The simplest definition of alternative therapy is medicine that involves unconventional methods. Alternative therapy has often been criticized by the healthcare ommunity; however, in the 21st century, the use of alternative remedies has been adopted by medical practitioners to complement conventional treatment methods. If alternative therapies are used by conventional doctors, are they still considered “alternative?”
This is an interesting topic for many and should not be discussed without addressing the subjects of ozone and thalassotherapy. During the past century, these two forms of treatment have become increasingly available in healthcare clinics around the world, particularly in the Caribbean and in Europe, for their abilities to have soothing dermatological effects and for their alleged ability to treat a variety of ailments from multiple sclerosis to cancer.
From the Greek word thalassa, meaning “sea,” thalassotherapy is the use of ocean and seawater, ocean climate, marine products, such as algae, seaweed, mud, and other seabased items, for medicinal purposes. Earliest evidence suggests that the therapy originated in the 19th century in England and France. Some claims date back even further to the Roman antiquity era.
The effectiveness of thalassotherapy treatment revolves around the scientific effects of natural elements found in seawater and the effect those elements have on the body. A marine environment is host to minerals and nutrients, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, iodide and magnesium. The combination and exposure to these elements produces the healing effects that people experience after treatment.
Commonly applied through immersion in the warm seawater, mud, clay, seaweed or algae wraps or even through enjoying a seaside massage while breathing in the sea air, the minerals are absorbed through the skin, creating a lasting detoxifying effect.
Benefits of Seawater
The natural healing powers of thalassotherapy help to restore the human body’s natural, chemical and mineral balance because seawater and human plasma have a very similar makeup. As the elements pass through the skin, the body receives a boost to the circulation, increasing blood flow, accelerating metabolism and eliminating toxins.
Although often used purely for detoxification, enthusiasts claim this alternative treatment can be useful in healing many types of dermatological conditions, such as eczema and cellulite, psoriasis, muscle pain, arthritis, assists with stress reduction and, because of the boost it provides to the metabolism, can also lead to weight loss.
The Discovery of Ozone
In 1856, a mere 16 years after scientists discovered its benefits, ozone was used in a medical setting to disinfect operating rooms, drinking water, wounds and to sterilize surgical equipment. Produced through the combination of three atoms of oxygen, O3 is a naturally occurring tri-atomic molecule or a compound found in the upper atmosphere.
It was discovered after Greek scientists noted a peculiar odor, similar to that of chlorine, which occurred after lightening storms. Under normal conditions, ozone is a pale blue gas and is a powerful oxidant with many applications in modern consumer and industrial society aside from the atmospheric benefits it has in preventing ultraviolet damage to the planet.
“The natural healing powers of thalassotherapy help to restore the human body’s natural, chemical and mineral balance because seawater and human plasma have a very similar make-up.”
Produced naturally by white blood cells and other organic species of plants and animals, ozone is utilized by the body to destroy foreign elements. As it breaks down to form dioxygen or O2, ozone releases free radicals which are highly reactive and can trigger other necessary chemical processes in the body.
Still considered by many to be a form of alternative medicine, ozone therapy is the method of introducing the molecule into the body, creating an oxygen-rich environment in which various diseases cannot thrive.
The theory that disease cannot grow in a high-oxygen environment has been a long established medical practice since World War I, when surgeons left wounds exposed to the air to disinfect and promote healing. Today, numerous organizations worldwide including those in Asia, Europe, Cuba and the Caribbean claim benefits of ozone therapy.
Introducing ozone into the body varies among a number of different methods commonly being used today. Various procedures usually involve mixing ozone with other gases and liquids and injecting the formula into the body either directly into the muscle or just under the skin.
Ozone can also be delivered to patients using autohemotherapy, which involves drawing blood from the patient, exposing the blood to ozone and then re-injecting the ozone-rich blood back into the body.
The therapy has been proposed for use in the treatment of more than 150 diseases including:
- Lyme Disease
- Chronic Fatigue
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Heart Disease
Ozone can also be used in dentistry, treatment of herniated discs, on athletes to increase performance, detoxification and to provide a boost to the immune and circulatory systems.
Alternative Remedies in a Modern World
Thalassotherapy and ozone therapy are just two of the many alternative treatments that healthcare facilities and clinics are offering their patients. Alternative therapies often deliver an increased focus on quality of life, relaxation and balance for the patients involved, seeking to restore the physical self and mind with more natural elements, promoting the body to use its own natural processes to heal.
