medicines, the highest number of people who used such treatments belongs to the age group of 25-49 years. They had better incomes and education. So the treatments chosen by the people depend on various factors including availability, cost and treatment methods among others.

Which are the few popular and beneficial alternative medicine treatments?


Beautiful young woman practices yoga

Different Yoga postures help in improving the blood circulation in our body. It improves the flexibility of muscles and eases the stressed muscles. For chronic neck and back aches some Yoga postures are ideal. Yoga can also help in controlling the blood sugar levels in our body and works wonders for the high blood pressure patients. It can also reduce inflammation of internal body parts and helps in controlling asthma.


effect of meditation on brain

The evidence of effect of meditation on brain is becoming more convincing day by day. Patients try to clear their minds of all disruptions and try to focus on even, slow breathing. This relaxing endeavor helps in reducing tension, and is especially known to reduce depression. It helps to improve focus and relieve the effect of attention-deficit disorder.



The use of Ayurveda has been an Indian tradition for thousands of years to improve health and fitness level. Ayurveda treats your body with medicines made of herbs, breathing exercises, special massages and regular meditation. It rejuvenates your core strength and rebuilds the balance between body, mind and spirit. Ayurveda is totally safe as it is natural and there are no harmful side effects. The philosophy of Ayurveda is to enhance the vitality of our life force and thereby immunize the body against diseases.


Massage helps in relieving the tension of the muscles

Too much stress can lead to muscle contraction and chronic pains. Massage helps in relieving the tension of the muscles and improves the blood circulation of your body. For cancer and patients of chronic illnesses massage works wonderfully. It eases the pain of chemo and severe injuries. Massage can heal sports or accidental injuries.


puncturing specific body parts with tiny needles

Acupuncture originated in China but now it is an accepted method of treatment all over the world. It involves puncturing specific body parts with tiny needles for the treatment purpose. The life energy or qi is manipulated by inserting needles at the 400 different pressure points of our body. By enhancing the flow of qi and changing its direction different ailments are treated.

Guided Imagery:

Guided Imagery therapy

This special therapy helps patients focus on a particular image. Guided imagery helps in connecting the body with the mind.

Herbal Medicine

Herbal Medicine

Many herbs have medicinal value. Ancient civilizations have used these herbs in treating many ailments. Alfalfa leaves are used to lower cholesterol, and many kidney and urinary tract ailments. Garlic helps to reduce cholesterol and may reduce risk of cancer as well. Many such herbs lack any clinical evidence. Talk to your doctor before buying these products as many may contain harmful toxins. Buy only those products that are backed by scientific research.

Pyramid healing

Pyramid healing

In this method the pyramid shapes are used to provide power for the mental, physical and spiritual wellness. The curing purpose involves different types of pyramids with a master crystal at the extreme top. Within this pyramid the person suffering has to sit calm in a meditative posture to get a sound solitude from the outside world.


Female therapist giving Reiki treatment to woman at health spa“Do not be angry, do not worry, be grateful, work with diligence and be kind to people.” Reiki is a custom of curing through hand healing. This oriental medicine has two parts to it- Traditional Japanese Reiki and Western Reiki. There is a description of seven major parts of body in this treatment, and their relation with specific points on the hand. Tools that Reiki involves for healing comprise looking, blowing, tapping and touching.


Unani is the practice of healing the disease in a detailed process

Unani is the practice of healing the disease in a detailed process. The practitioner diagnoses health problems by analyzing the temperament and thereafter evaluates the humors (Blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile). The humors are evaluated because these are believed to be powerful enough to change the complete metabolism of the person’s body. Some say it was originated in India while others argue it to be Greece. However, the treatment is believed to be founded by Hakim Ibn Sina. In this therapy, certain herbs and drugs are used.



Chiropractic is another popular alternative medicine treatment where the professionals do adjustments to the spine ( manipulations) and other parts of the body to enable natural healing. The objective is to ease the pains like low back pain, neck pain and headaches. Chiropractors may use relaxation techniques, heat and ice therapies, electrical stimulation, lifestyle counseling and other rehabilitative and relaxation techniques to produce the desired outcome.

What are the Benefits of Alternative Medicine Treatments?

Alternative medicines are considered as the best method to for treatment as they provide a cheap yet effective way to treat various mental and physical diseases. Some of the major benefits of alternative treatment and medicine are:

Reduce pain

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy in beauty salon. Pain relief, normalization and regeneration,stimulation of healing process. Physical therapy for neck and back muscles,spine with shock waves. Young woman wearing protective mask during treatment in salon.

Alternative medicines are considered as best pain reliefs this is the reason that most of the people prefer alternative medicines for their treatment. These medicines are best to treat problems like backache, neck pain, joints pain, and other aches.

Reduced side effects

These medicines have fewer or no side effects and able to treat almost all types of ailments. It generally depends on the medical condition of a person. Some people may allergic to some composition of medicines and this may create some medical problems but they are curative or can be treated in no time.

