Monthly Archives: December 2018

Is Alternative Medicine a Good

Alternative medicine, like the word implies is a form of medicine that is different from the popularly known one. It is an alternative to what is practised by the scientific form of medicine. It is more like an art rather than a science. Yet in many populations around the world, it is known to have existed for over 5000 years.

It is the form of medicine that our great-great-grand-parents relied on before scientific medicine came to be. Scientific medicine seems to have kicked the older form of medicine out of the way. But for the past decade, it seems people have been relying more and more on alternative medicine to deal with their ailment. Some articles are actually talking about a rise in that form of medicine.

There are many forms of alternative medicine: Acupressure, Acupuncture, Aromatherapy, Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, Chiropractic, Herbal Medicine, Homeopathy, Hydrotherapy, Massage Therapy, Music Therapy, Naturopathic, Reflexology, Reiki, Tai Chi, Yoga.

Each of them may work based on a different philosophy. Most of those philosophies do not yet have any scientific evidence. It seems to work very well with some patients. In other cases it doesn’t seem to have any effect. One popular case is the one of the famous Steve Jobs. After being diagnosed with cancer, he decided to rely on alternative medicine to heal even though his doctors suggested he rather go through a surgical operation.

After 9 months of relying of alternative therapy the cancer got worse and spread through other organs. He ended up taking the surgery but the doctors had to removed certain organs that got infected because the cancer spread to them. Some critics are actually using this fact to support the idea that, if Steve Jobs had taken the surgery earlier on, he could have lived a bit longer.

Yet the number of patients that rely on alternative medicine seems to increase each year, why is that? The fact is there are some diseases that have not yet found any remedy for, in scientific medicine and seem to have found a solution for, in alternative medicine.

Lower back pains is known to be solved with chiropractic doctors. A lot of women with childbirth problems claim they were able to get pregnant with the help of a doctor in acupuncture. Early studies in aromatherapy and essential oils seems to suggest that it accelerates the healing process of the body. It is known that those who practice yoga or tai chi tend to get sick much less often compared to those who do not practice those things.

Is alternative medicine better than scientific medicine?

Alternative medicine is much based on finding the root cause of the problem the patient is going through than just trying to remove it. Scientific medicine is much more based on finding the symptoms causing the illness then prescribing the required drugs or surgery to solve the problem.

Both approach are neither good nor bad. As a rule of thumb, the unconventional medicine can be used to maintain general health but when it comes to serious cases it is always advisable to contact a conventional doctor. A new form of medicine been born called integrative medicine tends to combine the two, making the best out of the two school of thought.

Research is still ongoing as to how the different forms of alternative medical approach work. The future will give us a better idea of what is really going on with alternative medicine.

Is Traditional Chinese Medicine Better Than Modern

Since young, I’ve only visited doctors trained in modern western medicine. Usually the pills and liquids prescribed to me worked, or so I would think as I recover days later. However as I grew up and learnt biology, we were taught one important fact – because we have our immune system therefore we are still alive now. Hence even without any drug interventions, we would have recovered from our illness all by ourselves, as long as our immune system was in good working conditions. However as humans, we’re always impatient and want to feel well again as soon as possible or there are times when our immune systems just aren’t at their peak conditions and our bodies cannot cure itself. This is where medicine comes in.

Modern Western medicine considers illness as being triggered by something that causes a series of wrong chemical relays resulting in bodily malfunctions, and sets out to correct this by destroying that something or intercepting somewhere in this signal relay and hence stop the spread of the illness or even get rid of it. On the other hand, Traditional Chinese Medicine tackles this issue of falling ill by strengthening the immune system, while at the same time expunging the disease causative agent if necessary. Precisely because of the way they work, Modern Western medicine usually exhibit a faster recovery rate, whereas Traditional Chinese medicine makes an individual more able to fight of pathogens and less likely to fall ill in the long run.

