Alternative Treatments for Physical and Mental Illness

Discussion in 'Health' started by newbie-one, Dec 2, 2020.

  1. newbie-one

    newbie-one one with the newbiverse

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    While there are many alternative treatments, I'm primarily familiar with acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbal medicine. Among alternative treatments, these seem to have the most scientific studies supporting their efficacy.

    Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture is the world’s second largest medical system, serving more than 1.5 billion people worldwide. It is fully incorporated into the public health systems of China and Japan
    Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed Traditional Chinese Medicine. The 11th revision of the WHO's International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) will include Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for the first time. The ICD-11 will come into effect on January 1, 2022.

    The WHO published an official report in 2003 listing 31 symptoms, conditions and diseases that have been shown in controlled trials to be treated effectively by acupuncture.
    World Health Organization Approved List - Relief Acupuncture

    Depression, low back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and many others are on the list. Even if a condition is not on the list, you might consider acupuncture or traditional Chinese herbal medicine if conventional medicine is unappealing or ineffective for your condition.

    Low back pain
    Neck pain
    Tennis elbow
    Knee pain
    Peri-arthritis of the shoulder
    Facial pain
    Dental pain
    Acute and chronic gastritis
    Rheumatoid arthritis
    Induction of labor
    Breech birth presentation
    Morning sickness
    Nausea and vomiting
    Postoperative pain
    Essential hypertension
    Primary hypotension
    Renal colic
    Radiation/chemo reactions
    Allergic rhinitis,
    Hay fever
    Biliary colic
    Acute bacillary dysentery
    Primary dysmenorrhea
    Acute epigastralgia
    Peptic ulcer

    The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced in January 2020 that acupuncture would be covered nationally by Medicare for the treatment of chronic low back pain.
    Acupuncture coverage

    A study published in the British Medical Journal found no serious adverse events occurred as a result of treatment with acupuncture within the study's sample. It estimated serious adverse events to occur less than once for every 10,000 treatments, making it much safer than many conventional medical treatments.
    The York acupuncture safety study: prospective survey of 34 000 treatments by traditional acupuncturists

    There's a list of studies supporting acupuncture here
    AAAOM - Clinical Outcomes

    If you are feeling suicidal, it is important to pursue the conventional treatments under the supervision of a doctor at least until you no longer feel suicidal. If you are also receiving conventional treatments, it is good for both your MD and alternative practitioner to know what treatments you are receiving. It's also a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional prior to beginning any form of treatment if you are pregnant.

    Finding Affordable Treatment: Teaching Clinics and Community-Style Acupuncture

    An increasing number of insurers, including medicare, will pay for acupuncture for lower back pain and possibly a few other conditions, but not all conditions that might benefit from acupuncture.

    Acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbal medicine can be expensive. I think there are cases of practitioners charging $100 or more for a 1-hour treatment, which unless you're made of money, is probably not worth it. As with all treatments, the quality varies with the competence of the practitioner. It's good to shop around.

    Acupuncture schools often have teaching clinics that offer quality, low cost treatment. The best way to find a teaching clinic is usually to search for an acupuncture school near you, then look for a link to a clinic from their homepage. Schools will often have special discounts (e.g., by income, age, veteran status, etc.), or special theater classes (treatments by a faculty member, with a student audience) that are offered for free, though these things are not necessarily well advertised. If you can afford more costly treatments and you don't have a recommendation for a particular practitioner, you might want to select a faculty member at an acupuncture school that has a good reputation (a receptionist or student at the school might be able to recommend one).

    There's also community-style acupuncture. These are treatments usually in a group setting on recliner chairs, or on tables separated by a curtain. Community-style treatments usually don't involve a thorough examination of the pulse and tongue at each treatment, which is usually a feature of other styles of treatment. These treatments (at the time this article was written) usually cost about $15-$30 dollars in the US. You can find community-style clinics by searching for community-style clinics in your area, but there are also two community-style acupuncture organizations that maintain a list of affiliated clinics. has listings in North America, and has listings in the UK.

    You may want to discuss with a practitioner whether acupuncture or herbal medicine would be most effective for you. You may also want to ask how many treatments will be required, and what kind of results you can expect. You'll have to evaluate on your own how much benefit you are getting relative to the costs.