Chronic disease management


Alternative treatment combines alternative medicines and therapies together and helps to treat various cancers. Many cancer patients have to go through chemotherapy and this has several side effects. Acupuncture can help reduce the side effects like headache, nausea, and fatigue.

Helps in alleviating mental problems

Alternative medicines are able to treat various mental and psychological ailments like migraine, headache, stress, depression, and related problems. Yoga and meditation helps to release emotional blockage in the patient and improves his mental health.

Cost effective

cost effective

There are many people who cannot afford expensive medical treatments and alternative medicines are an opportunity for them. Alternative medicines and treatments based on herbs that are easily available in the nature. Most of the alternative treatments are very cheap yet effective to treat various ailments.

Alternative medicines are an integral part of wellness tourism. They offer quality methods and treatments to treat various ailments at affordable prices. Alternative medicine helps treat and cure a variety of ailments.

Alternative Medicine Tourism: A Catalyst for Wellness Tourism Growth

Woman having oil Ayurveda spa treatment of back pain.Alternative medicine is increasingly shaping the landscape of wellness tourism, with many wellness resorts incorporating these treatments into their programs. The global appeal of natural treatments for serious diseases is driving this trend, as alternative medicine is often preferred for its lack of side effects.

Each year, millions travel to countries like India, China, Thailand, and Singapore seeking alternative treatments. These therapies are trusted more than conventional medical treatments by many, offering a variety of methods to address serious ailments. The rise of Ayurvedic medical tourism is a prime example, attracting patients and wellness seekers, including celebrities, to Ayurvedic spas and retreats.

Alternative medicine encompasses a wide range of therapies that cater to both physical and mental health. This includes ancient healing systems like Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, Traditional Korean Medicine,Thai medicine, Vietnamese medicine, homeopathy, and chiropractic care. These practices are rooted in the cultural and religious traditions of various societies, offering unique and effective healing methods.

As wellness resorts worldwide recognize the demand, they are integrating alternative medicine into their offerings. This trend is not only boosting the popularity of these resorts but also making alternative treatments more accessible to a global audience. People are increasingly crossing international borders to benefit from traditional medicines like Ayurveda, acupuncture, Unani, Sidh medicine, and others, contributing significantly to the growth of wellness tourism.

Criticisms of Alternative Treatments

biotechnology professionalComplementary and alternative practices have received a lot of negative comments and criticism in recent years from healthcare providers and scientists. Those that reject traditional therapies state a practice can only be considered ‘medicine’ once it has gone through scientific testing to prove its effectiveness. 

A famed evolution biologist, Richard Dawkins, claims: “alternative medicine is a set of practices which cannot be tested, refuse to be tested, or consistently fail tests.” Once these practices demonstrates its effectiveness in experiments, it stops being alternative, and simply becomes medicine.

Since western medical practices have gone through the stringent requirements to prove its success, it must disclose all the potential side-effects that occur. Since regulations haven’t been in place to test alternative practices, there might be several undesired side-effects associated with traditional medicine that patients remain unaware of. There could also be simultaneous complications when alternative therapies are used in conjunction with western medicine.

The lack of regulation in the alternative medicine industry worries a lot of healthcare professionals and patients alike. All mainstream healthcare providers are required to have licenses to practice, and medical facilities regularly go through quality and cleanliness check-ups. However, these processes have not translated to the alternative medical world. Any practitioner claiming to be an alternative medicine specialist can set up a clinic without proper licensing, and facilities housing these specialists do not go through proper accreditation procedures.

The only way to get complete approval of government officials, healthcare providers, and integrate alternative practices into mainstream medicine is by:  Licensing all therapists that claim to provide alternative care, gaining proper accreditation for educating future practitioners, regulation of the industry to assure patients the highest quality of products and services are being provided, and proper experimentation procedures to demonstrate safety and effectiveness. 

Ethical considerations for alternative treatment

peptides as a treatment plan through injectionsEthics play a big role when discussing the realm of alternative medicine. Despite the growing demand for alternative treatments, individuals are looking for ‘evidence-based practices’. Unfortunately, many alternative treatments are based on anecdotal references and the practices are passed through generations. Lack of documented evidence puts the practice in question where there are high chances of compromising patient safety. Many alternative treatments have placebo effects that again questions their efficacy claimed by practitioners. 

Secondly, there is a large disconnect between doctors that try and dismiss alternative practices, and their patients that are not disclosing how often they use traditional medicine. This disconnect often leads to a huge gap in communication, hindering the doctor-patient relationship, which could negatively affect the patient’s wellbeing.

The whole issue of alternative medicine not being tested for effectiveness or safety is an ethical issue for care providers and government, as these practices could possibly allow patients to harm themselves. Furthermore, ethics can be used to counter that agreement, as consumers have the right to practice whatever medicine they choose to as a principle of autonomy. This is why regulations need to be made in place, so patients have the choice to practice what they desire, yet it is not detrimental to their health. 

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