Alternative medicine is a term that describes medical treatments that are used instead of traditional (mainstream) therapies. Some people also refer to it as “integrative,” or “complementary” medicine. Some examples include: chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, magnetic therapy, laser therapy, PRP, regenerative medicine and nutrition.

This practice focuses on the body’s structure — mainly the spine –and how it functions. A trained professional called a chiropractor uses different techniques to adjust (“manipulate”) your spine or other parts of your body so that they’re in proper form, or alignment. Much of the research around it has focused on low back pain. But studies show chiropractic can also be helpful for a number of other ailments, like headaches, neck pain, joint problems in your upper and lower body, and disorders caused by whiplash.

Energy Therapies

These focus on the energy fields many people believe exist in and around the body. Included in this category are:

Magnetic Field Therapy. This uses magnetic or electrical fields to treat a number of musculoskeletal problems. Studies show that it may work for osteoarthritis and other pain conditions. Some studies have even shown that it may help fractures heal faster. Magnetic field therapy may not be safe if you’re pregnant, have an implanted cardiac device, use an insulin pump, or take a drug given by patch.

Therapeutic (“Healing”) Touch. Here, a therapist uses his healing energy to identify and repair imbalances in a person’s energy field. Unlike Reiki, the therapist doesn’t touch you. He simply moves his hands back and forth over your body. Research shows healing touch can reduce anxiety in people who have cancers. It can also increase their sense of well-being. But it’s unclear if it works for other issues, as well.

Herbal Medicine

This alternative medicine therapy uses parts of a plant — its roots, leaves, berries, or flowers — to heal the body.