Osteoporosis and Alternative Medicine

Osteoporosis is a disease whereby bones gradually become thinner and weaker until they break easily. Most commonly, people with advanced osteoporosis fracture their hip, spine or wrist. The risk of osteoporosis becomes greater with age. However, osteoporosis can afflict people at any age.

Women are more likely to be affected than men; this is thought to be because of hormonal differences. Osteoporosis does not have obvious symptoms. Years may go by with the bone becoming weaker and weaker until a painful fracture occurs. There is no cure for osteoporosis, however it is a highly preventable disease.

Surgery, High Tech and Drugs

Mainstream, or Western medicine as it is often referred as tends to put an emphasis on synthetic drugs, surgery and treatments that depend on high technology. Alternative Medicine, sometimes called Eastern Medicine as much of it has its roots in India and China encompasses literally dozens of therapeutic practices, approaches, and philosophies, ranging from acupuncture and herbal medicine to spiritual healing and homeopathy.

Some of these therapies, such as acupuncture, are now being used in mainstream medicine. The premise behind alternative medicine is taking a natural approach. Healthcare practitioners and experts alike all agree that prevention is the best medicine when it comes to osteoporosis.

Changes in Lifestyles

Much of alternative medicine in treating and preventing osteoporosis is making lifestyle changes. Alternative medicine is also sometimes referred to as complimentary medicine. A proper diet can do wonders for the body and help to prevent or delay the effects of osteoporosis. Eating natural and whole foods as opposed to processed foods that contain additives and little vitamin or minerals, or refined foods. Eating low fat dairy products, limiting the amount of animal fat that is consumed.

Dietary supplements such as calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, and isoflavones may help prevent osteoporosis and even slow the progression of the disease. Many herbalists and nutritionists might suggest taking herbs or supplements to boost the bodys immunities and ensure a proper balance and adequate amounts of necessary vitamins and minerals. Some herbs that are recommended by herbalists for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis are black cohosh, red clover, kelp, and oat straw.

TCM

A Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner would generally treat osteoporosis with a combination of acupuncture and herbs. According to traditional Chinese beliefs, the kidney governs bone and stores the qi (energy) for bone and marrow.

Osteoporosis occurs when the bone marrow is not longer nourished, and, according to this practice, this results from exhaustion of kidney Yin energy. The acupuncturist would energize the qi at points that stimulate kidney energy. Herbs that boost estrogen levels and provide much-needed minerals for the skeleton would be used also.

In addition, and also recommended by Western practitioners are the practices of qi gong and tai chi, as well as other types of resistance exercise to enhance muscle tone and improve balance and coordination, thereby reducing the risk of falls and subsequent bone fractures associated with osteoporosis. One may want to see a chiropractor as spinal manipulation and gentle techniques may be safely provided to areas of the body that are not affected by osteoporosis.