These Unconventional Health Treatments Have Changed People’s Lives
Everyone knows about traditional health spa treatments—Swedish massage, a cleansing facial, and aromatherapy, just to name a few—but there are certainly some not-so-common treatments available right now that you’ve probably never heard of. Some might seem dangerous, others completely wacky, but clearly people use them and even seem to gain benefit from them.
From sticking flaming cups on your back to sitting in a frozen tub at negative one hundred degrees, these health remedies can be a little unusual. Interested in finding out more about these unique health treatments? Continue reading to learn about some of the most unusual treatments available right now. Warning: don’t attempt any of these without the supervision and guidance of a medical professional…
The Budwig Protocol
Named after German physician Dr. Johanna Budwig, this diet and therapy comprise a protocol used to fight and prevent cancer. While this is not necessarily a “cancer cure,” there’s ample evidence that the combination of foods and herbs in this diet are cancer preventatives. The basis behind the protocol is that your body cannot handle conventionally processed fats, which destroy cells and sap their energy.
This leads to “diseased” cells and toxicity. The diet consists of consuming only healthy unsaturated and saturated fatty acids to repair your damaged cells.
Normally, parasites are considered a bad thing! However, this therapy, which is still in experimental stages, is a form of immunotherapy using parasitic helminths (basically hookworms or threadworms) that have evolved to live within a host (that’s you!). They help their host by suppressing excessive immune responses (think allergic reactions).
Much of the research on helminthic therapy revolves around treatments for Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, and even asthma.
Liver flushing or a liver cleanse is a great way to help your body get rid of toxins, whether from the environment, body care products, or processed foods. A liver cleanse is a way for you to get a serious detox. The liver is the body’s main “filter” of toxins, but when the liver is overwhelmed and not functioning optimally, you cannot properly digest and metabolize foods, especially fats.
For this reason, some people opt for a liver cleanse to assist the liver in flushing out excess toxins that have been building up over time.
You may have to rethink that “coffee connoisseur” title you’ve given yourself until you try out this treatment! Most people know about all the health benefits that come from drinking coffee, but did you know there are also a ton of great things that come from having your colon caffeinated with your favorite brew?
Coffee is antioxidant-rich, and these antioxidants are more easily absorbed in the lower intestines. It’s also a good way to flush out bacteria and other baddies from your digestive tract, and it reduces inflammation.
Oxygen Therapy and Hyperbaric Chambers
You don’t have to be an eccentric pop superstar to benefit from oxygen therapy. While this treatment has been around for a while, it hasn’t always been very accessible to the average person. Oxygen therapy and hyperbaric chambers involve you breathing in pure oxygen in a sealed and pressurized chamber. Treatment sessions usually last between 30 minutes and two hours, when you’ll be expected to lie fairly still and just breathe.
These treatments are used for everything from real medical emergencies to improving the healing process of your body or as a way to prevent cancer and treat chronic fatigue syndrome.
The Gerson Therapy and Juicing
Another therapy and diet protocol developed by a German physician, Max Gerson, was originally created for the treatment of the doctor’s own migraines. Later, he used his treatments to address arthritis, tuberculosis, and even cancer. This diet is based on the notion that disease is due to the accumulation of toxins throughout the body.
The protocol is a low-fat, low-sodium, vegetarian diet that requires you to drink up to 20 pounds of juiced organic fruits and vegetables daily. This protocol goes hand in hand with regular coffee enemas too.
Fecal Microbial Transplantation
Alright, get all of your potty and poop jokes out now. Done? Good. This is a serious treatment. Your body has 10 bacterial cells for every one human cell—that’s 10 times more bacteria. These bacteria make up your microbiome (the collection of microbes throughout your body). Many people with digestive tract issues or gut inflammation problems may benefit from FMT.
The process involves selecting stool from a healthy donor and placing it in a patient via enema. This will help reintroduce the healthy bacteria missing from the recipient’s gut.
Proteolytic Enzyme Therapy
Enzymes are crucial for your body’s proper functioning; every chemical reaction that occurs in the body requires enzymes. Proteolytic enzymes help you digest protein, breaking it down into its amino acids. These enzymes can be taken as a supplement, but they are also abundant in foods like papaya and pineapple.
Proteolytic enzyme therapy is helpful for controlling inflammation, preventing atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in your artery walls), and reducing ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease symptoms. Some of the best natural sources of proteolytic enzymes are raw or fermented pineapple, ginger, kiwi, sauerkraut, yogurt, and kefir.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
In actuality, this may not be something “happening right now”— traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and treatments have been around for centuries in much of the world. It’s something that westerners are only recently coming around to accepting. The belief in TCM is that everything is interconnected, especially within the human body.
