Nontraditional Health Care Practices

Most of the oldest civilizations and cultures used and still use nontraditional healing practices to cure diseases and relieve pain. Globally, the implementation of nontraditional healthcare practices to cure various diseases is progressively being adopted by different cultures to replace or instead support conventional medication. Nontraditional medicine can be defined as complementary and alternative medication used in the place of mainstream or traditional medical care. These drugs tend to utilize various techniques that are not implemented by doctors. Deepak et al. (2017) note that most of these techniques tend to use natural energy and body system to heal the body. Lindquist et al. (2018) point out that many cultures have been using these practices alongside conventional medicine. Some of the nontraditional practices adopted in healthcare include osteopathy, Acupuncture, Ayurveda, mind-body medicine, and naturopathic medicine (Jamshed, 2016). This paper’s primary intent is to explore nontraditional approaches in three different cultures and explore the importance these practices have in offering holistic and quality care. The latter part of the paper will also explore various nontraditional care options in my community and report why the community members decided to choose such methods as compared to traditional medical practices.

Nontraditional Health Practices in Three Cultures

Worldwide, some cultures are universally associated with nontraditional health practices compared to others. For example, India and China are known to rampantly use nontraditional health practices as compared to the United States. These cultures tend to pass their skills and beliefs about nontraditional health practices from one generation to another. In various cultures, for example, India, these practices are exercised by specific families within the community. The paper will explore three primary cultures, including the Native Americans in the United States, India, and China (Asian culture).


In the United States, the major nontraditional health care practice is Native American medicine. This type of medication dates back before the United States foundation as a nation, and it is still being practiced. As Cohen (2017) argues, this type of drug combines diet and natural herbs with a good understanding of patient wellbeing and spiritual health. Cohen (2017) adds that the practice manifests well in ceremonies and gatherings. Lindquist et al. (2018) argue that Native Americans’ herbal remedies form a major part of the healing process. Such herbs are used to manage various diseases, including stomachaches, ulcers, wounds, hypertension, and skin issues. The medications are known to stretch past the body’s pains and aches into the spirituality and harmony’s realm. Most of the herbs are gathered from the environments. However, some herbs are not locally available, and they are traded from long distances and can be used to make a modern medication. For example, a willow tree’s bark is used as a pain remedy. This bark contains acetylsalicylic acid used in manufacturing aspirin. The Native Americans believe that human beings are a part of existence and their balance and nature is a matter of balance. Even though few studies on Native American drugs have been done, few researchers have linked modern medicine practices.

India is another culture that largely believes in nontraditional medicine. As Patil &Sapra (2014) note, health practice is known as Ayurveda medicine. Ayurveda’s practitioners believe that people’s health is dependent on a delicate balance between the mind, body and spirit. Deepak et al. (2017) note that Ayurveda is the world’s oldest medication. This holistic practice dates back 3000 years ago and is still currently practiced in India. Unlike in the United States, Ayurveda is rampantly used since the culture highly values traditional practices.   Ayurveda’s main goal is not to treat a specific disease but to promote health. However, Pail & Sapra (2014) study argues that it can also be used as herbal medicine to treat various conditions. Ayurveda revolves around people’s lifestyle, diet, and herbal treatment to ensure good health.

The third culture to be explored in this paper is China. As Lin & Hsu (2013) notes in their work, China is known for Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a healing technique geared towards relieving patients’ pain, curing various diseases, and general health improvement. As Chan et al. (2017) note, this Chinese medicine-based approach involves using thin needles to trigger the skin’s specific points. As a minimally intrusive approach, Acupuncture stimulates the skin surface’s nerve-rich zones to touch tissues, organs, glands, among other body parts (Lin & Hsu, 2013). The acupuncture needles cause a slight injury to the skin that is slightly uncomfortable. However, the slight injury is enough to stimulate the immune system to respond to various diseases and infections. The practice tends to stimulate the immune system that circulates to the injured area, promoting wound healing and pain modulation. Chan et al. (2017) argue that Acupuncture treats many conditions, including allergies, morning sickness, hypertension, insomnia, mental disorders and sprains, among other diseases.