Another issue between these two kinds of medicine that comes under fire is that Modern Western medicine is backed by solid scientific research, whereas there is insufficient scientific research that can support the use of Traditional Chinese medicine. I am definitely not arguing against the strong evidence that modern western medicine has from research, but western medicine is termed as ‘modern’ simply because it revolutionized about 200 years ago, whereas Traditional Chinese medicine has a history of more than 2000 years. The long history of Traditional Chinese medicine indicates that since its crude origins, it has been tested on many other humans, been put through the test of natural selection, and still has managed to evolve and survive to this very day. This surely has to be a proof for its efficacy.

Despite all the research and history behind both these fields of medicine, they too have their share of failures. Modern Western medicine’s research is based on clinical trials that require a certain statistical percentage of successfully treated cases before it can be used. However, there are those on the other side of the percentage – the unsuccessfully treated ones. Likewise Traditional Chinese Medicine history has been dotted with unsuccessful treatments that resulted in deaths. However without these failures, both kinds of medicine would not have been able to progress to where they both stand today.

The Difference Between Western and Chinese Reproductive Medicine

The Difference Between Western Reproductive Medicine And Traditional Chinese Medicine In Their Approach To The Treatment Of Infertility

Western reproductive medicine can do the following things: promote follicular development with certain medications, promote ovulation with other medications, perform intra-uterine-insemination, and in-vitro-fertilization. Western reproductive surgeons can also perform often necessary surgeries to create a fertile environment where polyps, fibroids, uterine anomalies and cervical anomalies are present. Without these types of interventions many infertile women would never have children.

Traditional Chinese medicine can often regulate systemic dysfunction naturally. That means that TCM can contribute to helping the PCOS patient ovulate without Clomid or perhaps with a lesser amount of Clomid. In the morbidly obese PCOS patient, weight loss is of paramount importance in increasing the ability to conceive because excess fat stores androgens and converts androgens to estrogen thereby creating a hormonal imbalance that is unlikely to enable conception. Acupuncture and herbal medicine along with exercise and life-style changes can make weight loss and its attendant health benefits possible.

In the endometriosis patient, acupuncture and herbal medicine cannot eradicate endometriosis but it can reduce the inflammatory environment associated with this disease. An interesting example of this is the patient with stage 1 endometriosis who does not present with pelvic distortion but cannot get pregnant. Why not? Her husband’s sperm is fine and other than the endometriosis there are no contributing factors that are contributing to the state of infertility. Even other autoimmune disorders have been ruled out as possible contributing factors. The infertility stems from an inflammatory intrauterine environment that either destroys the embryos or makes the uterine lining inhospitable to an embryo which is trying to implant. Acupuncture and herbal medicine can often regulate this environment by reducing this inflammatory process.

Male factor. Many men have low sperm count as a result of a minor vericocele. Surgeons do not operate on minor vericoceles because the benefit does not exceed this risk. The cause of a vericocele is pooling and stagnating and over-heating of blood in the pampiniform plexus. The pampiniform plexus refers to the veins in the testicles. The sperm- killing-heat is caused by the pooling and stagnating of blood. Acupuncture and herbs can strongly move qi (energy, metabolism, circulation) and blood in the testicles. As a result of this, the blood is less congealed, the blood flow is more functional and the heat is diminished, contributing to increased sperm count. Even in the face of a major vericocele, the surgical outcomes are successful 50% of the time. This means that even with surgery there is a 50% possibility that the count will remain low. One of the reasons for this is that long term blood stagnation and heat in the testicles causes tissue necrosis (death) and sperm cannot be adequately produced.

The determination of success can only be made after the surgery. The recovery time after the surgery is six months. The reason that this is the case is because the inflammation which is caused by the surgery takes that much time to be reduced. Utilizing acupuncture and herbal medicine after a vericocelectomy shortens recovery time by approximately two months, making the total recovery time four months instead of six. Men with any sperm anomaly should refrain from taking hot baths, saunas or riding a bicycle for long periods of time as all of these activities facilitate increased testicular temperature.