The primary ways TCM promotes well-being are through diet and exercise, and illnesses are treated with herbs, acupuncture, and qi gong, the ancient Chinese practice of deep breathing, body posture, and slow motion or meditative movements for health and spiritual training.
Vitamin C Chelation
Chelation therapy is an alternative treatment designed to remove heavy metals from your body. Heavy metals may be more common than most people believe—they can come from mercury fillings in your teeth, vaccinations, farm-raised fish, radiation and chemotherapy treatments, and certain foods that are not organically grown or produced.
The therapy involves a chemical solution administered directly into your bloodstream to bind with the excess minerals and detoxify your body. Treatment may help improve heart health, reduce inflammation, and even act as a sort of antioxidant.
Turmeric and Curcumin Therapy
Turmeric is one of the best culinary spices you can use in your cooking, but did you know that this spice has also been used as a disinfectant and treatment for disorders such as diabetes? Curcumin, which is the most active component of turmeric, has powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and possibly even anti-cancer properties.
You can start with turmeric supplements, but try to increase the use of this spice in your diet through cooking and even having a daily “golden milk” turmeric tea drink.
Although cupping treatments have been around since at least 1000 BC, you probably noticed a big increase in interest in the practice thanks to the recent 2016 Summer Olympics. High-caliber athletes such as famous swimmer Michael Phelps were seen with large, dark red rings all over their backs and shoulders.
This technique involves placing a series of warm cups on various areas of your body to produce suction. This suction acts as a deep massage, increasing blood flow for pain relief, stress relief, and even removing toxins from your body.
Cannabis (the proper name for marijuana) is a naturally growing plant that has been used for thousands of years for recreation, but also more importantly, to treat health conditions. Cannabis oil can be used to treat stress and anxiety disorders, improve appetite in people suffering from anorexia or chemotherapy treatments, relieve pain, and even effectively treat seizure disorders.
Although cannabis oil seems like a great treatment option, it’s currently not available for purchase. Only certain states allow the use of CBD oil for medicinal purposes; check with your state’s drug enforcement agency to determine if it’s legal where you live.
Cryogenic Chamber Therapy
Don’t worry; we’re not talking about cutting off your head and freezing it only to be “reanimated” in some future dystopia. Cryotherapy involves spending a few minutes in a cryogenic chamber, exposing your whole body to -120 degrees Fahrenheit. This is supervised, so no need to worry about any potential dangers with this drastic temperature change.
The jolt of being exposed to ultra sub-freezing temps is designed to trigger a hormonal response that’s believed to ease pain, boost your immune system, improve athletic performance, clear toxins from your body, and even possibly help with weight loss.
Urine Health Tonics
If you thought fecal transplants were weird, wait till you hear this one. This treatment is a lot more straightforward than FMT treatments. According to practitioners, drinking your own urine is believed to cure all sorts of illnesses and ailments—from cancer, heart disease, and diabetes to allergies and asthma.
Not going to lie—this treatment could be a bit tough to swallow. Some people really do swear by it, though, so maybe it’s worth checking out?
There are different types of “rebirthing” therapies, some more controversial than others. Specifically, one version, which involves being wrapped up in tight blankets and pillows, has been banned in certain states after it led to the accidental death of a 10-year-old. Another (much safer) treatment involves breathing exercises to relieve stress and anxiety.
A rebirthing practitioner may help you bring back or “relive” past memories associated with birth. Some proponents say it helps give them peace.
Maggot Debridement Therapy
This is not something from a horror movie! Maggots have been used for centuries to clean wounds—especially during wartime, when military surgeons noticed that soldiers’ wounds healed quicker when they were infested with maggots. Today, maggot debridement therapy (MDT) is done by controlled and therapeutic application of fly larvae (the maggots).
The maggots are kept in place by a special dressing, and they dissolve the dead or infected tissue with their digestive enzymes. They also work to disinfect the wound and promote the growth of healthy tissue.
This is another one of those weird treatments that has actually been around for a long time. In fact, leech therapy was used as a form of medicine by the earliest civilizations around the world. Leech therapy is making a revival of sorts thanks to its inexpensive and easy application.
Leeches are used to treat all sorts of ailments and infections, but they are most commonly used in cosmetic surgery and other microsurgery applications. The peptides released by leech saliva help prevent blood from clotting and are effective in promoting blood flow to help wounds heal.
If you thought beer was only good for making bad decisions, now you have a good reason to buy your favorite hoppy (or malty, or pale) beverage. Research has been conducted on the benefits of beer as a treatment for everything from dry skin and acne to stomach ulcers and even cancer.