The inclusion of alternative therapies into a patient’s treatment program is often viewed not as a single solution, but a compliment to conventional medicine. This type of complementary medicine is quickly gaining momentum outside of North America as it provides a human touch to an otherwise sterile and pharmaceutically driven medical industry.
Due to the increased focus on alternative therapies in other countries, many patients find themselves travelling abroad to receive such services. Destinations, such as the Caribbean, are finding themselves at the heart of a booming medical tourism industry that revolves around these alternative remedies and complementary medicine.
Today, more than ever, people all over the world are comparing local healthcare services to those offered in other countries, and often they are choosing to travel to get what they perceive as superior healthcare.
In a 2012 poll conducted by global research company Ipsos, 18 percent of those surveyed indicated they “definitely would” consider travelling to another country to receive medical or dental care, and 36 percent reported they”probably would.”
Moreover, the majority of those reporting they would travel to receive medical or dental care are under the age of 50. This means that the largest generation since the baby boomers will likely engage in medical tourism for many years to come.
There are a number of reasons why people travel abroad for medical and dental services. Some want to find the best possible treatment; others to avoid long wait periods in their own countries. Still, others want to receive the same level of medical care for a fraction of the cost.
In addition, many of these exotic destinations offer the ideal backdrop of enticing beaches, tropical weather and wonderful cultural experiences while recovering. This trend has led to the birth of medical tourism agencies, which are full-service travel agents that act as medical facilitators between patients and their doctors and specialists, arranging for accommodations; offering medical concierge services, assistive devices for travellers with disabilities; making transportation arrangements, providing access to alternative therapy centres, knowledgeable counselling, and also arranging other tourist activities and excursions that can make a medical vacation more enjoyable.
Whether patients are seeking medical intervention or a wellness retreat, global medical treatment and alternative remedies are becoming increasingly accessible to the public.
Global HealthQuest (GHQ) connects people to health and wellness facilities around the world. GHQ provides alternative care for those who cannot find an appropriate solution in their own country, or prefer to travel abroad for health and wellness programs and services for one or more reasons.
GHQ is the official representative of select hospitals and wellness sanctuaries around the world, and can recommend an appropriate service and destination, facilitate travel, lodging and leisure activities, and manage the entire process including pre-treatment preparation and post-treatment follow-up and care.
Global HealthQuest’s rigorous screening ensures that approved facilities maintain high healthcare standards, provide exceptional care and maintain a strong focus on each individual’s quality of life.
Like GHQ’s symbol suggests, the serious matter of medical services are combined with the spiritual properties of the lotus flower, to ensure professional, quality care is delivered in a calm, tranquil and balanced environment where true healing can take place.
Add to this the natural setting of a tropical paradise with lush vegetation, sunshine year-round and a constant gentle ocean breeze and you have found the ideal location, which can be considered therapeutic in its own right.
For the uninitiated, the concept of travelling to a foreign land to receive healthcare services may be daunting. Whatever the reason, Global HealthQuest is able to find a solution to address almost every client’s needs. This is why GHQ facilitates every step, and provides all the education necessary to ensure each client or patient makes a highly informed decision and does not encounter anything unexpected.
No GHQ client is ever alone at any stage in the process because trusted staff and international partners provide support and oversight throughout each person’s program or treatment service to ensure complete success and total satisfaction.
Once a person takes the first step to inquire about alternative healthcare services abroad, GHQ makes the person’s health and wellness needs a top priority, explaining each available option in detail. For clients looking to be treated for a medical condition, GHQ works collaboratively with their local doctor and the medical team at the recommended facility abroad to facilitate an efficient exchange of documents and ensure the recommended treatment is suitable and safe.
Accordingly, a plan is then developed to facilitate every aspect of the program or service including travel and lodging and even leisure activities, where suitable if the client wishes to participate.
“Today, more than ever, people all over the world are comparing local healthcare services to those offered in other countries, and often they are choosing to travel to get what they perceive as superior healthcare.”
Upon return to Canada, GHQ staff manages the posttreatment program, which might include physiotherapy, rehabilitation or other service. This ensures clients who have travelled abroad for medical treatments make a full and efficient recovery.
With more than 20 years experience in the field of rehabilitation and disability management, Global HealthQuest believes there is nothing more important than your health and well-being and their goal is to help you lead a fuller, more wellbalanced and healthy life.
If you are interested in learning more about what Global HealthQuest can offer you, please don’t hesitate to contact us:
55 City Centre Drive, Suite 400
Mississauga, ON L5B 1M3
Toll Free: 1-888-542-1054