Which alternative medicine is most effective

The 10 best alternative healing methods

The 10 best alternative healing methods

Expert tips on naturopathy

Naturopathy is more time-consuming than conventional medicine - and the patient has to take an active part. “But our scientific data prove that it is more sustainable,” says Professor Dr. Andreas Michalsen, chief physician of the Naturopathy Department at the Immanuel Hospital in Berlin, where conventional medicine is combined with various scientifically based alternative healing methods. The chronically ill in particular benefit from this treatment. Dr. Volker Schmiedel, chief physician at the Habichtswaldklinik in Kassel and author of the book “Naturally healthy! The self-treatment book ”(Haug) is convinced that holistic therapy that involves the patient is the best medicine. Both experts helped us to answer the most important questions about the individual healing methods.

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Ayurveda & Homeopathy

Ayurveda: The oldest healing knowledge in the world
How does the therapy work?
The Indian "knowledge of life" is one of the oldest healing systems. Ayurveda assumes that our entire existence takes place in the tension between the five elements earth, water, fire, space and air. These elements are also found in our body, where they form the three so-called doshas: Kapha, Pitta and Vata. Everyone has their own dosha pattern. If it is out of balance, you will get health problems. Targeted nutrition, cleansing cures, oil massages and Ayurvedic herbs activate the self-healing powers.
Who is it for?
“The first German Ayurveda study has just been completed. It proves the effectiveness in back pain, sleep disorders, gastrointestinal problems and states of exhaustion. Neurological diseases such as Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis can also be positively influenced, ”explains Professor Michalsen. Ayurveda cures are offered, for example, in the clinic of Dr. Schmiedel (www.habichtswaldklinik.de).
Is self-treatment possible?
Ayurveda for the home is more about wellness than healing. A full body massage with heated sesame oil is such a feel-good ritual, just like teas that are tailored to your personal Dosha constitution (health food shop). "The great Ayurveda book" by Kerstin Rosenberg (Gräfe & Unzer) offers a good introduction to the subject.
Homeopathy: Healing Similar with Similar
How does the therapy work?
Homeopathy is based on the principle of similarity: In the case of a sick person, exactly the remedy is used that causes the symptoms of the disease in a healthy person. For a runny nose with a runny nose and watery eyes, for example onion is given. But not just like that: The starting substance is heavily diluted and shaken in a special way. It is only through this so-called potentiation that the tablets, pellets and tinctures develop their effect from a homeopathic point of view.


Who is it for?
Homeopathy has proven itself in the case of infections, hay fever and childhood diseases. There is also good success with chronic diseases such as rheumatism.
Is self-treatment possible?
You can treat minor complaints yourself (book tip: “Homeopathy Compass” by Sven Sommer, GU). However, Professor Michalsen recommends contacting a therapist with a diploma from the Central Association of Homeopathic Doctors (www.dzvhae.com): “The homeopathic rules are usually more complicated than they are often presented. Then it can happen that the remedy does not work because you have made it too easy for yourself. "

Kneipp therapy & massages

Kneipp therapy: cold showers, hot compresses
How does the therapy work?
In the middle of the 19th century, pastor Sebastian Kneipp developed a therapy that is based to a large extent on the healing power of water. His book "Meine Wasserkur" made hydrotherapy world famous. It includes over 100 different applications, including casts, wraps, arm baths and rubs. The strong temperature stimulus strengthens the immune system with regular use.
Who is it for?
Kneipp treatments are particularly suitable for prevention and hardening. Circulatory problems, venous disorders and states of exhaustion respond well to the treatment. Positive effects have also been observed on back and joint problems and digestive problems. Cold water applications are taboo for bladder infections and colds.
Is self-treatment possible?
"Real Kneipp cures naturally include the entire healing system - that is, water and heat / cold applications, nutrition, exercise, herbal medicine and order therapy," says Dr. Blacksmith. "The individual Kneipp procedures can be used by anyone at any time." A simple example of hydrotherapy at home is the cold shower at the end of the morning shower. The cold stimulus becomes even more effective with a Kneipp pouring pipe that is screwed onto the shower hose: guide the cold water jet from the right calf to the thigh, then it is the turn of the left leg, right arm, left arm, back and chest. Arm baths have proven to be effective for circulatory weaknesses caused by heat, for example: fill the sink with cold water, slowly immerse both forearms up to the elbows for one to two minutes.

Massages: Effective caresses
How does the therapy work?
From gentle stroking, tapping and pressing to kneading - massages are a means of stimulating healing processes in all cultures. They loosen muscles and connective tissue, promote blood circulation and relax.
Who is it for?
Anyone who feels tense is in good hands in the hands of a massage therapist: Tensions are released, metabolic processes are set in motion, the nerves are calmed. The Japanese Shiatsu massage, in which acupressure points are massaged, brings accumulated energy back into flow. The Chinese Tuina massage has a similar effect and is particularly effective for tension headaches. The craniosacral massage is extremely gentle: blockages are released through gentle pushing and twisting movements on the skull and lower back. Especially helpful with dizziness and jaw misalignments.
Is self-treatment possible?
Some techniques, such as the foot reflex zone massage, can be easily learned in courses or with the help of books (e.g. "Massages: relieve tension - gain new energy" by Karin Schutt, GU). Gentle back massages with a little oil can also be used at home as a partner massage.

