Alternative Therapies To Manage Chronic Health Conditions

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Alternative Therapies To Manage Chronic Health Conditions

Looking after your health and wellbeing is vital for everyone, but paying close attention to it is even more important if you suffer from a chronic or long-term condition that requires extra care, such as diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or regular migraines. Getting regular exercise and making sure that you eat well and have a balanced diet are all part of managing your health well, but there are specific approaches and alternative therapies you can incorporate into your daily life, alongside traditional medicine, that may help to relieve suffering around a long-term condition. In some cases, it is recommended to speak with your doctor before undertaking alternative therapy.

Managing your health with diabetes


Diabetes is a condition whereby the body cannot properly process food as energy. The pancreas produces insulin, a hormone used to help glucose get into cells. With diabetes your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin as it should, causing sugars to build up in the blood. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US and affects millions of Americans with the number is growing year on year. It is predicted that by 2050, one-third of Americans will have diabetes. Careful continual management of the condition is necessary.

There are two types of diabetes, type 1 may have a genetic root and is responsible for approximately 10% of all diabetes diagnoses. Type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 90% of all diagnosed cases and risk factors include obesity and old age, among others. People living with type 2 diabetes should exercise for at least 150 minutes of strong aerobic exercise at least once a week, and this is important as exercise can reduce blood pressure, improve glucose tolerance and reduce high blood sugar levels. If you have type 1 diabetes, you need to be more mindful when you exercise as you may be at a greater risk of having a hypoglycemic episode.

In terms of diet, diabetics should avoid high sugar foods, and increase their intake of alpha-lipoic acid, a fatty acid, an antioxidant thought to reduce nerve damage related to diabetes. Alpha-lipoic acid is found in foods including spinach, chard, and broccoli. Garlic is anecdotally also meant to help lower blood sugar levels. Taking supplements may assist with managing the condition and new research suggests that taking CBD oil, derived from the hemp plant, can be helpful to treat type 2 diabetes. Cannabinoids improve insulin resistance and lower blood sugar, and cbd dosage for diabetes can also combat depression and anxiety that you may be suffering as a result of your condition.

Managing your health with IBS


IBS is a chronic disorder in which the intestines do not work as they should, instead of causing abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea, and daily discomfort. At least 10% of the US population is living with IBS. Stress is a factor with IBS and relaxing and de-stressing is important for everyone but even more so if you have IBS as suffering from stress is thought to make the symptoms worse. To help your body to relax and ward off stress take up the practice of meditation on a regular basis, which can reduce anxiety and promote feelings of calm and peace.

Or try the practice of yoga that will exercise your body and soothe your mind. Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that has existed for more than 5,000 years and involves synchronizing body movements with the breath and is excellent for relaxing and bringing inner peace. Incorporating regular breathing exercises, such as taking mindful slow deep breaths, will help lower stress levels and can be done at any time or in any place where you feel your tension is rising.

Changes to your diet may help to relieve or lessen your symptoms. For example, caffeine or fatty foods may aggravate your condition, as can spicy foods, dairy, and grains. Try cutting certain foods out of your diet and see if that makes any difference. If not then you can reintroduce them knowing that they are not the cause of making your symptoms worse. Taking peppermint oil may help to soothe your intestine and lessen your symptoms, though it is wise to check with your doctor before taking it.

Managing your health with migraines


Approximately 28 million Americans regularly suffer from migraines, a more severe type of headache where the symptoms might include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sensitivity to light, sounds, or smells. A migraine can typically last between 2 and 72 hours and can be debilitating during that time. In terms of diet, introducing more omega 3 healthy fats, found in oily fish like salmon, can potentially lessen your migraines.

There are many alternative therapies that may help ease a migraine, from acupuncture to imbibing specific herbal remedies. For example, feverfew is a plant that contains parthenolide, a powerful chemical that can help to stop migraines from developing. You can buy supplements, make tea from the feverfew leaves or even chew them raw to get the effect, but you should chew a few leaves each day to hopefully suffer from fewer migraines.

Try and up your intake of magnesium with a supplement as being deficient in the mineral may be linked to headaches and migraines. Many people are deficient in magnesium as once the soil was rich with it but now due to heavy farming and pesticides the qualities in the soil have greatly diminished.

To attempt to stop your migraines once and for all consider getting your daith pierced. Daith piercing has had positive effects on some migraine sufferers, though there is no definitive cure. If you do choose to get your daith pierced you should seek out a migraine specialist to do it so they can be certain that they are putting the piercing in the correct place. Reflexology, the use of specific pressure points on your feet, can also bring relief for migraines and headaches and there are four acupressure points on the feet that when rubbed can bring fast relief and help with long-term improvements, so it is worth visiting a reflexologist to discover if this technique works for you.

As with all these long-term conditions, there is no absolute cure, however, there are ways to manage them, which can make life a little easier and more comfortable.

Maggie Hammond

Maggie Hammond is a retired nurse and freelance writer, exploring and writing in the U.S. in retirement. An advocate for public health and nursing qualifications, she feels passionate about raising awareness of the current strain on public health organizations.



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