When you contract an illness, your first step is to take medicines. But sometimes, medication alone might not make you well. In rare cases, you can even be allergic to a specific drug, limiting your treatment options. Is it possible to treat an illness without taking drugs?
Do You Really Need Medication?
Some people believe it is. But doctors don’t recommend scrapping medication altogether. Most of them suggest combining conventional and complementary treatments instead. This can lessen a patient’s adverse reaction to drugs while recovering quickly.
But why do drugs cause adverse reactions anyway? This doesn’t apply to all drugs or all patients. Instead, some immune systems mistake drugs for a harmful substance and thus create antibodies against them. This causes an allergic-like reaction that makes specific drugs unsafe for some patients.
Some common medications that can cause allergies are antibiotics, aspirin, insulin, HIV, and antiseizure medication. If you or a patient can’t take these medications, it doesn’t mean they should stop medicating for good. You can use other variations of the drug instead. Besides, the reactions caused by many medicines aren’t real allergies. They’re just side effects that range from mild to severe. Still, they can cause more significant discomfort for patients to try complementary treatments instead.
With that in mind, these three types of medical treatments might help:
1. Integrative Medicine
Effective integrative medicine (IM) combines complementary and conventional treatments. It is holistic, so it doesn’t just treat the disease but the whole body. Receiving this type of treatment will allow you to cleanse your body, mind, and soul.
The complementary therapies are usually grouped into three key areas: nutritional, psychological, and physical. The nutritional approach includes herbs, vitamins, mineral supplements, and probiotics. With this approach, a healthcare practitioner might provide patients with a customized diet plan to help treat their condition. The patient can be subject to stress-reducing practices like meditation, hypnosis, or art therapy for the psychological approaches. And lastly, the physical approach might involve some muscle manipulation. For example, if a patient requires treatment for back pain, they can receive chiropractic therapy.
The use of IM is growing among cancer patients. And it’s proving effective so far. For instance, a 2018 meta-analysis has found that breast cancer patients experienced decreased fatigue from anticancer treatment after receiving IM.
If you like to try IM, consult your doctor first. Don’t skip this step because some nutritional approaches to IM might pose risks. Vitamin K, for example, can reduce the potency of warfarin, a blood-thinning medication. So if you’re taking that exact medicine, make some considerations.
2. Alternative Treatments
Alternative treatments are the complementary treatments in IM. They include acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, energy healing, and herbal medicine, to name a few. These treatments are popularized in Asia, especially in China, where acupuncture dates to 6,000 BCE.
Seeking alternative treatments isn’t automatically considered IM. That’s because some conditions can be treated with alternative therapies alone. Back pain, for example, doesn’t always require medications. A good chiropractor can realign the spine in one or more sessions. Some reality shows have even shown patients with extreme spine disorders getting fixed by chiropractic therapy and nothing else.
Also, you don’t need to have an illness to seek alternative treatments. You can get them just because you want to de-stress. Wellness centers can give them to clients with or without a diagnosis. But if you have a diagnosis, you need to talk to your doctor before undergoing any alternative treatment.
3. Regenerative Treatment
If you’ve survived a severe chronic illness, like heart disease, some of your tissues have been permanently damaged. Similarly, if you’ve sustained an injury before, your muscles or bones might’ve been forever altered as a result. Regenerative treatment aims to reverse those kinds of damage through medication and procedures.
One form of regenerative treatment is stem cell therapy. It administers cells into the body to heal any tissue that has been damaged by disease, age, or injury. Other regenerative treatments are still underway, so stem cell therapy is the only one readily available. But complex organ transplants, like replacing a human organ with a machine, is also considered regenerative. Doctors resort to this if a disease has damaged your organ irreparably.
In some cases, doctors might replace a damaged organ with an animal’s, like what happened recently. The first successful operation of this nature was of a 57-year-old man with terminal heart disease. Doctors replaced his old heart with a pig’s to save him.
Thanks to treatments like these three, patients can have more options when helping themselves heal. And fortunately, western doctors have welcomed these complementary treatments. They might become more common and thus more affordable for all patients in time.