In this episode we’ll be speaking about alternative medicine (aromatherapy, acupuncture etc.)
Voice message from Pilar from Madrid
Email from Carlos
“I am trying now to get the Cambridge First Certificate, so I was looking for some audios in the internet in order to train my listening skills when I found your podcasts by chance.
I´d like to tell you that not only are your podcasts really useful to improve my listening and grammar skills, but they are also very funny, I have a good time with them. (I really enjoy them).
Actually, I usually go running twice or three times a week and I do that listening to your episodes. Sometimes you guys make me laugh and people who look at me running and laughing. They probably think that I am absolutely crazy.
Does that happen to you Reza, when you’re reading on the bus or train?
Email from Eva Garcia Romo
It’s me again! Sorry, but nowadays I teach English in a wellness clinic to therapists, personal trainers and so on, and I really need your help to talk about vocabulary and expressions in this area.
Would it be possible to have something about this in a podcast?
Thanks in advance for your always kind help.
Wikipedia: “Alternative medicine is any practice that is put forward as (presented as) having the healing effects of medicine,
but does not originate from evidence gathered using the scientific method. Nor is it part of biomedicine, nor contradicted by scientific evidence or established science.”
Examples include new and traditional medicine practices such as homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, energy medicine, various forms of acupuncture, acupressure, traditional Chinese medicine, cupping, Ayurvedic medicine, Sekkotsu, Reiki, Bach flowers remedies, aromatherapy, Alexander technique, crystal healing, Shiatsu, reflexology, chromotherapy/colour therapy and Christian faith healing.
We don’t have time to speak about ALL the difference types, but we’re going to look at four kinds of alternative medicine and see if we believe that they actually work.
We’ll look at HOMEOPATHY, ACUPUNCTURE, AROMATHERAPY and The ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE
To treat (treatment), to treat someone FOR something “I’m being treated for high uric acid.”
Placebo = a fake treatment with no physical/scientific basis for success, often used in clinical trials
(Do/carry out/conduct) research
Pseudoscience – a claim, belief, or practice presented as scientific, but which does not follow scientific method.
A charlatan = someone who pretends (fingir) to know something that s/he really doesn’t
“Mind over matter” = believing that your thoughts can in themselves produce physical effects
To cash in (on something) = to make money from a popular trend or fad
eg. “The shopkeeper is cashing in on the popularity of crystal healing by starting to sell expensive healing crystals in his shop.”
A practitioner = a person who practices (alternative/conventional) medicine
Conventional medicine = not alternative medicine (eg. radiation chemotherapy)
New Age = the modern equivalent of the hippie/flower power movement
What is homeopathy?
“Homeopathy is a natural form of medicine used by over 200 million people worldwide to treat both acute and chronic conditions. It is based on the principle of ‘like cures like’. In other words, a substance taken in small amounts will cure the same symptoms it causes if it were taken in large amounts.
The holistic nature of homeopathy means each person is treated as a unique individual and their body, mind, spirit and emotions are all considered in the management and prevention of disease. Taking all these factors into account a homeopath will select the most appropriate medicine based on the individual’s specific symptoms and personal level of health to stimulate their own healing ability.
Homeopathic medicines are safe to use as they rarely cause side-effects. This means when used appropriately under the guidance of a qualified homeopath they can be taken by people of all ages, including babies, children and pregnant or breastfeeding women.” (source: The British Homeopathic Association)
Homeopathy isn’t just taking herbal medicine. Caffeine is prescribed by homeopaths (under the name ‘coffea’) as a treatment for insomnia.
Wikipedia: Homeopathic preparations are not effective for treating any condition; large-scale studies have found homeopathy to be no more effective than a placebo, suggesting that any positive feelings that follow treatment are only due to the placebo effect and normal recovery from illness.
http://www.quackwatch.com/ – “Your Guide to Quackery, Health Fraud, and Intelligent Decisions”
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine and a key component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) involving thin needles being inserted into the body. TCM theory and practice are not based upon scientific knowledge, and acupuncture is commonly described as pseudoscience. There is a diverse range of acupuncture theories, involving different philosophies. Techniques vary depending on the country. It is most often used for pain relief, though it is also used for a wide range of other conditions. It is generally only used in combination with other forms of treatment.
The conclusions of many trials and numerous systematic reviews of acupuncture are largely inconsistent.
An overview of medical reviews found that acupuncture is not effective for a wide range of conditions. It may be effective for only chemotherapy-induced nausea/vomiting, postoperative nausea/vomiting, and idiopathic headache. It may alleviate certain kinds of pain. Evidence suggests that short-term treatment with acupuncture does not produce long-term benefits. Some research results suggest acupuncture can alleviate pain, though the majority of research suggests that acupuncture’s effects are mainly due to placebo.
Craig has tried acupuncture to alleviate a uric acid attack.
Reza has had success with acupuncture to increase his energy levels.
Improve your speaking with an italki teacher
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the practice of using the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark (corteza), stems (tallos), leaves (hojas), roots (raizes) or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being.
The inhaled aroma from these “essential” oils is widely believed to stimulate brain function. Essential oils can also be absorbed through the skin, where they travel through the bloodstream and can promote whole-body healing. (source: www.aromatherapy.com/ )
There is no good medical evidence that aromatherapy can either prevent or cure any disease, but it might help improve general well-being. (source: Wikipedia)
THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE
The Alexander Technique (developed in the 1890’s), named after Frederick Matthias Alexander, is an educational process that develops the ability to realign posture and to avoid unnecessary muscular and mental tension.
Alexander believed the individual’s self-awareness (conciencia de sí mismo) could be inaccurate, resulting in unnecessary muscular tension such as when standing or sitting with body weight unevenly distributed, holding one’s head incorrectly, walking or running inefficiently, and responding to stressful stimuli in an exaggerated way.
Alexander said that those who habitually “misused” their muscles could not trust their feelings (sensory appreciation) when carrying out activities or responding to situations emotionally.
The effectiveness of the Alexander Technique is uncertain because of insufficient evidence. There is evidence suggesting the Alexander Technique is helpful for long-term back pain, long-term neck pain, and may help people cope with Parkinson’s disease, but little evidence that it helps any other medical conditions.
“The Alexander technique is a way of learning how you can get rid of harmful tension in your body.”
The Alexander Technique is a way to feel better, and move in a more relaxed and comfortable way… the way nature intended.
An Alexander Technique teacher helps you to identify and lose the harmful habits you have built up over a lifetime of stress and learn to move more freely.
The Alexander Technique is for you if you are ready to feel more comfortable in your own body.
The Alexander Technique can also help you if:
You suffer from repetitive strain injury or carpal tunnel syndrome (trapped nerve). (strain = esfuerzo, estrés, esguince, presión, tensión)
You have a backache or stiff neck and shoulders (tortícolis) .
You become uncomfortable when sitting at your computer for long periods of time.
You are a singer, musician, actor, dancer or athlete and feel you are not performing at your full potential.
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On next week’s episode: 9 Spanish words we need in English