History of Alternative Medicine
Alternative therapies (practices that have not been proven effective under the scientific method) have resulted throughout history from flaws in modern medicine. These forms of treatment have been prominent for thousands of years because they are gentle and have less side effects than traditional treatment. The following is the history of events that have created what we now term “alternative medicine”, some of which people with lupus will find useful: 3,500 BC – Aromatic medicine can be traced back to a time when ancient Egyptians burned incense made from aromatic herbs, spices and woods to honor gods and drive out evil spirits from sick people. The practice was termed “aromatherapy” in 1937 by a French chemist named Rene-Maurice Gattefosse who made use of essential oils. This practice can be useful for people who suffer from lupus because it may alleviate insomnia and joint pain. 3,000 BC – Originating during the time of the Holy books or the Vedas, “Ayur” means “life” in Sanskrit. Ayurveda is a type of Hindu medicine that focuses on balancing a physical and emotional state. This practice focuses on healing and overall self-improvement with the use of dieting and mental exercises, as the body and mind work together. This can be helpful in the healing of autoimmune conditions. 1300’s – Traditional Chinese medicine originated, including herbal medicine, acupuncture, and massage therapy. The foundation of Traditional Chinese medicine states that the body’s energy, called qi, circulates through channels, called meridians that are connected to important organs. This form of unconventional medicine emphasizes the dynamic between energy and material, and is widely popular to this day for the treatment of pain. Late 1700’s – Samuel Thomson, a self-taught American herbalist and botanist, founded “Thomsonian Medicine” which made use of botanical drugs and steam baths. This form of therapy was seen as a gentle option to treat illness, but is no longer a popular option due to the rise in homeopathy. Founded by a German physician by the name of Samuel Hahnemann, homeopathy involves the prescription of drugs that closely mimic the symptoms faced by the patient, supposedly killing off the disease. Today, lupus patients practice homeopathy because of its effectiveness in healing high blood pressure, migraines, and hair loss. 1895 – Chiropractic therapy, an American form of treatment, was founded by Daniel Palmer who argued that all disease is caused by spinal bone dislocation. Curing the disease “by hand”, mental intelligence could flow more steadily. Today, this therapy is referred to as “complementary” medicine by the medical community because the process results in looser muscles, restored mobility and reduced pain. 1960 – H.D. Kimmel, David Shapiro, and Neal Miller utilized operant conditioning models that allowed people and animals to control bodily processes that normally happen involuntarily. In the process of Biofeedback, patients work with therapists to learn relaxation techniques and mental exercises while electrodes are attached to the skin to monitor bodily conditions. When the patient has mastered these techniques, he or she can practice them on their own to improve conditions like headaches, high blood pressure and chronic pain. Here is what we suggest for those already diagnosed with lupus: Find a balance between Terrain Theory and Germ Theory. Proposed in 1878, Terrain Theory suggests that a person’s “internal environment” and the habits they keep can determine if the body is able to fight off pathogens once they have entered the body. This opposes what is called Germ Theory and what is also used most often today. This theory, proposed in 1864, argues that pathogens should be killed off before they invade the body. Such remedies include vaccinations and modern medicine. Terrain Theory states that diseases can be avoided with proper lifestyle choices, but for those who have already been diagnosed, considerable results have been seen in patients who pair modern medicine with a healthy lifestyle. Consider a diet heavy in fermented foods that help to protect immune systems and fight bacterial infections. In addition, many of the alternative therapies listed above promote the feeling of well-being with the possibility of healing symptoms, so these should be considered as well with the help of your physician.