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Natural Alternative Remedies


This Topic Covers:
 
Natural Health Remedies; Herbal and/or Vitamin Therapy to Treat Conditions and Illnesses; Treating Disease and Conditions with Alternative, Integrative and Holistic Methods; Alternative Treatment Diagnostic Disease & Symptom Links; What You Can Expect From a Naturopath; How to Find a Reputable Naturopath; Definitions of Alternative, Holistic, and Integrative Medicine Treatments; and Premier Alternative- Integrative - Holistic Centers, and More...

 

 


Introduction - The Need For Integrative Methods 

 

 

Reference - www.naturopathic.org - American Association of Naturopathic Physicians

Basic Tenets and Theories of Natural Healing: Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care profession, emphasizing prevention, treatment and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances which encourage the person's inherent self-healing process, the vis medicatrix naturae.

Reference - www.bravewell.org - The Bravewell Collaborative

The philosophical foundation for integrative medicine derives from a multitude of different medical, philosophical and scientific traditions. For example, the idea that a person should be treated in his or her wholeness—mind, body and spirit—is a fundamental premise within integrative medicine that has been informed by the patient-centered care movement, biopyschosocial medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and the medicine of the ancient Greeks as well as modern humanistic and transpersonal psychology.

Prevention and wellness, important aspects of integrative medicine, are grounded in medical science but they also draw from the fields of nutrition, stress management, physical fitness, and environmental health. This "gathering" of human wisdom in an effort to care for individuals in the best way possible is a key factor in why integrative medicine is both effective and desirable. Each person has a significant, innate capacity for healing that can be supported and enhanced, and the primary goal of integrative medicine is to maximize this capacity so that each individual experiences optimal vitality and wellness.

 

Reference - www.rmbarry.com - Researched and written by Brenda Templin

 

Alternative Health Research Report:  Allopathic physicians and pharmaceutical drugs are, and always will be, necessary for acute, emergency medical care and trauma, as well as for conditions that cannot be controlled with lifestyle changes, good nutrition and supplements. But many conditions can be prevented and controlled with lifestyle changes and biologically based medicine.

Conventional physicians treat chronic diseases with expensive pharmaceuticals that may temporarily relieve the painful or uncomfortable symptoms, but the drugs do nothing to resolve the underlying cause, and may actually cause other side effects and serious problems. Because nutrition affects our immune system, organ function, hormonal balance and cellular metabolism, many of these chronic conditions and diseases can be traced to a nutrition deficiency. When the deficiency is not corrected, symptoms begin to appear and eventually lead to disease and premature aging.

Many pharmaceuticals can effectively be replaced with multivitamin supplements, botanicals, amino acids, prebiotics and probiotics, fresh foods and functional foods for both prevention and treatment…

So why are physicians slow to recommend natural alternatives?

Five of the ten leading causes of death in the United States are directly related to lack of proper nutrition. Yet most physicians receive very little, if any, formal training in nutrition…

Not one death was caused by vitamin supplements in 2005 (as reported by the American Association of Poison Control Centers)

It's estimated that over 106,000 hospital deaths per year (one every 5 minutes) are caused by properly prescribed drugs…Journal of the American Medical Association

www.pbs.org - Frontline reports,

The issue isn't that complementary alternative and integrative medicine has been disproven, but that very little research in the last decade has been done to prove or disprove its efficacy or its cost effectiveness. We have so few studies that have been done to a level of excellence that they can authoritatively and definitively tell us, this does work, this doesn't. Read in entirety...

Live Healthy Naturally - Our Recommendations

Evidence is mounting that alternative medicine can play an important role in the prevention and treatment of illnesses and conditions, without the serious and negative side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. 

Based on negative alarming statistics regarding pharmaceutical’s adverse side affects, it is evident that alternative, natural and holistic treatment plans should be aggressively researched and sought after. Seek a doctor that respects, practices, and incorporates both methods of practice: conventional, complementary, natural and alternative, resulting in integrative medicine.

