The herbs, teas, and other ancient remedies of alternative medicine might at first glance seem at odds with the latest technological advances that today’s health practitioners use.
But Nicky Snazell (www.painreliefclinic.co.uk), a physiotherapist, expert in pain management, and author of The 4 Keys to Health and other books, is among those who say there is often overlap between traditional and alternative medicines when it comes to healing.
“These don’t have to be either-or propositions,” Snazell says. “Technology from this century and natural remedies that go back several centuries can both play a role.”
In Snazell’s physiotherapy practice, acupuncture and meditation co-exist comfortably alongside therapeutic lasers, ultrasound technology, and radial shockwave treatment.
“At university I was taught about illness,” Snazell says. “Alternative medicine, however, taught me about preventing illness by studying healthy, happy people, and by asking them how they achieved their optimum health. Time and again the key ingredient was hopeful, optimistic, and proactive thoughts.”
While there remain tensions between traditional medicine and alternative medicine, the divide isn’t always as wide as it once was. The U.S. government even created an Office of Alternative Medicine within the National Institutes of Health, although that office has undergone a couple of name changes over the years. It is now the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
For Snazell, the key word in that title is “integrative.” She says there are a few reasons to consider using the best of both worlds to treat patients:
- The growing opioid epidemic requires alternatives. One of the greatest battles that both traditional medicine and alternative medicine take on is Snazell’s main area of focus – pain. Many patients dealing with chronic pain or injuries desire an alternative to potentially addictive opioids, whether that remedy is from an ancient Eastern art, such as acupuncture, or from precisely engineered machinery, such as Deep Oscillation technology that uses a handheld applicator to create a massaging effect to reduce pain and inflammation. “Where does it say that I can’t use both in my treatment of people and their pain?” Snazell asks.
- Pain has many causes. Snazell says often cracks appear in a patient’s recovery when communication between health professionals breaks down. “This is sad because there is rarely just one cause and one solution to joint pain,” she says. “Teasing out the main problems and matching a unique treatment approach is key to giving someone their life back, and it is unfortunate that a lot of health professionals don’t regard pain in this way.”
- Psychology and biology both contribute to symptoms. “How much we feel pain,” Snazell says, “is governed by our beliefs and moods, as our joint psychology and biology affects every cell in our body.” That’s why meditation can help manage pain, she says. But then, so can pulsed shortwave treatment, which uses high frequency electromagnetic waves to reduce pain and inflammation, increase blood flow, and increase range of movement in joints. Snazell happily makes use of both.
“If you suffer from chronic pain or from an injury, I recommend seeking professional advice in both traditional and alternative medicine,” Snazell says. “I strongly believe that integrative medicine is the way forward, combining the most potent aspects of modern medical practices and complementary therapies.”
About Nicky Snazell
Nicky Snazell (www.painreliefclinic.co.uk), author of The 4 Keys to Health and other books, is director of Nicky Snazell’s Wellness & Physiotherapy in the United Kingdom. She is a physiotherapist and pain specialist. Snazell is the founder of three health companies and still treats patients, embracing holistic physiotherapy, healthy living, and new technology for joint repair.