The term “alternative medicine” can be somewhat misleading. If you combine it with the word “complementary” as in “alternative and complementary medicine”, the meaning is significantly more accurate. But even that series of words to convey fully the essence of holistic healing. The missing link can be summarized in three syllables: pre-Ven-tive. It does not sound very tough, but the phrase “alternative, complementary and preventive medicine” doing a good job of indicating which natural healing is all about.
It is very difficult to see suffering in others. This discomfort is more pronounced in the affected population is relatively helpless. I know that my heart breaks when I see children or the elderly who do not receive the best possible care. This painful cases epitomize why preventative medicine is at the top of the holistic food chain. Simply put, a healthy lifestyle and should span the course of a lifetime. Making the right decisions can promote the welfare of babies in the womb and a protection against the worst aspects of aging well.
Atopic dermatitis or eczema is an inflammation of the skin condition that is fairly common in infants and young children. Two new studies suggest that diet is often a determining factor as to which children are forced to deal with it. The January 22th edition of the journal Allergy examined the food selection of 763 ‘mother-child pairs “to any possible link between diet, supplementation and to investigate the prevalence of eczema. Japanese researchers to monitor the process discovered that a higher intake of beta-carotene, citrus fruits and green + yellow vegetables drastically the number of eczema cases reduced by 48%, 47% and 59% respectively. Unfortunately, every mother-to-do not eat a diet free as this. The good news is that similar benefits can be found if young children are fed a similar diet. A recent study of 422 children showed that those with the highest blood levels of beta-carotene, vitamin E, folic acid and iron were 50-70% less likely to suffer from eczema. The authors of the second trial, noted that “higher antioxidant nutritional risk of AD (atopic dermatitis) and reduces the risk reduction effects depend on nutrient type”. (1,2,3)
I was also pleasantly surprised to find a recent German study of the role that diet plays in acne occurrence to find. The report specifically calls on some foods that have a tendency to excessive release of insulin to stimulate the body. Here are some of the key points in the summary: 1) “Insulinotropic food, especially milk, dairy products and carbohydrates with high glycemic index and smoking lead to pathological exaggeration of physiological already increased growth factor signaling of puberty” – 2) “Acne is the visible metabolic syndrome of the skin by excessive growth factor signaling by Western malnutrition” and 3) the principal investigator goes so far as to suggest that acne vulgaris should “acne alimentaris” due to the profound link between poor nutrition and skin problems in adolescents be renamed.
Many scientists are expressing cautious optimism about a proposed link between vitamin D and the prevention and management of autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis. The latest hopeful sign of this arena can be found in the current issue of the Annals of Neurology. Blood samples were taken from 110 young MS-patients in the course of approximately 1.7 years. At the beginning of the study, all participants were under 18 years. Supervising physicians took note of the frequency and severity of MS-related relapses that each volunteer experience. The results indicate that there is a reduced risk of relapse 34% per 10 ng / ml increase in vitamin D levels. In other words, a patient with a vitamin D of 20 ng / ml 34% greater risk of relapse than a comparable D patient with a level of 30 ng / ml. The principal author of the study, Dr. Ellen M. Mowry, the findings are summarized as follows: “Although we do not know whether vitamin D supplementation will be beneficial for MS patients, the fact that there is a clear link between vitamin D levels and relapse rate provides a strong rationale for conducting of a clinical trial to assess the potential impact of supplementation “to measure. (4,5)
Two other MS / Vitamin D-related studies were published in recent months: the first test reports that higher serum vitamin D (25-OH D) can be linked to lower levels of a substance known as IgG (immunoglobulin G), a MS activity marker. A separate article in the December issue of the Journal of the Neurological Sciences comments on the possible role of vitamin D in protecting against MS-related bone loss due to the use of glucocorticoid medications. (6,7)
Prebiotics (FOS / GOS) can also reduce eczema risk in infantsSource: Arch Dis Child 2006-91:814-819 (link)
The previous research focuses on prevention of subsequent interventions. Now let’s focus on alternative and complementary holistic side of the equation. Acupuncture is a widely used therapy Eastern sometimes can replace conventional care – this is the true sense of an alternative. But in many cases is also used as a complementary treatment that may improve outcomes and the minimization of side effects typically associated with standard care.
Three new studies have looked at the possibilities of acupuncture on women’s health. One of the trials followed 92 young women (14-25 years) suffering from menstrual pain during the course of a year. During that time, half the women received 3 months of acupuncture – a total of 9 treatments. At the 3 month mark, the ones that acupuncture reported lower pain scores and “a small reduction in mood swings.” After 6 months, the acupuncture group noted “a significant reduction in the duration of menstrual pain” and require fewer painkillers to cope with these symptoms. In addition, there were no security described in connection with the acupuncture treatment and was considered “acceptable” by the host. (8)
To minimize the use of synthetic drugs during pregnancy is generally considered desirable by both allopathic and holistic-minded doctors. A Swedish study suggests that acupuncture may be a viable alternative to conventional painkillers in pregnant women suffering from low back and pelvic pain. This suggestion is based on a study conducted on 40 mothers who at 6 weeks of acupuncture treatment – 8 thirty-minute sessions in total. It is interesting to note that half of the participants began the treatment in the 20th week of pregnancy and the rest began in week 26. Both groups showed a significant reduction in pain and an improvement in the quality of life. (9)
Finally, the January 25th edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology gives an example of the use of acupuncture in a complementary manner. 38 women undergoing breast cancer treatment were assigned to “real acupuncture” or sham acupuncture to determine whether a modality treatment-related pain in the joints. The true form of acupuncture that involved site-specific treatment while the sham variety needles placed in “nonacupoint locations”. All women received acupuncture twice a week for 6 weeks. Participants will receive the true form of acupuncture reported reduced “pain-related interference ‘and pain severity as quantified by an index known as the Brief Pain Inventory-Short Form. Both forms of acupuncture were well tolerated. The researchers concluded that the women treated with real acupuncture “significant improvement in joint pain and stiffness, which was not seen with sham acupuncture had.” T
his finding indicates that acupuncture may be a more acceptable experience for breast cancer patients to facilitate and possibly reduce the number of women who normally stop conventional treatment (10).
There is a hierarchy by which many holistic practitioners to look for alternative, complementary and preventive medicine. Prevention is the undisputed king. Historically or scientifically proven alternatives are a distant second, additional practices are the last resort. The reason for this order is that prevention is a fundamental, long-term approach indicates wellness. It is proactive not reactive. The need for alternative solutions is often because a dedicated and personal approach to wellness is not fully in place. But none of us is perfect and we live in a world that is littered with many pitfalls. Therefore there is a real need for alternative “medicines” at times. However, they should be used just like conventional drugs: a) try not to depend on them, b) judicious use and only need. Finally, in the case that an absolute an allopathic / conventional intervention (prescription drugs, surgery, etc.) is needed, they should also consider the possibility of supporting that treatment with complementary therapies from the natural side of healing spectrum.