Guest post by:

Brittney Lang
Athletic Trainer
MUSC Health Sports Medicine

With elite and Olympic athletes in the media, we’re seeing a rise in alternative and complementary treatment methods. Even though many of these methods have been around for years, the recent exposure is giving them new popularity. Because of this, many athletes and individuals now want trendy treatments such as cupping and new methods of sports massage and acupuncture.

There are many different alternative treatments out there such as reflexology, herbal supplements, essential oils, or even chiropractic care. Many of the treatment methods are from all over the world and used throughout history. With the advances in modern medicine over the years, many alternative treatments had decreased but recently many have turned back to more holistic ways once again giving rise to alternative medicine. When considering possible alternative treatment methods there are few things that should be taken into consideration, they are:

Research – Make sure to do plenty of research when looking into a certain type of treatment. There are both good and bad alternative treatment methods. What may work for one person may not be the right treatment for another. Make sure to take into consideration the injury that you may have and any contraindications. One should also make sure to find reputable and established professionals in their alternative fields.

Money – Some of the methods can be very expensive. They may not cost that much initially, though some do, but you will probably need multiple treatments and the cost will add up over time. Now that some treatment methods are becoming more popular like massage therapy and chiropractic care some people’s insurance may help cover some of the treatments, which can help, but there is still usually some cost involved.

Safety – Lastly make sure it is safe. For example, if dealing with acupuncture you will want to make sure that the needles are completely new and sterile and that the practitioner is using proper protective equipment. Or if you are going through massage therapy or acupressure, the health care professional should make sure there are no contraindications. Not just in regards to the particular injury but to other conditions that might be involved like if one is pregnant. The professional should have the best interest of the individual at all times.

Alternative medicine and other treatment methods will continue to progress, especially with more athletes and individuals seeking more holistic forms of treatment. Though some health care professionals may not agree with these alternative treatment methods it is our duty to educate the athlete or individual as well as ourselves as healthcare professionals on other options when it comes to treating an injury. Both modern western treatments as well as alternative treatment methods can co-exist and be used together to achieve the ultimate goal of the athlete or individual when done properly.