3 Effective Alternative Therapies for Chronic Illnesses

Chronic illnesses are, unfortunately, long-lasting illnesses with no readily available cure for those who suffer them. Depending on the illness and how advanced it is, people can be mildly inconvenienced by its symptoms or find themselves unable to fulfill daily activities altogether.

A vast number of chronic illnesses have been formally identified by science, and each afflicts individuals in unique ways. Some may experience chronic pain, fatigue, and depression, while others can lead a relatively regular life with proper treatment.

Some of the most common chronic illnesses are:

  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Crohn’s disease

Many of these debilitating conditions already have some form of therapy or treatment that helps patients manage the symptoms. Some ailments resort to science-backed alternative therapies to mitigate their symptoms.

There are other conditions such as:

  • CIRS
  • Mold Sensitivity
  • Chemical Sensitivity
  • Chronic Lyme Disease

These conditions are still undergoing numerous studies to find their root causes and possible permanent treatments. The truth is that the chronic illness field of medicine is constantly evolving and reinventing itself to find new ways to identify and efficiently manage these diseases.


CIRS, also known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, is a progressive multi-system illness caused by exposure to biotoxins. The excessive immune response leads to inflammation across multiple organs.

Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker leads the efforts behind the discovery and research into CIRS. Several ongoing studies are currently underway to determine the root cause and possible treatments for this chronic illness.

Mold sensitivity

Mold sensitivity is another chronic illness with ongoing studies that seek to determine its root causes and possible treatments. Currently, there is a mountain of scientific evidence that indicates that mold spores can cause allergies and asthma-related symptoms such as:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Runny nose or nasal congestion
  • Throat irritation
  • Skin rash

According to the CDC, long-term mold exposure can aggravate these symptoms and cause the body to develop chronic illnesses such as asthma. However, mold sensitivity refers to any chronic non-allergic response to mold exposure. It's fair to point out that science has confirmed and documented non-allergic rhinitis; however, non-allergic responses to mold exposures are currently under study.

While the Medical College of Wisconsin has published a study that confirms that some individuals have experienced symptoms caused by toxic mold, these cases were found to be rare.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) is another chronic illness currently being studied and documented by modern medicine. This syndrome is reportedly caused by low-level chemical exposure, and its symptoms can range from mild to severe, as is often the case with chronic diseases. These symptoms manifest in three categories: gastrointestinal, respiratory, and nervous system problems.

A study documented that 12 out of 35 patients with occupationally related MCS had seen major life shifts directly caused by its symptoms. 97% had refused to conduct activities outside of their homes, 89% had dramatically decreased their social interactions, and 77% had left a job recently.

Currently, the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology, the American Medical Association, and other organizations have rejected MCS as an established organic disease, pending future studies, which are still ongoing.

Chronic Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is an infection transmitted by ticks infected with the Borrelia Burgdorferi bacterium. Chronic Lyme Disease is a term used to describe symptoms in people who continue to experience symptoms typical of Lyme disease, despite treatment.

Many physicians prescribe oral antibiotics such as doxycycline or amoxicillin to treat chronic Lyme disease, but studies confirm that additional antibiotic therapy is not only ineffective, it's also potentially dangerous to the patient.

The NIAID has conducted three placebo-controlled clinical trials to confirm these findings. Patients with PTLDS (Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, also known as Chronic Lyme Disease) reported constant pain, decreased cognitive function, and fatigue. These carefully designed studies failed to demonstrate that prolonged antibiotic therapy is beneficial and that additional research must be conducted to find the causes behind Chronic Lyme Disease.

A recent publication by the New England Journal of Medicine states that between 10-20% of people who are treated with standards antibiotics will continue to report symptoms after they complete their treatment. This publication has prompted additional studies to find the root causes behind chronic Lyme disease.

Alternative Therapies for Chronic Illness

Until further research on these emerging chronic diseases is published, many patients resort to alternative therapies to manage their debilitating symptoms. Here are some of the most effective alternative therapies you can try today!

Regular Exercise

One of the most effective forms of alternative therapies is regular exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise offers critical health benefits for those that suffer from chronic diseases.

For instance, patients with diabetes that follow a well-defined workout routine can help their bodies lower their blood sugar levels, control their weight and boost their energy throughout the day. Asthma patients can exercise to keep their symptoms under control, and even Arthritis patients can maintain muscle strength and reduce joint stiffness with a planned exercise routine.

There is no blanket solution or workout regime for chronic illness patients, which is why it's important to consult with a physician before engaging in regular exercise.

As a rule of thumb, accumulating 30 minutes of physical activity throughout the week and gradually increasing it will yield incredible results and help patients effectively control their symptoms and alleviate pain.

Integrated Medicine

According to the Mayo Clinic, recent evidence points that Integrative Medicine is an excellent complement to conventional medicine. Integrative services can help people with chronic illnesses, such as fibromyalgia, cancer, and many other conditions, manage their symptoms and significantly improve their quality of life.

Integrated medicine considers all the elements that influence a patient's well-being and uses conventional and alternative methods to boost the body's healing response. All of its treatments are based on proven science and use a plethora of resources to mitigate pain, anxiety, and fatigue, all of which are common symptoms related to chronic diseases.

Healthy Dieting

Including high-quality, real food should always be a primary goal. Following a high nutrition diet will improve your intestinal ecosystem and help with autoimmune disorders while lowering the number of chemicals and toxins your body has to filter.

When it comes to liquids, it's recommended that you drink at least two liters of pure filtered water a day and complement them with organic herbal teas with documented medicinal properties. Stimulants such as coffee drinks, energy drinks, and sodas are best avoided to lower the burden on your detox organs.

Vegetables and fruits are some of the best allies in managing chronic illness symptoms. They provide incredible nutritional value, and some fruit smoothies come with anti-inflammatory properties that can help control flare-ups.

Lowering your oil, meat, eggs, fish, and dairy products intake may also help those with a weak gastrointestinal tract, bad flora, and weak pancreas. Fermented dairy products such as yogurt are great substitutes since they offer vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and enzymes that your body needs.

Packaged foods, pre-made mixtures, and processed food, in general, should be avoided. Food such as pizza, chicken nuggets, ketchup, and sugary food must be rare treats in your diet.

Closing Words

Patients with chronic illness often face a life full of challenges. These ailments come with debilitating symptoms that take a toll on their body as well as their spiritual and emotional well-being.

Many of these alternative therapies leverage the body's innate healing response to keep these symptoms in check to make these patient's day-to-day life more comfortable. They serve as an excellent complement to a patient's prescribed medical treatment and should be part of a holistic approach towards managing a chronic illness.


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