Alternative Medicine is a term which covers many different skills, some ancient some new, which aim to heal people mostly by re-establishing balance in the whole human person; body, mind, and spirit. The methods which the different arts use are very varied. Some use massage styles, some use crystals, some use herbal medicines, some use spiritual energies. All of the skills are strongly influenced by the oriental philosophies, both Chinese and Indian, and by the ideas of the "new age " philosphy. Some are completely oriental; for example shiatsu is a totally Japanese skill, derived from the Chinese acupuncture, but uses finger pressure instead of needles.
Alternative Medicine has most success with chronic illnesses, where orthodox western medicine fails. Orthodox western medicine has most success with acute illnesses, arising from accident or from long neglect of the balance of the whole human being.
I learned to do two alternative methods of treatment; Therapeutic Massage and Reiki.
Therapeutic Massage was taught to me by the college of Holistic Medicine in Glasgow. There they teach the "Swedish Style" of massage. The course, however, is about more than just technique. Students learn about the Chinese idea of "Chi", the Universal energy which is in everything. They learn how to recognise the flow of Chi in the patient and just as importantly in themselves. Just as importantly, because it is necessary to distinguish between one's own emotions and those of the patient during the massage. Attentive awareness of how the treatment is going, how the patient is, and what is a suitable continuation of the treatment, is very important for a therapeutic masseur.
The following healing arts are also intresting:
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