    You may also want to ask if there is any "home work" (i.e, lifestyle changes or self-treatment methods) that they would recommend.

    Will Acupuncture Hurt?

    In my experience, no, at worst you might feel a little pinch. If there are certain areas of your body that you don't want treated, most practitioners can accommodate that. Japanese-style acupuncture uses especially thin needles, and is known for being especially patient-friendly. You can talk to your practitioner in advance about needle-sensitivity issues. Coordinating breathing with needle insertion is one way to make it more comfortable.

    But I'm Afraid of Needles...

    In principle, you can just get some press-needles or something similar plastered to acupuncture points, and then just massage them at home. You can also just try acupressure massage without the plasters, though it may be less effective.

    About Herbal Treatments

    Some acupuncturist will also prescribe herbal treatments, though you may have to go to an herbalist specifically. Many acupuncturists will prescribe "patent medicines", which are pre-made herbal formulas, typically in pill form. These are usually cheaper than custom-made formulas, but you may not have a condition that matches the formula well. Custom-made formulas are more expensive but also more specific. Formulas can come in form of raw herbs, or as powders.

    Formulas typically come with advice about preparing them, and when they should be taken relative to meals.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2021
    mysticblu21 likes this.
  2. newbie-one

    newbie-one one with the newbiverse

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    A few more studies about acupuncture...

    This is an article published in 2016 about a study conducted by a group of scientists from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

    The review focused on U.S.-based trial results on seven approaches used for one or more of five painful conditions — back pain, osteoarthritis, neck pain, fibromyalgia, and severe headaches and migraine — and found promise in the following for safety and effectiveness in treating pain:

    • Acupuncture and yoga for back pain
    • Acupuncture and tai chi for osteoarthritis of the knee
    • Massage therapy for neck pain with adequate doses and for short-term benefi
    • Relaxation techniques for severe headaches and migraine.

    Consumer Reports Article On Treating Chronic Pain

    This article has some information about treating chronic pain
    Real Pain Relief, Now!

    It's from the June 2019 issue of Consumer Reports. I don't know much about many of treatments or advice that they give, but it might be worth reading.

    They mention my pet treatment in the article:
    "Last year, a comprehensive research review published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found good evidence that acupuncture helped with chronic back and neck pain and fibromyalgia"

    National Institutes of Health Evidence Map Of Acupuncture For Mental Health

    This is an article on a web library associated with the US National Institutes of Health, a government agency.
    EVIDENCE MAP OF ACUPUNCTURE FOR MENTAL HEALTH - Evidence Map of Acupuncture - NCBI Bookshelf

    Study Supports Self-Administered Acupuncture as an Alternative to Deliberate Self-Harm

    The study was small, but the results were encouraging.

    "Patients presenting with deliberate self harm can be safely trained to self-administer acupuncture as an alternative coping skill. Acceptability and effectiveness may vary between patients depending on the complex motives underlying their self-harming behavior. While the pilot study was designed to explore the feasibility of the intervention, results from this limited sample suggest that use of self-administered acupuncture may reduce the frequency of self harming behavior and reduce emotional distress as measured using the BDI."

    Self-administered acupuncture as an alternative to deliberate self-harm: a feasibility study - PubMed
    mysticblu21 likes this.
  3. Linda Zimmer

    Linda Zimmer Newbie

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    People with mental illness gets too lazy,, I know it, forget about Excercise, people with chronic depression do not clean the dishes they eat and they don't even take care of themselves, of course Excercise helps but in order to get that Excercise spirit in a depressed person is beyond human,, the only way to cure depression is move on with faith hoping everything works fine, and that is the hardest thing to do, my words only make sense to a person who experienced chronic depression over a very long time, others will never know it, you need to be inside the body of a depressed person to known what it is really.
    mysticblu21 likes this.
  4. JonJRR88

    JonJRR88 Members

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    if folks want to try a natural practitioner, you can try a Holistic MD, an Intregrative Medicine MD or an Osteopath.

    especially if folks are concerned...they are full medical professionals, but will also consider alternative therapies.

    It's a nice balance.

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