Notably, many people accept this practice because it is effective in pain management since the insertion of acupuncture needles stimulates endorphins production. As Chan et al. (2017) add, Acupuncture acts as an impulse transmission to the central nervous system. In this case, it closes the pain gate hence blocking its transmission in the body. Unlike other nontraditional practices in India and in the United States, Acupuncture has been widely studied, and it’s known for its uniqueness.

Nontraditional Health Practices Advantages

Similar to conventional treatment practices, nontraditional methods have led to positive patients outcomes. As Cohen (2018) notes in his work, many of the nontraditional medicines are the sources of conventional drugs. Many cultures also continue to use various herbs as contemporary antibiotics and antifungals, among other medication forms. For instance, oregano oil has widely been used in making carvacrol and thyme, which are some of the most potent antibiotics and antifungals. Willow tree back, on the other hand, produces acetylsalicylic acid used in manufacturing aspirin. Like Ayurveda and Native American medicines, physical exercise and a healthy lifestyle are known as nontraditional healthcare practices.  After exploring the advantages of nontraditional approaches, it is evident that they are effective and offer holistic and quality care. Additionally, a study by Jamshed et al. (2016) and Tang & Zieger (2018) reveals that nontraditional medicine helps pain reduction and quality of life improve.

Nontraditional Health Practices in my Community and General Usage

The use of herbs has been rampant in my community. The community has herbs to treat various illnesses, including stomach aches and wounds. For example, sage, an evergreen shrub with greyish leaves is used in treating stomach aches—another renowned traditional healthcare practice that my community uses is cupping, which is traditionally traced in China. As Tang & Zieger (2018) add, this technique involves placing cups on the skin that creates suction. Such a suction facilitates the blood flow and hence assists in the healing process. Chiropractic care is also majorly used in my community. This nontraditional practice involves adjusting various parts of the body, including pain reduction, change of the alignment issues, and encouraging the body’s natural ability towards the healing process. Even though the people using nontraditional health practices in my culture are unavailable, it is evident that the practices have many benefits.

In many cultures, the number of people using nontraditional medicine practices has increased. One of the main reasons many people are opting to use is dissatisfaction from conventional treatments, especially when individual health does not change after using all or most hospital-based practices. As explored above, some of the practices involve simple instructions that can be done at home. These methods effectively reduce pain, inflammation, stress and contribute to the patient’s wellbeing. More of such practices take an individualized approach and customize treatment effectively for specific patients suffering from various diseases. Lastly, nontraditional health practices tend to be cheaper and have various choices compared to various conventional health practices.


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Cohen, K.S. (2018). Honouring the medicine: The essential guide to Native American healing. New York: Ballantine Books.

Deepak, M., Suresh, D., Mahendra, S., & Wendy, R. (2017). Herbal remedies for urinary stones used in India and China: A review. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 1(3), 14-17.

Jamshed, S.Q., Khan, M.U., Ahmad, A., & Elkalmi, R.M. (2016). Knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes toward complementary and alternative medicines among pharmacy students of a Malaysian Public University. Journal of pharmacy & bioallied sciences8(1), 34.

Lin, Y. C., & Hsu, E. S. (2013). Acupuncture for pain management. New York: Springer.

Lindquist, R., Tracy, M.F., & Snyder, M. (2018). Complementary and alternative therapies in nursing. Springer Publishing Company.

Patil, V., & Sapra, U. (2014). Clinical Diagnosis in Ayurveda. New York: Ballantine Books.

Tang, C.T., & Ziegler, C. (2018). Alternative medicine and Spine care. In Orthopaedic Knowledge Update: Spine 5 (pp. 175-190). Wolters Kluwer Health.