Using Alternate Therapies to Treat Chronic Diseases

When it comes to medical treatments available to us, there are undoubtedly many good things about living in the 2st century. We enjoy the benefits of life-saving surgical procedures that would not have been attempted even a few years ago. We have better and wider access to information about the kinds of lifestyle choices we should be making, and we have a huge variety of medicines and alternative remedies at our fingertips to help us overcome a myriad of every day illnesses and ailments.

Yet despite all this, we are sicker, fatter and dying younger than ever before, and chronic illness, a term that used to only describe a handful of serious diseases, is now applied to a growing band of increasingly common, life-threatening conditions. Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), insomnia, psoriasis, asthma, stress…almost all these “modern” additions to the chronic disease stable can be prevented – and thus treated - by educating ourselves on proper nutrition, exercise, and how to reduce stress in our everyday lives.


The Rise of Chronic Illness

The rise of chronic disease began around the middle of the previous century, but has really risen in prevalence over the last 40 years. The US National Centre for Health Statistics defines chronic disease as one lasting for three months or more, and they require an entirely new management approach to that which is applied to infectious diseases.

While most infectious diseases can be controlled, or at least managed, with vaccinations and antibiotics, chronic diseases cannot generally be prevented by vaccines or cured by medication. Nor, however, do they just go away by themselves. Chronic diseases have multiple risk factors which need to be taken into consideration when deciding on the best treatment plan. Some chronic illness is genetic, and can therefore not be controlled. The ones health practitioners see most often are, however, preventable, and the way to cure them is usually very patient-dependent – relying on significant lifestyle changes being made. 


The Role of Alternate Therapies

Conventional, prescription medication is often expensive, and there are frequently unwanted side-effects which come into play with long-term use. For these, and other reasons, many people decide to explore alternate therapies when it comes to treating their chronic illnesses. There is documented proof, for example, that acupuncture can effectively treat or significantly improve chronic pain and fatigue, nausea, headaches, fibromyalgia, obesity, arthritis and infertility.

Autoimmune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia are thought to be caused by extreme stress, possible exposure to toxins in the environment or at home, or nutritional deficiencies. In addition to the prescription of natural herbs to help with pain management, other alternate therapies used to manage and improve these conditions are soothing exercises such as swimming, walking and yoga, as well as advice on proper nutrition, and stress-reducing exercises.

There is still some resistance towards treating and managing chronic illnesses with alternate therapies because it involves more effort on the patient’s behalf than simply taking a cocktail of pills every day. It requires a genuine desire and commitment to get better by adopting healthier lifestyle choices. This can be difficult for many as it means changing long-ingrained habits.

Dr. Alain Sanua is a qualified doctor with additional qualifications in Homeopathy and Acupuncture. He’s passionate about Integrative Medicine, so why not talk to him about how you can use alternate therapies to treat and manage your chronic illness? 


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