Nontraditional Health Care Practices
Research different popular nontraditional health care practices. Write a 1,000-1,200-word paper exploring nontraditional health care practices and include the following:
1. Describe nontraditional health care practices in different cultures. Compare at least three cultures.
2. Explain the importance of these practices in providing holistic and quality health care.
3. Identify the nontraditional health care options in your areas, and identify the number of people choosing to use them over traditional medical practices. Propose reasons why the number of people using nontraditional health care options is rising.
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Nontraditional Healthcare Practices
Nontraditional healthcare practices are approaches to individual and community well-being that do not originate from the conventional system of modern medicine and nursing. In some circles, they are referred to as ‘complementary and alternative medicine.’ Nontraditional health practices vary within different cultures based on prevalent healthcare needs and the physical, social, and geographic environment. However, these practices have traversed their cultural origin and permeated modern communities. Conventional healthcare practitioners rely on them to provide holistic and high-quality care. Hence, exploring a few of these practices will enhance knowledge on the origins and significance of the modern healthcare context.
Nontraditional Healthcare Practices in Various Cultures
The Chinese have one of the most prominent nontraditional healthcare systems. While there are actual preventive and curative interventions, traditional Chinese medicine mainly focuses on the spiritual aspect. They perceive the human body as an energy system. The life force, Qi, is constantly moving and changing, and hence the interventions seek ways to promote its flow within an individual. Qi consists of two antagonistic entities, Yin and Yang (Ratini, 2021). Yin is the dark, cold, feminine energy, while Yang is the bright, warm, masculine entity. Balancing the two forces is important to internal harmony and well-being.
Thus, the Chinese use various ways to maintain the balance and flow of Qi. For instance, they practice a martial art skill called Tai Chi. While it has some self-defense benefits, Tai Chi enhances skeletomuscular strength and coordination. Hence, people that perform it regularly can maintain and improve their physical fitness. Tai Chi is also a stress-reliever. The practice entails slow movements, deep breathing, and meditation, which aid in easing emotional and mental tension (Ratini, 2021). Hence, users’ tranquility helps them cope with hardships, resulting in high emotional resilience and better mental health outcomes among the Chinese culture.
Another popular practice among the Chinese is acupuncture. It is a healing and pain-relieving process that involves placing needles on specific points to activate the Qi flow paths (Ratini, 2021). The practice is common among people with low back pain, headaches, and fibromyalgia. Thus, the therapy, coupled with traditional herbs, provides relief and treatment to some common ailments.
Specific medical practices among Native Americans vary within tribes. However, most fall into two broader categories: herbal medicine and spiritual practices. Most Native American communities rely on herbal medicine for various healthcare purposes. For instance, cocoa plants, peyote, and datura provide ingredients for anesthetics (Isaac et al., 2018). Patients with chronic pain from wounds or infections would ingest the medicine to ease their agony. Meanwhile, maguey sap would provide sufficient dressing and antibiotic properties to the injury.
Prayers and other spiritual interventions are also vital to the Native American healthcare system. Sometimes, the treatment process would involve prayers and songs, ideally to ease the patient’s pain and call for religious intervention (Dennis & Washington, 2018). Spiritual practices are also crucial to end-of-life care. For instance, some pray for a fast and pain-free dying process. Elderly community members spend their final days recounting their contributions to families and societies. The purpose is not to document their legacy but rather to remind younger generations of their role.
The Hispanic community mainly refers to people whose native language is Spanish. Outside of Spain (in Europe), there is a huge Hispanic community in South American countries. Hispanics are also the largest ethnic minority in the United States. While the geopolitical variations cause some differences among various Hispanic groups, most still rely on the healthcare practice system called ‘Curanderismo’ (Sanchez, 2018). It is a holistic approach to healthcare and incorporates herbal medicine, temazcal, fire cupping, empacho, and limpias. Herbal medicine involves the use of plants such as the Jatropha dioica Sessé. Ingesting it helps prevent hair loss and treats strokes, acne, and small wounds (Govea-Salas et al., 2017). Another plant, Turnera diffusa, is useful in treating digestive, urinary, and respiratory disorders (Govea-Salas et al., 2017). There are many other herbs within Curanderismo, and their use depends on their availability.
