Doctors sometimes can't determine the source of someone's pain or come up with a clear-cut answer about a medical condition that's been bothering a patient. In cases like these, people frequently look outside traditional medicine for a broader range of healing methods.
In modern times, this is called complementary or alternative medicine (CAM). It ranges widely from physical exercise such as yoga to mind-body practices like visualization and meditation. In these disciplines, and many that share a spiritual orientation, the mind, body and spirit are addressed simultaneously to reach all levels of an individual's well-being.
Some of these activities have been practiced for thousands of years in native cultures. Today, the Discovery Channel estimates that 4 out of 10 adults in the U.S. use some form of CAM, not just as an alternative but in conjunction with traditional medical treatments.
Having live psychic readings done to determine where the body's energy points are short-circuiting may be a good first step in deciding to use CAM health methods. While such treatments should only be tried after consulting your doctor, the insight you gain from clairvoyant readings about your inner needs and condition may help you with the healing process.
Some of the most commonly used alternative medicine includes homeopathy, yoga, guided imagery, Ayurveda, massage, meditation, herbal medicine and acupuncture. Some methods rely on diets and herbal remedies, others focus on mental exercises and some involve physical treatments and exercises.
Homeopathic practitioners administer small amounts of herbal-based substances to rid the body of disease and bring it back in balance. Like the holistic practice of Ayurveda in India - another CAM method that's gained popularity in the U.S. - a combination of herbs, diet, meditation and yoga are part of the homeopathic tradition. Many of the vitamins and dietary supplements that Americans take regularly also have their roots in traditional Chinese herbal medicine.
Yoga exercises and massage therapy to improve health and reduce chronic pain are well integrated into the American mainstream after many years of widespread use here. They're also lauded for their ability to reduce stress, ease depression and reduce inflammation.
The two alternative methods have also been credited with reducing certain ailments that are sometimes related to stress, including high blood pressure and asthma. Massage has been cited for improving immune function in HIV patients, easing the discomfort of cancer treatment and reducing pain related to fibromyalgia.
Acupuncture and acupressure have also gained mainstream acceptance as methods of manipulating the body's natural energy, or "chi," to correct chronic pain and related ailments.
While meditation in a variety of forms is well accepted for mental clarity and stress reduction, it's also been cited for reducing insomnia, anxiety, depression, pain, asthma and high blood pressure.
A related activity, guided imagery or visualization, has been found to help cancer patients, stroke victims and those with anxiety conditions. It helps direct attention away from their illnesses during meditation. The underlying belief is that by visualizing images and concepts related to healing, the brain absorbs the activity, which leads to actual healing.