Natural remedies are often touted as ineffective in the treatment of severe or chronic conditions. As more and more individuals turn to natural treatments, more scientific research is being conducted to confirm their validity. These 5 controversial natural remedies have been backed by science so the skeptical can feel more comfortable experimenting with them.

1. Reiki

Reiki is a holistic method of relaxation and hands-on healing whereby vibrational energy is directed into the recipient via a Reiki practitioner who acts as a conduit. It has no religious affiliations and is simply spiritual in nature, encompassing all beliefs. Reiki works by releasing blocks in the ‘life force energy’ called ‘Chi’ and encouraging the body, mind, and spirit to heal itself.

Up until fairly recently, the modern medical community viewed hands-on energy healing treatments as nothing short of nonsense. The idea that each person has a type of energy field surrounding their body was ludicrous.

It wasn’t until 2005, when William Lee Rand, founder and president of The International Center for Reiki Training, formed The Touchstone Process, a peer-reviewed method for scientifically measuring the effectiveness of Reiki healing.

During the studies, participants were divided into two groups. One group was given legitimate Reiki healing by a trained practitioner while the other group received “sham” treatments by someone who did not have this training.

Participants who received the legitimate Reiki healing reported marked improvement in depression and chronic pain while those receiving the “sham” treatments reported no change.

This helps to rule out the ‘placebo effect’.

2. Positive Thinking/Visualization

“Positive thinking won’t heal a broken leg!”

Those who feel the power of positive thinking is nothing more than a myth believed by modern-day flower children often make these and similar statements. A cursory examination of this phenomenon can understandably produce this type of argument. After all, wishing for a million rands doesn’t suddenly land it in your lap, right?

(That’s a good thing. Think of what would happen when you get mad!)

The power of positive thinking has been proven by the science of neuroplasticity; the ability of the brain to reorganize itself and form new neural connections throughout life. This means when you make a conscious effort to think positive thoughts and feel positive feelings, even if it seems silly at first, these positive thoughts and feelings will become your new normal.

According to a Zurich study done in the 1970s, more than 8,000 volunteers were asked to rate their level of health and then have their health evaluated by medical professionals. The surprising result was that those who rated their health as good, even if medical tests proved otherwise, enjoyed better health overall including an improved ability to better their health.

If you have a broken leg, get it set by a doctor. If you’re feeling down, think positive. You’ll be amazed at the good changes you’ll see in your life.

3. Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique involving the swishing of coconut, sesame or similar oil for the purposes of improved dental health and detoxification. Since this technique has recently become popular, some naysayers claim there is no validity to the practice and that those who do it are gullible and wasting their money.

According to a study published by The Indian Journal of Dental Research, teenagers with gingivitis swished with sesame oil for a period of 10 days. After this time period, the adolescents presented with a marked reduction in plaque index, modified gingival scores, and total colony count of aerobic microorganisms.

In addition, thousands of oil pulling enthusiasts have claimed to enjoy whiter teeth, fresher breath, a reduction in sinus symptoms, and even a reduced recurrence of chronic pain due to the ability of coconut oil to detoxify the body.

4. Gluten-Free Diet

Now that more people are hearing about the gluten free diet and its health benefits, it is being lumped into a similar category as the Paleo and Ketogenic diets. Unlike diets followed for weight loss or detoxification, a gluten-free diet is most often followed by those with an autoimmune disease called celiac disease.

Those with celiac disease are unable to digest the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye called gluten. This caused chronic inflammation, gastrointestinal upset, muscle aches, fatigue, sinus problems, and mental health complaints.

It is important to note that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is also a valid condition for which to follow a gluten-free diet. According to a study published by The Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, non-celiac gluten sensitivity may be ten times more prevalent than celiac disease.

A gluten-free diet for those who are sensitive to the protein is often the only effective natural treatment for those living with the chronic pain caused by this intolerance. If someone tells you they need to avoid gluten, for whatever reason, take them seriously. Even a small amount of the offending protein can trigger an autoimmune (self-destroying) response.

5. Medicinal Mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms are functional foods, which means they serve a greater purpose than simple nutrition. Medicinal mushrooms contain vitamins, minerals, and polysaccharides, that boost the immune system and help the body heal itself.

The use of medicinal mushrooms is often seen as controversial because of the fear of mushrooms called mycophobia. Many people who are not familiar with their medicinal use because they are equated to a fungus or mold that should be avoided.

Medicinal mushrooms have been shown to help heal cancer, reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, relieve chronic pain, treat allergies, and improve overall mental health and function.

Which of these controversial natural remedies have you tried? Would you recommend a natural treatment not listed here?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!