Meditation & Phytotherapy

Meditation: the art of switching off
How does the therapy work?
You sit quietly with your eyes closed. With a little practice, after a while, a state of inner contemplation sets in, the thoughts pass by - calm and serenity return.
Who is it for?
Meditation has a very positive effect on cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure as well as on all diseases that are associated with pain. Professor Michalsen: "There are many clear, tangible results that have also been proven in studies."
Is self-treatment possible?
Meditation is best learned in courses. Then you should meditate for 30 minutes every day if possible.

Phytotherapy: The healing power of plants
How does the therapy work?
It has been known since ancient times that many plants contain active ingredients that can help with diseases. The knowledge about the healing powers of plants was collected in monasteries in Europe from the Middle Ages on and is constantly being researched. Around 400 medicinal plants are used to produce medicines - as tea, tincture or in tablet form.
Who is it for?
Today there are many scientifically proven effective phytotherapeutic agents: St. John's wort for mild depression, devil's claw for back pain, hawthorn for strengthening the heart or butterbur for migraines, to name just a few. Tablets usually have a standardized active ingredient content, but the amount of active ingredient in teas and tinctures can vary.
Is self-treatment possible?
“If I have back pain, sleep disorders or a cold, I would always try a herbal remedy first. However, it is important to always inform the doctor, as there can be interactions between conventional medicine and phytotherapy, ”says Professor Michalsen.

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Schüssler Salts & Traditional Chinese Medicine

Schüssler salts: simple, practical, clear


How does the therapy work?
The doctor and homeopath Wilhelm Heinrich Schüßler (1821–1898) was looking for a therapy that would enable laypeople to treat themselves simply and in a targeted manner. His thesis: In every body cell there are mineral salts that control important processes. If their household is disturbed, illnesses arise. Schüßler developed twelve homeopathically potentiated mineral salts. They send signals to the cells to absorb the missing salts more intensively.


Who is it for?
The effectiveness of Schuessler salts has not yet been proven in any study. However, empirical medicine shows good results with everyday complaints such as head and stomach pain, colds, digestive disorders or sore muscles.
Is self-treatment possible?
Dr. Schmiedel: "Due to the limited number of remedies and the clearly assigned indications, the twelve Schüßler salts are an 'abbreviated homeopathy' that can also be practiced well by laypeople." Heepen (GU).
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): Yin and Yang in balance
How does the therapy work?
The millennia-old Chinese knowledge of healing includes acupuncture, herbal treatments, exercise therapies such as Qigong and Tai Chi, as well as nutrition and massage. TCM assumes that health and life energy are fed by the interplay of the opposites yin and yang. To identify the cause of a disorder, TCM doctors use diagnostic tools that seem unusual in this country. The patient is smelled, for example, or tapped in a special way.
Who is it for?
"While herbal medicine and nutrition have priority in China, the most common TCM application here is acupuncture," said Schmiedel. It is mainly used for back pain, knee problems, tennis elbow and migraines. Statutory health insurance companies pay for certain indications. “Chinese herbal medicine is a real treasure chest. In principle, it is worth trying to treat any chronic disease, ”says Professor Michalsen. Since the mode of action is very complex, he recommends leaving the treatment to reputable therapists. You can find them through specialist societies, such as the Societas Medicinae Sinensis (www.tcm.edu) or the German Society for Traditional Chinese Medicine (www.dgtcm.de).
Is self-treatment possible?
While herbs and needles are a case for the experts, Tai Chi and Qigong can be learned very well by yourself - sports clubs and fitness studios offer courses. The gentle, flowing exercises strengthen the immune system and help to reduce stress.

Folk Medicine & Yoga

Folk medicine: from quark packs to onion sacks
How does the therapy work?
In every culture there are traditional home remedies that have been used for centuries for injuries and illnesses.
Who is it for?
Dr. Schmiedel recommends, for example, calf compresses to reduce fever and drinking healing earth for stomach problems. Professor Michalsen is also a fan of home remedies: “You can use them to alleviate many ailments. For all common colds and mild pain, I recommend trying natural remedies first. "
Is self-treatment possible?
Onion bags for ear infections, quark packs for joint pain, hay flower pads for tension and many other remedies are waiting to be rediscovered by you. You will find suggestions in "Now I can help myself - The best home remedies for all cases" by Dr. Jörg Zittlau (Südwest Verlag).
Yoga: Training for the inner center
How does the therapy work?
Yoga is part of Ayurvedic healing knowledge and has been practiced in India for thousands of years. The exercises, during which one often remains in one position, breathing calmly for a long time, give strength, strengthen concentration and relax.
Who is it for?
Yoga has proven itself in back pain, migraines, headaches and osteoarthritis. Sleep disorders, states of exhaustion and mild depression also improve if you practice yoga as daily as possible.
Is self-treatment possible?
It is best to attend a yoga class regularly. This is the quickest way to learn the exercises and avoid mistakes. Of the numerous yoga variants, Professor Michalsen recommends Iyengar yoga, as it is the best medically researched. Book tip: B.K.S. Iyengar, "My Yoga: Relaxation, Fitness, Inspiration" (Dorling Kindersley).

The best medicine grows right on the doorstep. The effect of many medicinal plants has long been known to people - and has now also been scientifically proven ...
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