Health Education Library / Alternative and Complimentary Therapies

Welcome to the comprehensive medical library of Western Rockies Interventional Pain Specialists. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any condition or treatment, please contact Western Rockies Interventional Pain Specialists. To schedule an appointment please call (970) 858-2562

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is a way to increase circulation to tense, strained muscles and other soft tissue. Behind this treatment is the belief that improved circulation and relaxation lead to better health and well-being. Before you decide whether to get massage therapy, talk with a massage therapist. Asking him or her some of these questions may help you make an informed decision:

  • What is your training? How long have you been practicing?
  • What massage techniques do you use?
  • Have you treated problems like mine?
  • What can I expect on a typical visit?
  • How long will treatment take and how much will it cost?
  • Do I need to prepare in any way?
  • Will I need to undress?

Massage therapy can be used to increase blood flow, relax muscles, relieve stress, and revitalize the body. The method of massage that's used depends on the goal. It may include vigorous kneading and rubbing. Or it may be a more subtle, gentle touch, such as light tapping. Massage therapy may be done using a wide range of techniques. The type you have depends on the massage therapist's training as well as your preference. Here are some common types of massage therapy:

  • Swedish massage: Long strokes and kneading motions to relax muscles
  • Sports massage: Various techniques to enhance athletic performance and aid recovery after exertion
  • Oriental massage: Pressure applied to targeted points to enhance the body's own healing energy
Resources:
  • American Massage Therapy Association 847-864-0123 www.amtamassage.org
  • National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork 703-610-9015 www.ncbtmb.com
Why Seek This Care?

Massage therapy can relieve many aches and pains. Your discomfort may have come from simply going about daily tasks or after doing physical activity. No matter what the cause, massage therapy may give you a boost in circulation as well as pain relief. This may help you feel both relaxed and revitalized. Other benefits may include improved joint motion and reduced stress.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic is one of the most widely used forms of complementary care. Behind this treatment is the belief that your body responds to adjustments made to your spine. All body function at some point involves the nervous system. Chiropractic works from the idea that if your spine (which protects major parts of the nervous system) has a problem, your overall health can be affected. Areas of spinal inflexibility are called subluxations. Chiropractors make spinal adjustments to try to overcome these pockets of inflexibility. This type of treatment may be especially effective if you have back, neck, or joint pain.

Chiropractors may use other treatment methods in addition to spinal adjustments. For instance, they may use mild electrical stimulation, massage, heat, or ultrasound (soundwaves). But no matter what method is used, chiropractic may be an effective way to improve mobility and reduce pain. Before you decide whether to have chiropractic care, talk with a chiropractor. Asking him or her some of these questions may help you make an informed decision:

  • What is your training? How long have you been practicing?
  • Are there any risks to chiropractic?
  • Have you treated problems like mine?
  • What will a typical visit be like?
  • How long will treatment take and how much will it cost? Is your treatment generally short-term or long-term?
  • Will health insurance or compensation coverage help pay the bill?
Resources:

Discuss with friends and family any experiences they may have had with chiropractic. The people who know you are often your best resource. Also research chiropractic in your local library, on the Internet, or by contacting:

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine. Behind this treatment is the belief that energy (or "life force") flows throughout your body. By improving that flow, you also may enhance your health. Before you decide whether to have acupuncture to treat a health problem, talk with an acupuncturist. Asking him or her some of these questions may help you make an informed decision:

  • What is your training? How long have you been practicing?
  • What risks do I need to know about?
  • Have you treated problems like mine?
  • What will a typical visit be like?
  • Do you use disposable needles?
  • Will I feel the needles?
  • How long will treatment take and how much will it cost? Is your treatment generally short-term or long-term?
  • Will health insurance or compensation coverage help pay the bill?
Improved Energy Flow

Acupuncturists focus on a vital energy called chi. They believe that chi flows through a complex network of pathways (meridians). Thin needles are inserted into the body at precise locations called acupoints. This can then unblock or improve the flow of chi through the meridians. Depending on which acupoint is targeted, the health effect may be different. In some cases, heated herbs may be held near an acupoint. Using herbs in this manner is called moxibustion. Acupuncturists are trained to spot problems with chi flow early. They do this by asking health questions, checking your pulse at the wrist, and by looking at your tongue. Using this diagnostic process helps them locate a problem sometimes before you can tell that something's wrong.

Why Seek This Care?

A committee of the National Institutes of Health (a U.S. government agency) has said that acupuncture may be effective for treating certain conditions. These include addiction withdrawal, pain, nausea, and some other health problems. Acupuncturists will often treat an even wider range of conditions. For instance, acupuncture may be done to treat anxiety disorders or depression, among many other conditions.

Resources

Research acupuncture in your local library, on the Internet, or by contacting:

  • American Association of Oriental Medicine 866-455-7999 www.aaom.org
  • Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Alliance 866-698-8994 www.aomalliance.org
  • National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine www.nccaom.org