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  Alternative Practices (continued from part 1)

Chiropractic is a system of healing taught in its own colleges and licensed in North America under standards set by the Councils of Chiropractic Education & Licensing Boards. It is based on the idea that the human body has an innate self-healing ability and seeks homeostasis, or balance through the spine and nervous system.

Herbal remedies
Herbal medicines are prepared from a variety of plant materials -- leaves, stems, roots, bark and so on. They usually contain many biologically active ingredients and are used to treat a variety of conditions, both acute and chronic. At least a quarter of all conventional pharmaceuticals originated from plant materials. These plant materials were purified to create commercial drug products, consistent in quality and dose. However, the majority of herbs have few scientific studies to support health claims made about them. Much research will be forthcoming in the next several years.

Homeopathy, founded by a German physician named Samuel Hahnemann in the 1790s, is based on the idea that "like cures like;" that is, substances that cause certain symptoms in a healthy person can also cure those same symptoms in someone who is sick. This so-called law of similars gives homeopathy its name: "homeo" for similar, "pathy" designating disease. In his experiments, Hahnemann developed a method of "potentizing" homeopathic remedies by diluting them in a water-alcohol solution and then vigorously shaking the mixtures. His observations of patients convinced him that a high degree of dilution not only minimizes the side effects of the remedies but also enhances their medical efficacy.

Hydrotherapy, or water therapy, uses water in all forms -- ice, liquid and steam -- to promote health and well being. Simply drinking water, washing your face, swimming and putting ice on an injury are forms of hydrotherapy. So are showers and baths, from full baths to foot baths. You probably use hydrotherapy every day in one form or another.

Naturopathy, or naturopathic medicine, provides holistic health care by drawing from numerous traditional healing systems. Its primary goal is to facilitate the body's natural abilities to maintain or restore health. Naturopathic theory holds that physical, psychological and spiritual elements in a person's life all contribute to disease. Therefore, a naturopath pays special attention to each person's lifestyle, current health practices, beliefs and values.

Reference Source 63,92

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