What Are the Different Types of Alternative Medicine Therapies?

Lumara Lee

A person seeking help for physical or emotional problems can choose from a wide variety of alternative medicine therapies. Some of these alternative medicine therapies have been used for many centuries, while others developed more recently. Alternative medicine therapies include auricular therapy, chromotherapy, and chelation therapy.

Blue light therapy can help clear up acne.
Blue light therapy can help clear up acne.

Auricular therapy, sometimes known as auricular acupuncture, was developed in France by Dr. Paul Nogier in the middle of the 20th century. This alternative treatment is based on the idea that each part of the ear corresponds to a specific part of the body. If there is dysfunction in the body, the point on the ear corresponding to that part of the body will feel sensitive or sore when pressure is applied. It is believed that applying pressure, massaging, or inserting an acupuncture needle in the appropriate spot on the ear can relieve symptoms of the disorder. For example, massaging the point associated with the endocrine system can balance the levels of endocrine hormones, and applying pressure to the allergy point can reduce allergy symptoms.

Cupping and acupuncture stem from traditional Chinese medical treatments.
Cupping and acupuncture stem from traditional Chinese medical treatments.

Chromotherapy is one of several alternative medicine therapies that employs light as a healing agent. Also known as color therapy, this healing practice is a component of ayurvedic medicine, one of the alternative medicine therapies that developed in the East. Color therapy is based on the premise that each color has a specific healing property, and that by shining the appropriately colored light on a person, emotional or physical problems can be relieved. Chromotherapy employs the following seven colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

It is believed that red light promotes the production of red blood cells and improves circulation, while orange light relieves gastrointestinal ailments. Ayurvedic practitioners use yellow light for congestion and green light for bacterial infections. They say that blue light is an effective treatment for liver disease, that indigo has a sedative effect, and violet induces relaxation.

Chelation therapy is used in mainstream medicine to eliminate lead from the body, and it is also employed in alternative medicine as a treatment for heart disease, connective tissue disease, and hardening of the arteries. During a chelation treatment, an intravenous solution of an amino acid called ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) is administered. EDTA binds with lead and other toxic metals before being excreted. It also attaches to calcium; this is why practitioners of alternative chelation therapy claim that EDTA can prevent cardiovascular problems by reducing the levels of minerals that cause arterial plaque. Some medical doctors dispute this claim.

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