The Philippines has a long and successful history of Alternative Medicine practitioners and experts. With many people living in the rural countryside areas of the Philippines, where hospitals are often miles away, it seems every barangay or village has a number of experts with knowledge in treating illness naturally and without harsh medications.
There are hundreds of medicinal plants growing in the Philippines and the Philippine Department of Health, DOH, officially recognizes some of these plants as actually being therapeutic in the treatment of certain illnesses and diseases. Eating the simple and inexpensive vegetable ampalaya, also known as bitter melon, has been proven to both lower and regulate blood sugar. There are many other wonderful examples of natural healings through the use of herbs and vegetables.
In 1997, Republic Act Number 8423 was passed as law in the Philippines and it is known as TAMA or the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act. One of the objectives of the law is to encourage scientific research on and develop traditional and alternative health care systems that have direct impact on public health care. Another objective is to promote and advocate the use of traditional, alternative and preventive and curative health care modalities that have been proven safe, effective, cost effective and consistent with government standards on medical practice.
For the expats in the Philippines, the country has a wealth of resources for those who are into alternative medicine. Not only have traditional Filipinos developed expertise in the use of herbs and plants for treatment of illnesses for centuries, the large Chinese community has also contributed greatly. Where I live in Bacolod City, Hua Kong Chinese Pharmacy first opened its doors in 1949 and it is still serving the residents of the city with the latest Traditional Chinese Medicine available in the world. There are a number of acupuncturists in Bacolod City, some of whom have trained in China and in other countries abroad. A visit to an acupuncture clinic in Bacolod City will cost about $4. A personalized one hour treatment by a certified acupuncturist in the privacy of one’s own home will cost about $30.
There are certified and licensed Chiropractors in the Philippines and they are becoming more popular for use in treatments. Bacolod City is only a mid-size city and there are Chiropractors here.
For the expats who enjoy the rural lifestyle in the countryside of the Philippines, one will learn about the famous hilots in the area where they live. A hilot is a traditional practitioner who is an expert in the use of therapeutic massage for healing common colds, sprains, strains, fractures and other musculoskeletal conditions. Most hilots come from a long line of hilots in their family, as thie fabulous folk healing method has been taught and carried on for many generations. Some hilots are also experts in the use of herbs for natural remedies. Some cities have hitlots available since many city residents were born and raised in the rural areas of the Philippines. The service of an excellent hilot will cost about $5 per visit.
Part of the adventure of retiring to the Philippines is experiencing the wonders of natural and alternative medicine, which do not have side effects and the cost is very minimal compared to trips to an MD for minor ailments. When was the last time you paid $5 for a doctor visit in your home country?