Hispanics also engage in active health practices. For instance, temazcal is a sweating ritual that purifies the body, mind, and spirit (Ohwovoriole et al., 2021). Meanwhile, fire cupping aids in relieving digestive tract pain, and empacho addresses bloating and diarrhea. Finally, limpias facilitates energy and spiritual cleansing, enhancing the practitioner’s mood. Therefore, these practices help the Hispanics maintain their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Importance to Providing Holistic and Quality Healthcare
Integrating nontraditional health practices into allopathic medicine facilitates holistic care provision. Many people rely on these practices for long-term and chronic care symptom improvement. For instance, pain is a major problem for cancer patients. Conventional medicine offers painkillers, but most provide temporary relief. The more effective ones are usually opioids which have detrimental addiction side effects. Hence, nontraditional pain-relieving techniques, such as massage and acupuncture, provide low-risk and efficient pain relief (Gannotta et al., 2018). In so doing, they enhance the care quality by improving patients’ experiences. They also facilitate holistic care since they allow patients to concurrently address the various categories of needs.
Nontraditional healthcare practices also address spiritual needs, which mainstream medicine largely ignores. Spiritualism is often necessary during end-of-life scenarios. Thus, by engaging in various spiritual practices and prayers, the patient and their immediate family find tranquility in the dying process. The patient dies peacefully, and the bereaved can effectively move on without long-lasting emotional damage. Hence, the practices expand complement the allopathic mental health interventions that caregivers offer.
Nontraditional Healthcare Options
Most urban areas in the United States have a wide range of nontraditional therapies. The most prevalent are herbal medicine (from different cultures), oils and ointments, oral supplements, mind and body practices, and acupuncture. These interventions are available in Texas, albeit with various regulations. For instance, prescribing them requires that the healthcare practitioner thoroughly assess the patient to determine the appropriate intervention. However, individual patients can seek some therapies, e.g., massages outside the conventional healthcare framework.
Today, over 50% of Americans have engaged in some nontraditional health practice (Bahall, 2017), (Caballero-Hernandez et al., 2021). However, most do not entirely shun conventional medicine. The increase in nontraditional healthcare practices stems from the need to avoid certain side effects. These practices may also be more readily available than allopathic medical services, especially in rural areas. Nontraditional medicine is also cheaper since it may not require a hospital visit. Finally, it is easy for people to integrate these practices into their daily routines, e.g., taking herbs in tea/coffee or applying ointments. Hence, they pose a lesser adherence burden than conventional medical practices.
While nontraditional healthcare practices stem from specific cultures worldwide, they have become common in most multicultural communities. They effectively provide short and long-term health benefits where traditional medicine has failed or is not readily available. Hence, nontraditional healthcare practices have enhanced the overall care quality that patients receive or seek independently.
Bahall, M. (2017). Prevalence, patterns, and perceived value of complementary and alternative medicine among cancer patients: a cross-sectional, descriptive study. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 17(1), 345. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-017-1853-6
Caballero-Hernandez, C. I., Gonzalez-Chavez, S. A., Urenda-Quezada, A., Reyes-Cordero, G. C., Pelaez-Ballestas, I., Alvarez-Hernandez, E., & Pacheco-Tena, C. (2021). Prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine despite limited perceived efficacy in patients with rheumatic diseases in Mexico: Cross-sectional study. Plos One, 16(9), e0257319. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0257319
Dennis, M. K., & Washington, K. T. (2018). Just Let Me Go”: End-of-Life Planning Among Ojibwe Elders. The Gerontologist, 58(2), 300-307. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnw151
Gannotta, R., Malik, S., Chan, A. Y., Urgun, K., Hsu, F., & Vadera, S. (2018). Integrative Medicine as a Vital Component of Patient Care. Cureus, 10(8), e3098. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.3098
Govea-Salas, M., Morlett-Chavezm J., Rodiruez-Herrera, R., & Ascacio-Valdes, J. (2017). Some Mexican Plants Used in Traditional Medicine. In H. El-Shemy (ed.), Aromatic and Medicinal Plants: Back to Nature. Intech Open. https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/53488
Isaac, G., Finn, S., Joe, J. R., Hoover, E., Gone, J. P., Lefthand-Begay, C., & Hill, S. (2018). Native American Perspectives on Health and Traditional Ecological Knowledge. Environmental health perspectives, 126(12), 125002. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP1944
Ohwovoriole, T. (2021, Feb. 6). What Is a Temazcal? https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-a-temazcal-5101237
Ratini, M. (2021, May 5). What Is Traditional Chinese Medicine? https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/what-is-traditional-chinese-medicine
Sanchez, A. A. (2018). An Examination of the Folk Healing Practice of Curanderismo in the Hispanic Community. Journal of community health nursing, 35(3), 148–161. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370016.2018.1475801