Pros of alternative medicine
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit
The National Institutes of Health has established the Office of Alternative Medicine to help the nation's medical community better understand and use all the new remedies that are becoming available.
The rest of this article comes from the NIH...
The NIH categories include:
• Diet and Lifestyle, such as nutritional supplements
• Mind/Body Control, such as biofeedback and Yoga
• Alternative Systems, including acupuncture, Eastern and Native American treatments
• Manual Healing, such as massage therapy and chiropractic
• Pharmacological and Biological Treatments, including anti-oxidizing agents
• Bioelectromagnetic Applications, such as electroacupuncture
• Herbal medicines, such as the Ginseng root and witch hazel
The advantage of alternative medicine is that it generally tends to provide patients a sense of control over their bodies and their illnesses. There is also the comfort from having a practitioner who views you as more than just a body part.
Alternative therapies engage the mind and the senses better than traditional medical therapies.
Alternative therapies come in a wide variety of disciplines so that there is more choice than there is with traditional medicine.
No substance is without potential complications, which includes "natural" and "herbal" remedies and dietary supplements. "'Herbal' does not necessarily mean harmless.
They may also cause a variety of side effects and interact negatively with prescription and other medications.
Patients planning to undergo procedures should make sure their physician knows every substance they are taking, including 'alternative' remedies and dietary supplements, prescription and traditional over the counter medications. Gingko biloba, the popular herbal used as a circulatory stimulant or antioxidant; fever few, used to prevent migraine headaches; garlic, used to lower blood pressure and relieve nausea; and large doses of Vitamin E can interfere with blood clotting in the same way that aspirin does.
Problems with blood clotting can cause major surgical complications. In addition, St. John's wort, used as a mood enhancer, can interact with some anesthetic agents.
Echinacea, used to boost the immune system, can reverse the effects of some steroids, that are commonly prescribed by physicians to treat arthritis and other conditions.
Arnica montana, a plant that can cause bruising and bleeding when ingested, shows some promise as a treatment when administered in "micro" doses. The remedy is employed by practitioners of homeopathy, which uses very small doses of specific natural substances to stimulate the body's healing responses. Some research suggests homeopathic agents may have their place in traditional medicine. Arnica montana, for example, may help reduce post-surgical swelling and bruising.
Other alternative therapies show potential in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders as well. Examples include: acupuncture in the non-surgical treatment of arthritis and pain syndromes, such as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) and fibromyalgia, chiropractic, homeopathy, guided visualization, naturopathy, and others.
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