Vitamins, acupuncture, aromatherapy? Are these alternative therapies really useful?

1. Can multivitamins help stave off heart disease and strokes? FICTION

Researchers examined 18 different research studies, including more than 2 million people, to see if multivitamins had any effect on heart disease or stroke.

Unfortunately, there was no reduction in the chance of having a heart attack, stroke or death by taking multivitamins.

There are millions of people who take multivitamins daily, but most of the nutrients found in these pills can also be found in a good old-fashioned high-quality, varied diet.

Stick to the things we know work, like fruits, vegetables, decreasing your saturated fat intake, exercise, and managing your chronic medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.

2. Battlefield acupuncture is a great treatment for pain? FACT

Battlefield acupuncture has been used in the military for 10-plus years as an alternative to treatment with pain medications.

It is being used extensively by the Veterans Health Administration Hospitals and in military settings to help with acute and chronic pain needs.

Developed in the battlefield by a neurologist, it is easy to do, can be taught to many different types of healthcare providers, and can be curative for people and their pain.

It is a procedure using special acupuncture needles in five points of the ear to help with relaxation, reduces inflammatory reactions, and can reduce the pain signals from the body to the different parts of the brain.

The needles stay in for several hours to days and ultimately fall out on their own. The procedure can be done at different time intervals to help with pain relief.

3. Aromatherapies and essential oils are not really helpful for pain and anxiety? FICTION

Aromatherapy uses essential oils which are often derived from flowers, herbs or trees and either inhaled or spread on the skin. It is commonly used with other techniques like massage and acupuncture.

The theory behind how it works is that the oils are inhaled and the chemical bind to certain part of the brain where the smell centers are located.

The use of oils on the skin could also have an effect on inflammation and pain. Although the science is mixed around the benefit, generally speaking, it does appear to help with anxiety, stress, and pain, especially in cancer patients.

Just be careful especially with the oils used on the skin as they are not regulated by the FDA and the formulations can have other ingredients which can interfere with your medication.

There are even some case reports of parents using the oils on small children and having the child overdose on the oils.

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