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You’ve tried everything to improve your health, but nothing seems to be useful. You’re running out of options – until you come across an unusual medical treatment that just might work for you. Here are 9 of them that will at least give you hope of curing whatever ailment that’s been plaguing you.

9 Alternative Medical Treatment Options

  1. Full Face Transplant

If you’re considering a face transplant but you don’t like your donor options, why not turn to medical pearl powder? Derived from oysters, pearl powder has been used in facial masks and beauty treatments for centuries. It was only a matter of time before researchers turned their attention to its restorative properties. Human skin cells grew in lab tests until they were six-layers thick.  Many of them began forming layers of extra epidermis. Incredibly, when exposed to pearl powder under experimental conditions, these human skin cells began multiplying rapidly; scientists are still trying to figure out exactly how pearls have such an effect on human cell growth.1,2

  1. Bloodletting

While it was once a common medical treatment, phlebotomy has since been replaced by more effective treatments. It is based on bloodletting – that is, letting blood flow out of a body part to relieve symptoms.4 While there is some evidence to support its effectiveness in treating anemia (low red blood cell count), it’s not very popular these days.3 However, while we may have come up with better options, phlebotomy might still be worth trying. I’d suggest asking if your health care provider thinks it might help.

  1. Medicinal Leeches

We’ve all heard about leeches and how they were once used to re-attach limbs during war time. It is thought that leeches can reduce swelling and inflammation, which is why many people with osteoarthritis opt for them as a natural remedy. Apply one or two of these slimy critters on an aching knee and let them do their magic. The biggest concern with leeches is infection risk.  So, it’s best to visit your doctor for a prescription before you turn to nature for relief. *WARNING: If you hate any sort of creepy-crawly creature, don’t even think about trying Leech Therapy.  If just looking at pictures of leeches is freaky to you, just move on!

  1. Distraction Osteogenesis

Distraction osteogenesis is a bone-healing technique for bone regeneration. It involves surgical distraction of adjacent segments of bone to create a gap between them through which new bone may form. This allows replacement of diseased or damaged bones with newly formed tissue.5 One doctor was able to cure a woman’s severe disfigurement from burns by using distraction osteogenesis and microsurgical techniques to replace her face skin and underlying facial muscles, resulting in normal appearance.

  1. Maggot Debridement Therapy

As much as you might wince at such a notion, maggots are some of medicine’s most useful agents. One reason they’re so good at healing skin is because they metabolize cellular debris and break down necrotic tissue.6 Of course, if you’re squeamish about ingesting live maggots (even for a noble cause), your doctor can make use of frozen maggots.  These have been killed prior to application. As one study shows, using freeze-dried fly larvae can be just as effective as fresh versions when it comes to treating pressure ulcers or venous stasis wounds.

  1. Human Breast Milk

Human breast milk is best known for its nutritional value.  Yet it also contains cytokines—immune system-related proteins that control inflammation. In recent years, a handful of studies have shown that injecting immune-system cytokines called interleukins into people with osteoarthritis can improve joint function.7 Companies are even experimenting with new drugs containing cytokines in pill form (called biologic medications) to treat a variety of different ailments like psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. We don’t know if these therapies will work as well as regular medications, though, and they’re typically more expensive.  So, whether or not they’ll stick around is still up in the air.

  1. Cryogenic Chamber Therapy

Studies have shown that immersing patients’ extremities in very cold water (less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit) can have a beneficial impact on rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Researchers believe it’s because colder temperatures reduce blood flow to painful joints, while also soothing and reducing swelling.8 And studies show it might even be able to help people with knee injuries.9 Best of all? It’s pretty cheap and easy — you just freeze some water or fill up an ice bathtub and immerse your limbs for 15 minutes a day. The only catch is that studies haven’t confirmed if cold therapy helps long-term.  So, I wouldn’t suggest using it exclusively for any serious condition without speaking to your doctor first. But it does seem like a good idea for minor aches and pains.

  1. Urotherapy

Medically known as hydrotherapy, urotherapy is a medical treatment where warm water is used for healing. It’s not uncommon for high-end spas to have heated hot tubs and hydrotherapy pools (sometimes called Jacuzzis) onsite.  It provides their clients with relaxing spa services. Urotherapy can help ease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and more. And because most people associate it with pain relief and relaxation, it can be particularly beneficial for those suffering from anxiety or depression.10

  1. Tiger Phallus Soup

Though western doctors are typically skeptical of treatments that fall outside of their conventional purview, some have become willing to consider some unconventional therapies. One such treatment is tiger phallus soup, or something called Hu Gu Shen (鹿骨神), which comes from China.  Don’t worry, actual tigers are not used; it is just high-grade herbs.  According to TCM philosophy, it’s essential for good health to maintain a balanced relationship between yin and yang. Illness supposedly occurs when these two forces are out of balance in any number of ways.

How to Apply these 9 Unusual Medical Treatments

When choosing a medical treatment, it’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all method for improving your health. If you’re new to alternative medicine or not, ponder some of these options with a healthy skepticism. Consider speaking with your doctor or nutritionist about some of these options as well. They may be able to offer insight into what would be best for you. Or they may have feedback on whether or not it’s even worth trying at all. The scientific community doesn’t have all of the answers yet.  But looking at different options and being an informed consumer can definitely help lead you in a healthier direction!