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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lifestyle: Alternative Medicine.

Ah, alternative medicine. Defined by answers.com as "A variety of therapeutic or preventive health care practices, such as homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, and herbal medicine, that do not follow generally accepted medical methods and may not have a scientific explanation for their effectiveness." Alternative medicine is always going through various turns, sometimes being scoffed at, other times treated as something of a grail...no one really seems to be able to make up their mind about it.

Alternative medicine is tricky...but earlier this week, when the flu I had last week developed into a sinus infection and I didn't have money for a doctor, I started Googling. My search led me to natural remedies, not only for sinus infections and other infections but for...basically everything you could imagine. I stumbled upon oil pulling, and after reading up on it all over the internet, decided to give it a go. I bought my organic sesame oil and started yesterday morning...I'll blog about how it goes.

Anyway, I think it's important to approach natural medicine with the same balanced perspective that we strive for in all other areas of the anti-anxiety diet. There have been advancements in medicine that can not be equaled by a natural equivalent, and that is a fact. However, going to the doctor for every cold, flu, and headache is costly and largely ineffective. Doctors were incredibly helpful when I needed surgery on my ankle, and incredibly ineffective when I needed help with issues that were a little less clear cut. There are times when seeing a doctor is your best option, and that shouldn't ever be ignored.

However, there are also times that a simple, natural, or old-fashioned remedy might be just exactly what you need. The entire anti-anxiety diet, for example, is a form of alternative medicine. It wont have the same effect as anti-anxiety drugs, but some people (like myself!) are looking to avoid those effects. I don't think that diet alone can be a cure for anxiety...but it can be the first step in creating and maintaining a lifestyle as free from anxiety as possible. The foods that you eat will help your body and mind function at their best...which in turn will help to alleviate anxiety and give you a chance to focus on correcting other aspects of your out-of-balance life.

I've grown up in a family that used alternative medicines and remedies while still visiting the doctor when necessary. Perhaps I can thank my mother, grandmother, and aunts for instilling the idea in me that natural and alternative medicines can be very helpful, effective, and reasonably priced. At the end of the day, it's worth it to try something, to see if it works. My large bottle of organic sesame oil ran about $10, but if it has half of the good effects that other user reported? It will have been more than worth it.

There can be a concern of over-usage with alternative medicine. I think it's important to bear in mind that very little good can come from extremes. Now, if you are dealing with a very severe illness, then perhaps extremes should be taken. But for the average person with perhaps uncomfortable but not life-threatening problems, a balanced use is best. Taking too much of any vitamin or herb can become toxic. Drinking too much water can cause you to drown internally. Don't take anything to an extreme, practice moderation and control, and your alternative and natural remedies can be extremely effective.

As for oil pulling...we'll see if it's effective. I'll write next Wednesday and let you know!

-The Calm Cook

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