What are some complementary and alternate healing therapies?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Some types of complementary and alternative (CAM) therapies are:

• Practitioner-based body manipulation -- acupuncture, massage,
  chiropractic, and osteopathic manipulation  --

Sauna- Your great-grandmother might have suggested that when you
  have a cold or flu, cover your head with a towel and sit over a pot of
  hot water, and she may have been on to something. Spending time in
  a hot sauna may be a CAM remedy that actually has some steam. High
  temperatures of a sauna probably provide comfort because it promotes
  nasal drainage, but it also may make the environment so inhospitable
  for viruses that they just surrender (maybe chicken soup does this
  too?). So if you don't have heart disease or another circulatory
  medical condition, head to the sauna a couple of times a week to keep
  viruses away during cold and flu season.

• Cupping-- In traditional Chinese medicine stimulating acupuncture
  points is commonly used to restore balance to the flow of energy along
  invisible meridians of Qi, the vital life force. The cupping technique
  combines this energy fine-tuning with body manipulation. When heated
  glass cups are strategically placed on top of the skin, suction pulls skin
  inside the cup to increase circulation and stimulate the flow of energy
  in that area. It produces temporary mild bruise-like marks from the
  suction cups.

• Reiki is another popular energy healing therapy, which is typically
  performed by a trained Reiki master. Here the practitioner's light touch
  on, or slightly above, specific areas of the body is used to balance the
  flow of energy throughout the body. The laying on of hands on the
  head, face, neck, chest, abdomen, and back delivers varying degrees
  of natural vibrational "heated" energy as needed, to strengthen the
  body to heal itself. Reiki can also be self-administered

• Natural products (nonvitamin, nonmineral) -- herbs, fish oil/omega 3,
  glucosamine, St. John's wort, echinacea, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, garlic,
  flaxseed, chondroitin, coenzyme Q-10, ginger

• Breath work -- deep breathing exercises, meditation

• Relaxation techniques -- guided imagery, progressive relation

• Body movement -- yoga, Qi gong, Tai chi

• Diet-based therapies -- macrobiotic, vegetarian

This content originally appeared on
William Pawluk, MD
Preventive Medicine
Infra-red Therapy: 

There are two types of infrared therapy: far infrared (FIR) and near infrared (IR).  Infrared is primarily used to generate heat in tissues. In addition to generating heat, FIR/IR also introduce magnetic field frequencies into the body. Infrared, either FIR or IR, does not typically penetrate the body very deeply; usually, within 1-2 inches, a signal is dissipated by interaction with the tissues of the body. When the term infrared is used alone, it generally refers to near infrared. Infrared applications are typically made by local applicator devices. To be technically correct, any frequencies below the FIR and the EM spectrum would be considered to be infrared.  This means that even ELFs would be considered to be infrared.  This distinction makes it important to know what the actual frequency being used is in a FIR/IR system. By common usage, FIR/IR more typically refer to frequencies near the red part of the EM spectrum.


There are essentially two types of laser therapy systems: one is tissue-destructive and the other is tissue-healing/enhancing. The latter is usually called low-level laser. Even laser pointers used for public speaking have tissue effects. Low-level lasers are often used in a similar way as FIR/IR. Their beam is very narrow and focused. Because of this level of intensity they are able to penetrate the body more deeply and can sometimes completely pass through less dense areas of the body.  More expensive, professional high-energy models are more likely to penetrate even thicker body parts, such as the abdomen or lung. Lasers can be used with different colors and therefore have not only the laser light benefits but also may add a benefit or value related to the color being generated. Most, however, are red.


Chelation therapy, IV or oral, creates significant movement of electrolytes, minerals and metals in and out of cells. This movement (especially if it’s calcium, sodium and potassium) may create significant interaction with magnetic field therapy. There is not any extensive research available regarding chelation and MF therapy used concurrently.

Light Therapy:

Light therapy is most typically a whole-body treatment approach.  Specific colors are used for specifically intended actions.  Most light therapy, except for that used for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is often intended for specific actions.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.