What about the patient who wants to do an IVF with her own eggs but her FSH is 20 and her doctor states that donor-egg is the only option? The doctor, essentially, is correct. He or she views this patient as one who either will not respond to gonadotropin stimulation and therefore produce either no eggs or produce too few to justify the continuation of the IVF cycle. So the reproductive endocrinologist offers the donor egg option with full integrity and with the patient’s best interest in mind. But, here is what I have witnessed on more than a few occasions: I will treat the patient with acupuncture and herbal medicine and her numbers will regulate. Not necessarily to a ‘perfect’ level, but to levels which will facilitate having the reproductive endocrinologist have a ‘second-look’. Subsequently many IVF cycles have been completed with a great many successful outcomes and many failures too. But I choose not to focus too much importance on the failures. It is the successes that would have never occurred had acupuncture and herbal medicine not been utilized on the patient who was told that donor-egg was the only option. In other words, inclusion of TCM has only an upside potential.

Implantation failure accounts for a substantial amount of infertility. Almost every patient that I have reports that her lining is “beautiful” according to her reproductive endocrinologist. The scientific truth however is that the morphology of the lining is not analogous to intraendometrial vascularization. This means that even though the lining may be thick it does not mean that there is enough blood flow getting to the lining. This is why sometimes even in the absence of any observable or diagnosable pathology, infertility manifests. Acupuncture and herbal medicine have been shown to increase endometrial vascularization and thereby increase implantation potential.

The idiopathic patient. Idiopathy means ‘no known cause’. What ‘no known cause’ means is that the limited Western medical diagnostic capabilities available today are only able to diagnose what they can, not what they cannot. In other words, there are many undiagnosable causes of infertility that have yet to be discovered and which, to date, have no remedies. Over time, this will change. This is by no means meant to be a derisive comment towards Western reproductive medicine. IVF has brought millions of children into the world and created many happy families. These successes would not have been possible in the ‘infertile population’ prior to the advent of this incredible technological breakthrough.

Traditional Chinese medicine, based upon its method of diagnosis does not, as part of its medical vocabulary, have a word that is analogous to ‘idiopathic.’ In other words, all cases of infertility can be diagnosed and treated. There are no mysteries or impossible cases. Each and every case can be, analyzed, differentiated, diagnosed and treated.

TCM can often establish a treatment protocol where Western medicine has none to offer other than donor-egg. TCM uses specific herbal formulas prescribed for a particular patient for a particular disorder, taking into consideration the whole patient as well as their pathology. The whole person is treated, not just their disease. What really does the “whole person” mean? It means that if the patient has a bad marriage, has low libido, chronic headaches, arthritis, depression, anxiety, frustration, a history of surgeries, a history of psycho-emotional trauma, a job she hates, a dying mother, low self-esteem, a smoker, a drinker, a stress eater, etc., etc., these things can contribute to her infertility.

How? Because the mind, spirit and body are inextricably connected. Not convinced? Ok, then why, when you are very stressed do you get a headache or a stomach-ache. Why is it that when you are very depressed you have no energy? Why is it that when you pray you feel more empowered? Why is it that when you look better, you feel better and when you feel better you have more energy and when you have more energy you are less likely to get sick and when you are not frequently sick you are not chronically depressed?

Because the mind, spirit and body are inextricably connected. This is why TCM doctors treat the whole person; only treating the disease is like treating a cancer patient with analgesics for their pain.

This is why the best case scenario in the treatment of reproductive disorders (as well as all disorders) is to integrate both methods of medical expertise. The TCM application will help the Western reproductive medical protocol succeed in a shorter period of time. Or TCM may be the difference between success and failure in the Western medical setting; remember, IVF has a 30% success rate which means conversely that it has a 70% failure rate.

Role of Traditional Medicine

The traditional medicines are playing an important role in human society from the past centuries. Traditional medical practice illustrates the medical knowledge practices, which improved more than centuries ago within a variety of societies before the era of modern Allopathic or Homeopathic medication begins. Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, Unani, herbal, African Yoruba Ifa, Muti as well as many other ancient medical practices from all over the world included in these medicines.

Historically, at the end of the twentieth century, a number of traditions came to dominate the practice of traditional medicine. Among all, the herbal medicine system of Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman sources, the Ayurvedic medicine system from India, traditional Chinese medicine, Unani-Tibb medicine and Shamanic Herbalism were the most dominant at the end of the twentieth century.

