Complementary medicine

September 8, 2009 RENU

  1. Holism: Derived from Greek holos, meaning “whole”. It deals with the patient as a whole & not merely with physical symptoms.
  2. Holistic health systems: Naturopathy, homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine. They believe that the body has a natural tendency toward equilibrium or “homeostasis”, which when disrupted, need to be fixed to promote self healing.
  3. Sleep, good diet, exercise & happiness provide the energy needed to recover from everyday stresses that knock us off balance.
  4. In India, China & Africa, these systems are in common use.
  5. Nowadays more visits are being made to complementary practitioners than to conventional doctors.
  6. In US, Traditional Chinese Medicine, aromatherapy & chiropractic are widely being used. Following public demand, insurers now are covering some complementary treatments.
  7. Homeopathy & Ayurveda, that are widely used in Europe are slower to gain ground in Europe.
  8. Close partnership between the patient & practitioner in complementary therapies encourages active participation of patients in healing process.
  9. Medical technology in the form of X-rays, brain scans & laparoscopic surgery, scientific miracles such as heart transplants & saving of premature babies, gave doctors godlike power over life & death. But people’s faith was shaken when so-called wonder drugs revealed unpleasant or dangerous side-effects, bacteria & viruses developed resistance to many drugs & surgical procedures failed to deliver complete cures.
  10. Funding for complementary medicine research is scant due to lack of backup.
  11. Finding scientific explanation for the principals behind many complementary therapies is one of the most difficult issues.
  12. Placebo: Latin for “I will please” is an inactive medication/treatment as a pill/meaningless procedure given to a patient in place of genuine drug or medical technique. B’cos patients expect it to work, placebo may have a therapeautic effect. This is in fact the self-healing response, which conventional doctors often dismiss b’cos placebos are not an intervention.
  13. When people a placebo, it is highly significant that, around 30% of people in clinical trials feel much improvement; some researchers say this can rise to as much as 90%.
  14. Immune system research has shown how patient’s expectations & feelings can influence healing processes.
  15. Group of neurotransmitters, known as neuropeptides are chemicals found everywhere that act as messengers within the nervous system. They enable diff body systems, to send signals to one another, propelled through tissues as well as nerves betn them.
  16. On surfaces of cells are receptors. Each receptor acts as a “lock” for a particular neuropeptide, which slips in like a key & turns on the relevant body process. Ex: When rats infected with neuropeptide linked with thirst, they drink continuosly, even when sated with fluid. Their kidneys retain urine b’cos the msg to body is “want h20, save h20.”
  17. In 1975, a type of neuropeptide called endorphins- natural opiates in brain that generate pleasurable responses- are discovered throughout the body. As emotions fluctuate, neuropeptides sweep though the body systems in response, signaling physical changes such as a rise in BP or relaxation of muscles.
  18. Viruses use the same receptors as neutopeptides, so whether or not a virus can enter a cell may depend on how much of the appropriate type of neuropeptide is around to block it.
  19. Negative emotions affect the immune system, reducing natural killer cell activity & antibody production. Stressful events can also have a long-term impact. Emotional support from others may help protect against stress & disease.
  20. Conventional & complementary practitioners need to exchange ideas & cooperate to combine the best drugs, herbs & other treatment approaches to improve the well-being of their patients in future.
  21. Conventional doctors examine the body for physical changes that helps to identify a disease. Without a diagnosis it is often difficult for conventional doctors to prescribe treatment.
  22. Complementary practitioners, on the other hand, assess physical & emotional health, lifestyle & personality.

Entry Filed under: Alternative therapies

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