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Alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine The basic premise behind alternative healthcare is that our bodies use pain as a way to tell us that something is wrong To dull the pain with medication as is typically the course in the practice of conventional medicine does not cure the pain The goal of physicians who practice alternative medicine is to find a cure by looking at the whole person when making a diagnosis rather than just the symptom Alternative medicine is based on the idea that the body is healthy and capable of healing itself Acupuncture is an example of a therapy used in alternative medicine and is discussed in detail below Major Areas of Alternative Therapy Biologically Based Practices Biologically based alternative therapies involve the use of dietary supplements In the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act DSHEA of 1994 Congress defined a dietary supplement as a product taken by mouth that contains a dietary ingredient intended to supplement the diet NCCAM 2005 Some ingredients in dietary supplement products include vitamins minerals amino acids herbs or other botanicals enzymes organ tissues and metabolites Supplements can come in many different forms including liquid tablet capsule and powder Typical use of supplements is for the improvement of overall health and well-being and to support and enhance natural systems in the body such as the immune system to improve performance and to treat illness Manipulative and Body-Based Practices Manipulative and body-based practices focus primarily on the structures and systems of the body including the bones and joints the soft tissues and the circulatory and lymphatic systems NCCAM 2005 Included in this category of alternative therapy include chiropractic medicine osteopathic manipulation massage therapy reflexology rolfing the Alexander technique the Feldenkrais method and others These practices are based on the principal that all parts of the body are interdependent and that the body as a whole can heal itself and involve the specific manipulation of the
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