Key Contributions to Modern Medicines

The fundamental concepts of Modern allopathic medicine have developed from traditional (Unani and Ayurvedic) medicines.

About fifty-five percent of present Allopathic or Homeopathic medications, which are using in the world, derived from plant or herb sources.

Roughly 40% of plants provide active ingredients for modern drugs or medicines, and because of their use in traditional medicines, they came to the interest of researchers.

More than 120 active ingredients presently isolated from the medicinal herbs.

More than 8,000 active ingredients in the present pharmacopoeias extracted from plant sources.

Who Uses Traditional Medicine?

Among non-industrialized societies, the use of herbs to heal disease is almost universal. Peoples from countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa are still using herbal products to fulfill their regular health related necessities. As an example, nearly 75-80 percent of the population in Africa uses traditional medicine to fulfill their basic health related necessities. Another attention-grabbing thing is that presently, in United States, up to 158 million peoples use complementary medicines in their primary health related necessities.

Which Discipline Studies Traditional Medicines?

Ethnobotany, ethnomedicine, and medical anthropology have included as the basic disciplines, which study these medicines.

Present Status of Traditional Medicines

In recent years, the use of drugs or medications as well as search for new drugs and dietary supplements derived from traditionally used plant sources have accelerated much. As a result, many researchers are studying and investigating on these medicines today to find out the proper remedial uses along with pharmacological effects.

Safety Issues

Moreover, according to WHO (World Health Organization), over hundreds of countries have regulatory systems for herbal medicinal products. However, WHO also warns that the scientific data from experiments done to analyze the safety and efficiency of traditional or herbal medicinal products and practices is insufficient. As a result, WHO recommends consulting with physicians before taking these medicines.

Origin And Features Of Homeopathic Medicines

The origin of homeopathy can be traced back to the work of the German physician Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. This alternative field of medicine is based on the belief that human body has the power to heal itself. According to this theory, symptoms of any ailment should seldom be suppressed with medicines. It should be used as an indicator to analyze the requirements of the body. The healing process of the human body can be stimulated with the use of these medicines.

Important Features:

Homeopathic medicines are highly diluted to make it powerful and reduce the negative effects of the medicine. Conventional doctors treat illnesses based on the physical manifestation whereas this alternative field of medicine considers the overall well-being of the patient.

These medicines are basically derived from plants, minerals and animals. Some of the most commonly used animal products include ink fluid from the cuttlefish, honey from bees and so forth. Some of the remedies are also derived from mineral ores such as sulfur and sodium chloride.

Homeopathic medicines are prepared in a unique manner with a mixture of alcohol, water and active ingredients. This mixture is then filtered and tincture is produced. This tincture is diluted to decrease its concentration and increase its healing powers. These medicines are available in different potency ranges.

These medicines are available in the form of liquid or dilutions, pellets and tablets. These medicines can be consumed along with conventional medicines to treat various ailments. It is quite effective in treating cold, flu, allergies and eczema. Although these medicines are used to treat various other diseases, most people are doubtful of its curative abilities. It is also administered for PMS in women, depression, anxiety and rheumatism.

It is important to avoid strong beverages while consuming homeopathic medicines as it could render it ineffective. Coffee and alcohol should be avoided completely. It is also wise to keep these medicines away from strong preparations such as Vicks, Tiger balm and so forth.

Benefits of Homeopathic Medicine:

These medicinal products are safe and seldom produce any side effects. The medicinal doses are small and diluted so it believed to be completely harmless. Moreover, as these medicines are derived from plants and minerals, it tends to enhance the curative ability of the body in many ways.

Most of these medicines are available over the counter but it is important to seek the advice of a medical practitioner before consuming it. As there are different remedies associated with the use of these medicines, it is important to use it accordingly. Homeopathic doctors evaluate the symptoms of the diseases and administer medicines accordingly. However, different medicines are administered to people with similar diseases as the human body and its reaction to medicines differ largely.

Although there is no scientific evidence that this alternative field of medicine is effective, it is largely used in different countries to treat various types of ailments. Today homeopathic medicines are available even through online stores at different price rates. Nevertheless, it is important to consult a doctor before administering these medicines.