Types of Alternative Medicine for the Elderly


With the different forms of medicine out there, you may decide to try alternative medicine for seniors. Some types of medicines and therapies can complement you or a loved one's current treatment plan. Many forms of treatment are gaining acceptance as science proves the efficacy of some alternative medicine. As the baby boomer generation ages, there's a growing interest in finding ways to cope with elderly care and aging.

Alternatives to Conventional Medicine

Some people may look at alternative medicine for the elderly as a way to avoid expensive health costs. With rising prescription prices, these alternative forms of treatment may appear more attractive, especially if they can reduce your dependence of medications. Certainly, going to the doctor when you are older is no less unpleasant than it was as a child. Some may choose alternative medicine to avoid these visits.

Alternative medicine may offer a more personal touch for elderly care. Many forms offer the one-on-one treatment which can offer a psychological boost as well as a physical one. Some types of therapies, such as massage and acupuncture, offer the opportunity for personalized care which can be very comforting.

Alternative Medicine for the Elderly

There are several forms of alternative medicine that elderly patients may try. These include:

Herbs and Nutritional Supplements

One of the most common forms of alternative medicine is the use of herbs and nutritional supplements. According to a 2009 report published by the American Botanical Council, sales of herbal supplements in the United States topped $4 million in 2008.As you get older, you are at greater risk for developing chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Herbs may complement your current course of treatment. According to MayoClinic.com, alternative medicine in the form of dietary supplements can help treat potential conditions without the need for prescription medication.

Chiropractic Treatments

If you have severe back pain, you may have been faced with the possibility of surgery. Some back injuries may not respond to rest and pain medications, necessitating more invasive methods of treatment. For elderly individuals, the decision regarding surgery is not an easy choice to make.There are greater risk factors for the elderly patient going under anesthesia, especially if there is a history of liver or kidney issues. However, chiropractic care uses hands-on therapy to manipulate your joints and spine for pain relief. These treatments offer a non-surgical means to treat back pain, neck pain, headaches and other issues.


Another alternative medicine you may consider is acupuncture. To its credit, acupuncture has been practiced for centuries. Practitioners believe that by restoring the proper flow of energy in your body, it can relieve pain and treat certain medical conditions. This is accomplished through encouraging the flow of calming chemicals into your bloodstream. As with chiropractics, acupuncture provides the elderly patient the advantage of a non-invasive procedure which can minimize risk.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy, like chiropractic care, is a hands-on type of alternative medicine. The gentle kneading action can help relieve pain and improve circulation, an especially beneficial feature for inactive adults. There are several forms of massage therapy, each with a particular health goal. Myofascial release massage targets both muscles as well as their connective tissue.

Another benefit of massage therapy is stress relief. When the tension in your muscles is released, it can be a very relaxing experience. To further enhance the stress-relieving properties, a massage therapist may use essential oils as a form of aromatherapy. Essential oils such as lavender and peppermint can both relax your muscles and ease your mental stress.

Consult Your Doctor First

If you choose to use alternative medicine for the elderly, make sure to talk with your doctor. Some alternative medicines can pose health risks if used in conjunction with some medications. Some herbal supplements, for example, may have cause harmful drug interactions with certain prescription drugs. Others may increase your risk of side effects.

Your doctor is your best guide. While alternative medicine can complement your current health regime, it should not be used as a replacement for a sound medical consultation and treatment program.

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Types of Alternative Medicine for the Elderly