A is for Alternative Therapies, Part 2

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Whether you simply need to relax, have chronic pain or an acute condition that needs treatment, there is an ‘outside-of-the-box' therapy to help. Mylinh Nguyen, B.Sc., N.D., D.N.M. from Inspired Life Health Centre created this guide of alternative therapies for Green Living readers. This is Part Two of a two-part series on alternative health treatments. If you missed Part One, click here. How to Before staring your chosen therapy, be sure to check with your family doctor. Your alternative practitioner should have a current registration and be able to provide references from a respected and impartial third party. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has online tips for finding a qualified practitioner as well as ongoing research about various alternative therapies. Infant Massage Infant massage increases bonding and relaxation between parent and baby. Done in a supportive and comfortable environment, it uses gentle pressure on your baby's soft tissues with or without oil. You should attend a qualified instruction session specially tailored to suit the needs of moms, dads, expectant parents, grandparents, siblings, extended family and other caregivers where key components are taught – you want to be able to perform infant massage at home! Infrared Sauna Therapy Because the infrared sauna has highly beneficial therapeutic properties, it may be used for joint and soft tissue repair, muscle relaxation, detoxification, cardiovascular conditioning, weight management and overall pain relief. Even though it uses dry heat and lower temperatures, people sweat 2 to 3 times more than in traditional wet saunas. So whether you are looking to help deal with arthritis or just relax, try out a few infrared sauna sessions, you will be surprised at the quick results. Meridian Stress Assessment (MSA) By using acupuncture points on the hands and feet, MSA testing can assess many things -- from food sensitivities to mineral or vitamin deficiencies. This non-invasive testing involves the patient holding a brass rod while the technician applies pressure with a stylus (pen-like device) to points on the other hand or foot connected to a computerized system. Many people use MSA as a tracking tool to find out how they are improving or give the report for their practitioners to incorporate the results into a treatment plan. Muscle Activation Techniques (M.A.T.) MAT is a non-invasive treatment process that identifies and corrects muscular imbalances that can cause chronic pain and injury. A MAT practitioner uses muscle testing, palpation (checking for tissue texture) and reinforcement exercises to treat causes of pain. Pain caused by repetitive stress injuries, especially work-related physical stress can be treated with M.A.T. Naturopathic Medicine Naturopathic medicine is a complete form of medicine involving diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease using natural substances, such as plants, to heal the body. A Naturopath is similar to a family doctor but rather than prescribing drugs, they will use a variety of other treatment options ranging from nutrition, herbal medicine and homeopathy, to acupuncture and lifestyle counseling.This natural form of medicine assesses and treats each person on an individual basis to formulate a comprehensive plan tailored to each person's specific needs. Finding the root cause of a health challenge rather than just covering up the symptoms is the foundation of Naturopathic Medicine. Psychotherapy Psychotherapy, also referred to as counseling, involves in-depth conversations with a therapist. As you present information to the therapist, the therapist offers ideas and theories about that information. During sessions with the therapist, you gain insights and understanding into your life, understand certain reactions and let go of feelings rather than suppressing them. Often emotional conditions like fear, addictions, anxiety, depression or low self-esteem are lessened and you can have a more positive and balanced life. Registered Massage Therapy A massage therapist uses hand pressure on different parts of the body to help release muscle tightness and tension. It is an alternative health option to help alleviate discomfort associated with everyday and occupational stresses, muscular overuse and many chronic pain syndromes. Massage therapy can also help painful muscles and the development of chronic problem areas, especially if used early enough after accidents involving trauma and injury. Reiki This natural form of healing involves energy work. During a Reiki session the patient lies fully clothed on the massage table while the practitioner places their hands at different positions along their body, usually working from head to toe to run soothing energy through any areas of tension. It's as effective for relaxation and stress management as well as for pain relief. This is Part Two of a two-part series. Read Part One here. Mylinh Nguyen, B.Sc., N.D., D.N.M. received her Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree from the University of Waterloo and went on to earn the Naturopathic Doctor (ND) designation after graduating from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). For more information contact The Inspired Life Health Centre at 416-461-8688.