No one can tell you how to take care of your body, but they sure can provide helpful suggestions. My hope is to supplement alternative medicine suggestions. Here’s how to do it: start with better education as to what alternative medicine is.

Few want to pump unknown chemicals into their bodies and take the risk that the medicine could make them feel even worse. Alternative medicine often offers a different mind set and lifestyle to staying healthy and sick-free. When I think about medication, I cringe. Within the last two months, I have made every effort to remove prescribed medications from my daily life.

Katie O’Hurley / Equinox Staff

Katie O’Hurley / Equinox Staff

About a year ago, I relied on anti-depressants to help me get through every single day. When I was sick, I relied on antibiotics. Now, I am thriving through each day just because I have perfected my very own alternative therapy regimen for every single one of my ailments. This lifestyle change is something that I am actually feeling the effects from. I have more energy, I haven’t had to deal with any surprising side effects and better still, I don’t need to use my silly medication holder to keep track of what I am taking.

With any prescribed medications, the weaning process is difficult. However, believe it or not, there are also homeopathic or natural medicines that can help ease symptoms of weaning off of one’s current medications.

Alternative medicine helps search for the initial cause of the illness and how to prevent it in the first place. When you rely heavily on medication to clear up a cold, you are not looking at what health state you were in prior to getting that cold. It all started a few weeks ago with a terrible sinus infection. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the Keene State College Health and Wellness Center, but sometimes soup and ibuprofen just doesn’t cut it. So they did the next best thing, and handed me a 10-day pack of antibiotics. I thought about taking it because of how badly the pain I was feeling was, but then I thought about all of the other things I could do to relieve my pain and eventually wipe out the infection altogether. My favorite way to help loosen up sinus fluids and relieve pressure pains is this crazy contraption called a Neti Pot. It’s a ‘lamp’ shape (almost like in the film Aladdin) that gets filled with distilled water and a saline mix. Let me assure you, it sounds like a torture method, but it really doesn’t hurt at all.

Holding the pot against one nostril, the saline is poured into one’s nose.  The saline goes up and through the sinuses loosening and pushing the fluid out the other nostril. This truly is an amazing thing. The effects are immediate, and once you blow your nose, everything, I mean everything comes out, and you can breathe with ease again.

I usually opt for herbal teas that have certain ingredients said to have cold fighting properties. Some of  these herbs are hyssop, yarrow flowers, elder flowers, chamomile, rose hips (which boosts your immune system) and eucalyptus. One ‘universal’ herb that can be very effective when it comes to stomachaches, headaches and colds is peppermint—whether it’s in tea, candy or cough drop form. I believe that the health center on campus really does well and could be extremely effective in treating common colds. However, I think that the health center should also provide more natural treatments or suggestions for students. For example having Neti Pots for sale or giving out Breathe Right™ strips.

Call it the placebo effect. Call it whatever you want, but I have had so much success with these types of therapies that I am starting to believe that the medicines doctors prescribe are placebo just the same. I would encourage everyone to explore what the natural world has to offer you. Wellness is right around the corner and without the need of a prescription.


Jennica Martin can be contacted at

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