This has led to “beer spas” popping up all over Europe and making their way to the States. The most common treatments at beer spas include beer baths, facials, and even beer massages.
Ozone therapy is a general term to describe a range of protocols that use ozone (O3) to purportedly treat almost any condition. Ozone therapy for anti-aging is one of the more popular treatments, because it’s believed to provide an energy boost and shot of rejuvenation, as well as reduce ailments caused by the aging process.
That said, ozone therapy isn’t without its drawbacks—there’s a serious safety concern surrounding too much ozone in the blood. This can lead to pulmonary edema, and high levels of inhaled ozone can be toxic.
You’ve probably heard stories about mushrooms, likely from your dad about his 1970s shenanigans. They’re still illegal in the U.S, but studies have shown that they’re effective in treating depression. They contain the controlled substances psilocin and psilocybin, the latter of which has been approved by the FDA for use in a drug trial for treatment-resistant depression.
However, they’re definitely not for everybody. Try considering all your treatment options before diving into the magic mushrooms!
CAR T-Cell Therapy
We’re not saying CAR T-Cell Therapy is a cure for cancer, but researchers are. This miraculous technology was first approved in 2018, and it consists of taking immune T-cells from a cancer patient and genetically engineering them to target specific cancer cells. Not to mention, clinical trials have been met with extremely impressive results!
How impressive? Remission rates of up to 94% in severe forms of cancer, in which patients have exhausted all other treatment options. Hopefully this new method sees more funding!
Bee Venom Therapy (Apitherapy)
Getting stung by a bee is no fun, but apparently they have the power to help chronic ailments! This trendy treatment has been backed by celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow. You’re injected with bee venom, either directly or with needles, to ease neurological and immunological ailments like arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Of course, this treatment has flaws. One woman died of multiple organ failure in 2018 after receiving bee venom therapy, and it remains controversial in the medical community.
Some of us had childhood nightmares about being swallowed by quicksand. Today, people are willingly being buried up to their heads underneath the scorching hot sand in the name of health. Known as sand hammans, this treatment is largely unknown in the West but is increasingly popular in countries like Egypt, Morocco, and even New Zealand.
Though sand therapy began in ancient Egypt and Greece centuries ago, the practice is making a comeback! It’s exactly what it sounds like: participants are buried neck-deep in sand for about 10 minutes, then removed and wrapped in a warm blanket until the sweat and sand mixes to form a “mud-like substance,” which is eventually showered off.
The treatment is said to relieve back pain, chronic stress, and skin conditions. Maybe it works for some!
Okay, this is less of a medical treatment and more of a spiritual session, but it’s especially modern and relevant. This treatment promotes the idea that there are DNA patterns passed down through generations that are not beneficial to you, such as depression or chronic joint issues, and that there are ways to remove them.
It is still unclear how exactly DNA healing is done; some DNA healers need to see you in person, and others insist it can be done over the phone. As you’d imagine, there are more than a few skeptics.
Despite being around for thirty years, this semi-fashionable pendant is quickly gaining popularity. It’s said to increase mental and physical performance while lowering stress levels by recharging your “biofield.” What is a biofield, exactly? An invisible energy force that goes beyond your body and is affected by daily disturbances like a phone alarm or electromagnetism.
You may be rolling your eyes, but plenty swear by this little pendant, including golfers and athletes who say it helps them to avoid distractions and focus on performance.
There’s no denying that virtual reality has majorly taken over the world, from gaming and pop culture to the medical field. It’s becoming especially prevalent in eye care, with ophthalmologists in training using this technology for studying purposes and unlimited surgical training without even having to look at a human eyeball.
Even better? Patients are undergoing eye treatment by playing VR video games. Way to make going to the doctor a fun time!
“Fish pedicures” became known worldwide when Kim Kardashian snapped herself getting one on Instagram, but they can also treat psoriasis! This treatment is relatively modern, beginning in the early 21st century, and consists of Garra rufa obtusas (doctor fish) feeding on the stratum corneum skin layer of patients with psoriasis. Yes, seriously.
This treatment is especially popular in Europe and Asia, but it is quickly making its way to the United States. Would you spend the day in a fish spa?
You may have heard of pop-up shops, but have you heard of IV lounges? This trend is common in big cities, with people being offered fluids containing a variety of vitamins and medicines to fight everything from hangovers to the flu to nausea. Lisa Rinna even promoted the treatment on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but is it legit?
Depends who you ask, but it’s the new hangout spot if you’re looking to beat a hangover and run into a C-list celebrity.
