Whether they're miracle cures or just plain strange, the alternative health industry is rapidly growing. Some patients swear by their naturopaths and holistic treatments, sometimes condemning conventional medicine. From fish that are purported to aid skin ailments to rocks said to be infused with healing powers, we have the low-down on some of the more unusual, emerging alternative health treatments promising big benefits - for a price, of course.
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No, we don't mean Dr. Fish, as in the name of a medical doctor. Rather, doctor fish refers to two species of small fish: Garra rufa and Cyprinion macrostomus, otherwise known as the reddish log sucker, imported from Turkey. These tiny, minnow-like fish are reported to, when your feet are submerged in water filled with them, nibble your psoriasis away.
Rather than promising a cure for the dermatological disease, doctor fish are recommended as a process that will temporarily relieve symptoms, not get rid of them. Visit a spa for a 15-minute fish pedicure for between $30 and $45. Sound a little gross? Well, so are crusty feet.
While oxygen tents have widespread use for respiratory issues in conventional medicine, O2 therapy has been extended to spas and private home use for more vague complaints from patients. An oxygen detox session, for example, is reported to cleanse the lymphatic system, which is part of your immune system. With a monthly, half-hour treatment, alternative healers say patients will enjoy a body with fewer toxins.
How does it work? For about $40, your entire body minus your head is put in a chamber which fills with steam that opens the pores. Oxygen is then added to the mix and is gobbled up by your open pores. Oxygen therapists warn that the treatment should also be combined with regular exercise and a balanced diet in order to work properly. (Learn about paying for more traditional healthcare in 6 Alternatives To Health Insurance.)
Heidi Montag swore by gem therapy in the last season of The Hills, so there must be something to it. Or, it must be ... something. What is it, exactly? It's a treatment where crystals such as quartz are placed in various places on the body to create an all-encompassing healing energy grid. That energy grid is supposed to benefit the body's electromagnetic field by removing "blockages". Different colors of crystals correspond to different chakras - various life energies, like your emotional or astral bodies - so treatments can be tailored to your specific needs.
You can buy your own set of healing crystals online for as little as $20, or visit a certified crystal healer for about $30. If you would rather be the healer, for just $25, you can complete an eight-week course in crystal healing at Florida's Reiki Center of Venice.
Acupuncture point injections or herbal injections are controversial, and are recommended for such varied uses as muscle and joint pain or in conjunction with cancer treatment. It's exactly what it sounds like: fluids like herbal extracts and vitamins are injected directly into the body - normally at acupuncture points - with a syringe. Just as in regular acupuncture, the points are chosen depending on the illness being treated. Although it may not sound that risky, there have been cases of herbal injections gone wrong - and even causing death. (Learn about getting affordable healthcare; read Get Sale Prices On Healthcare With Discount Plans.)
Treating your mental health or behaviors with hypnotherapy has become increasingly popular, but it's also used to treat physical symptoms like pain. Hypnotherapy is more than just getting very sleepy - the British Medical Association among other associations have deemed it to work to relieve some symptoms suffered by many patients.
But if you're thinking about choosing this type of treatment, you have some homework to do. Whether you're trying to quit smoking, ease stress or excel on an exam, there will be an enormous range of registered hypnotherapists to choose from with a variety of backgrounds. And there will also be many techniques to choose from, be it age regression (when you return to your childhood state) to repetition (when an idea is suggested to you - you guessed it - over and over again). The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis has approximately 2,000 members.
The Bottom Line
Before you choose any type of treatment, whether it's alternative or not, you should always ask lots of questions and do your research to make sure you understand the risks involved with what you're doing. (Perform a thorough checkup to uncover a medical stock with a clean bill of health. To learn more, see Investing In The Healthcare Sector.)
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