4 Key Reasons People Turn to Alternative Medicine to Boost Their Health

Perhaps a friend of yours has told you about an amazing experience with Reiki, or you’ve seen an ad by a local acupuncturist. Then again, pharmacy shelves are now brimming with more than so-called conventional, medical industry approved treatments, giving you so many options when you’re looking for a remedy for an illness or trying to improve your quality of life. What you are looking for is often labelled alternative medicine. It is part of a holistic approach to wellness. So, you’ll find natural supplements and a whole array of healing tools that are based on old, some even ancient methods and techniques of treating the human body and our many ailments.  

Today, these are dubbed “alternative” simply to distinguish between them and those that have been officially accepted by the medical profession, tested, studied, and proven to be effective. One would assume that conventional medicine is more than enough to treat your health issues, be it the need to lose weight or something as chronic as diabetes. Alas, our Western way is often less than 100% effective and really, why shouldn’t we accept that coming at an issue from multiple directions could be more beneficial? More often than not, people will look for additional and alternative treatments to be healthy – and here’s what’s driving them to do that. 

Additional rather than alternative

When certain approved and conventional treatments aren’t as effective as we expect them to be, we’re more likely to research alternative options. But instead of replacing the conventional with the alternative, we use them to complement one another. One common example is the use of acupuncture in sports injuries and pain management. 

Dr. Emily Mammone, Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture Physician, talks about acupuncture as a method to restore your natural balance and equilibrium in your body by stimulating the nervous system with needles. People suffering from allergies or dealing with an injury will often combine conventional pain medication, physical therapy, and acupuncture to heal. 

Versatile application to boost wellbeing

From superfoods to plant-based treatments, there are so many options created with our wellbeing in mind. Some promise to restore your hormonal balance, boost your nutrition and resolve your nutrient deficiencies, while others aim to relieve pain, reduce your exposure to stress, and help your body remain energized. While many are used as preventative tools, most people try these treatments to restore and improve their wellbeing and quality of life, such as, for example, cannabis and CBD-based supplements.

Thanks to recent legalization in many countries across the world, people now infuse their lives with high-quality CBD products that serve more than one purpose. They are often designed to help with pain relief, but also reduce inflammation, stress, anxiety, all the way to improving sleep quality. As a result, both people with existing medical conditions and those who simply want to increase the quality of their lives will reach for these alternative treatments. 

Aiming for the cause, not the consequence

Energy-based alternative healing practices, such as Reiki, appeal to our mindfulness and awareness. People who are dealing with health issues that often don’t have a clear physical manifestation, such as anxiety or pain are much more likely to try such ancient practices of alternative medicine. One of the most common reasons? Because conventional medicine and pain medication have failed them, and they would rather attempt to treat the root cause and not just the consequence. 

As Pamela Miles, an international Reiki master explains: “Reiki is a spiritual practice. Through an unknown mechanism, when a Reiki practitioner places their hands—mindfully and with detachment—it evokes the healing response from deep within the system.” In a sense, such practices allow us to tap into our own self-healing mechanisms, yet unquantifiable by science, to do the heavy lifting of healing. We are all aware that there are healing benefits to touch, and that in fact, humans absolutely need contact in order to stay healthy. It seems logical that that need for connection could translate into a targeted healing practice from somebody willing to devote time to learning how to do it effectively.

In line with your values and lifestyle

We now have so many different lifestyle paths and options to support them that it seems difficult to pinpoint the “best” among them and perhaps we spend our entire lives experimenting to see what kind of mode of living or set of values best reflects our innermost compass. If, for example, you’re a great advocate of living a plant-based life primarily for the sake of greater ecological good and animal welfare, you aim to learn as much as possible about topics such as the use of hemp in modern life and reliable plant-based protein sources.

To you, then, it makes perfect sense to opt for herbs and plants when trying to heal emotionally and physically alike. You’ll research herbal teas dedicated to, let’s say, healing urinary infections or upset stomach rather than immediately making an appointment with your physician or taking over the counter chemical remedies. This is often the most powerful driving force pushing people to choose alternative medicine over conventional treatment options. 


While certain forms of alternative medicine were once the only treatments available, and many are rooted in valuable ancient practices still helpful to this day, the term “alternative” remains to distinguish between them and their modern-day counterparts. 

Some of you may find these treatments helpful and wholesome, while others might feel inclined to stay in line with contemporary medical recommendations. Either way, always consult your doctor before you supplement your existing treatment with any alternative form, to make sure you’re on the right track and on the safe side. While we absolutely advocate natural supplements and practices, it is worth noting that just because something is natural, it doesn’t mean that there can’t be negative side effects or reactions when used in combination with conventional methods. It is best if we encourage western medicine to explore the concept of symbiosis. When you have a doctor who is open to the idea of supplementary medicine, that dialogue can result in complete overall health that takes all aspects into account. 

Peter Minkoff

Peter is a lifestyle writer living between Europe and Australia. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.

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