Did you ever think you would be rubbing snail goo all over your face? Neither did we, but the snail facial is rapidly growing in popularity. Spas all across the world have developed a treatment in which snail mucin is spread across a client’s face; it’s said to provide hydrating, anti-aging, and wrinkle reduction benefits to human skin.
Turns out snails have plenty of health benefits, whether you’re eating them covered in garlic or slathering them all over your skin.
Sensory Deprivation Tanks
It’s better than it sounds, we promise. Flotation therapy is the process of going inside a light-proof, sound-proof tank of saltwater, giving you the sensation that you’re “floating.” This not only relieves stress and increases creativity, but it supposedly provides anti-gravity benefits like decompression of the spine, elimination of pressure and tension in joints, and more efficient blood flow.
It’s also said to relieve insomnia, improve athletic performance, and alleviate mental health issues. The benefits sound great, but would you really float in a tiny tank for an hour?
Advanced Gene Editing
Scientists are making gene editing much simpler to modify DNA sequences with high precision, which will become a major breakthrough in cancer research. In China, they’re using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to remove genes from immune T-cells that encode a protein called PD-1 that tumor cells can use to evade an immune attack.
Another trial with a similar approach is currently running in the US. Perhaps this will see greater use in the future.
Mouthwash Foot Soak
Turns out that mouthwash doesn’t just give you minty breath, it can supposedly remove toenail fungus. How so? The antiseptic properties in mouthwash products prevent growth and work to kill fungus. The drugstore favorite will likely contain eucalyptol and the herb thyme, the latter of which has also been proven effective in preventing the growth of dermatophytes that cause nail fungus.
Soaking your feet in mouthwash for 45 minutes each day is said to remove your toenail fungus, but adding vinegar will speed up the process!
Many dream of wearing pearls, but not quite like this. Pearl powder is a staple in Chinese medicine, in both cream and powder form, and is said to have countless benefits. On the beauty side, research claims it can heal acne and has anti-aging attributes. It’s also used to treat a variety of age-related degenerative disorders.
For instance, the calcium content in pearl powder is believed to help people with osteoporosis, while it also treats stomach issues such as indigestion and constipation.
Okay, this is less of a health treatment and more of a crazy twist on a classic exercise, but the health benefits are undeniable. Yoga has long been regarded as a way to relieve stress, improve cardio and circulatory health, increase muscle strength and more, and doing poses with a baby goat on your back is a major thing.
This bizarre exercise now has a waitlist of thousands of people, and it’s safe to say that it greatly improves your mental AND physical health to exercise with the kids.
Your first reaction to hearing the words “moldy bread” is probably “ew!” However, people were on to something when they began using it to heal wounds and disinfect cuts over 2000 years ago. As we now know, certain types of fungi are able to block the growth of disease-causing bacteria, partly due to the accidental discovery of penicillin in 1928.
We won’t be rubbing moldy bread on our cuts anytime soon, but the unusual treatment helped people in Egypt and Greece for centuries.
There are some bizarre medical treatments, but this one is pretty gross. Way back in the 1500s, people would attempt to cure their insomnia by smearing their dog’s ear wax across their teeth. This idea is credited to Gerolamo Cardano, the Italian genius who also discovered the probability theory. As disgusting as it sounds, it was supposedly quite effective.
So much, in fact, that English scholar Robert Burton was still recommending the method as an insomnia cure nearly 50 years after Cardano’s death. Thanks, but we’ll stick to more modern methods.
People always told you to never skip breakfast until intermittent fasting came along. This trendy diet involves eating only within an 8-hour period each day, whether that’s 7am to 3pm or 10am to 6pm. It’s said to have a range of health benefits including reduced insulin resistance, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, plus improved verbal memory and executive function.
Sure, some people see it as a fad, but it’s a treatment that’s extremely popular among researchers, everyday people, and even some celebrities!
Yes, stressed adults actually pay big money to be wrapped in a big blanket and rocked back and forth like a baby. In fact, it’s one of the biggest trends in Tokyo! Originally designed to help new mothers overcome post labor shoulder and hip pain, it’s now used as an anti-stress and muscle relaxation technique for people all over the country.
Of course, this technique has a few critics, but there are just as many people preaching its benefits. Guess it’s the treatment that literally makes you feel like a kid again.
This stuff can be found just about anywhere these days, from coffee to cupcakes to toothpaste. While it may not sound appealing to eat charcoal, it’s believed to have incredible benefits, besides its original use of treating overdoses. These include detoxification, heart and kidney health, teeth whitening, and even anti-aging abilities.
Activated charcoal may not look pretty, but it’s believed to have a great effect on your physical health, and many people are coming up with new uses for it all the time.