Hence, in doing so you have the best of both worlds, a doctor that is knowledgeable of conventional practices, but is also knowledgeable to the power of treating not only the symptoms, but the underlying cause of a condition and the importance of the mind-body-spirit connection.

Secondly, seek a Naturopath or Holistic just as you would a specialist in any other healthcare field, to work along with your integrative physician.

If however, you attempt to self diagnose and/or treat yourself, we provide and direct you to a means to educate yourself as the researcher – as the patient – as the shopper – within the various topics made available within this web.  If you are not self administering, you should still be somewhat knowledgeable to your patient care, and know where you can obtain credible information as a reference.

22 JUNE 2004 | GENEVA -- Since traditional, complementary and alternative medicines remain largely unregulated, consumers worldwide need to be informed and given the tools to access appropriate, safe and effective treatment. To help address this issue, the World Health Organization (WHO) today releases a new set of guidelines for national health authorities to develop context specific and reliable information for consumer use of alternative medicines.

The Internet offers an ideal way to discover the latest in alternative medicine treatments. Web sites can be updated at any time to keep up with new products, therapies and advances in the field. But beware — the Internet is also one of the greatest sources of misinformation. Carefully investigate each alternative medicine site you visit.  

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Alternative Medicine and the Need for Spiritual Discernment

Retrieved from - www.arcapologetics.org

We have found that accurate information about alternative medicine can be difficult to find, especially for those not familiar with the medical literature. In our book we provide a summary of the best scientific evidence available on over one hundred of the most popular remedies and therapies. (2) We also examine the spiritual benefits and risks from an orthodox Christian world view. This article will review recent trends in alternative medicine and summarize the approach we take: one of urging careful discernment. Underlying this is our conviction that we Christians are called to carefully evaluate all claims before we act upon them. Luke commended the Berean Jews when he wrote in Acts 17:11, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Such study led many of these men and women to believe the Christian message. Such study of alternative medicine’s claims (both scientific and spiritual) is essential if Christians are to avoid the errors that exist in the complex world of alternative medicine.

Many people, including physicians, nurses, and other health care professions, are left confused and frustrated about alternative medicine. People with health-related questions don’t want theological or political debates; they want relief. They don’t want conflicting information, they want trustworthy guidance.

They want to know the right thing to do. Christians also want to please God in their actions, base their beliefs on his Word, the Bible, and reflect his character in their decisions and actions.

When considering a treatment, we should know why we are using whatever therapies or remedies we use—or don’t use. We need to know that a particular remedy is not only effective but reasonably safe. Scientific studies are not perfect, but they are the best way we have available to figure out whether something is effective or safe. Others’ experiences and recommendations can be an important part of any evaluation; but they are not, by themselves, enough to make wise decisions concerning our stewardship of the temples of the Holy Spirit (our bodies), our finances, and our time.

When considering alternative medicine, the spiritual dimensions must also be examined carefully. The first concern should not be whether something spiritual “works.” Rather, the first concern should be whether it is true and brings glory to God. Spiritual practices that arise from belief systems that ignore or deny the claims of God will not lead to true health. Strong faith in something false is like a tower built on sand. Eventually it will crumble.

Therapies and remedies must also be examined from an investment, or stewardship, perspective. We are all limited in the amount of time and money available to us. We should not squander our resources. Christians, especially, are called to be accountable stewards of these resources. Jesus asked, “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?” (Luke 16:11).

We should investigate the claims made about the remedies we put into or onto our bodies, the therapies we allow to be practiced on us, and the practitioners in whom we place our trust. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). To do this, we need to gather information that is medically reliable and biblically sound, weigh the options, seek sensible counsel, pray diligently, and then carefully make decisions that are as informed and as wise as possible.

Retrieved from - www.naturalnews.com

The Bible condemns drugs and says to use herbs as medicine (Opinion) By: Christopher Gussa…The Bible condemns the use of poisons for medicine and labels it as sorcery, and very plainly tells us that true medicine is leaves. The common name used for medical leaves is herbs. Ps.104:14 says that He has given us "herbs for the service of man."

Almost prophetically, Thomas Jefferson gave us this warning: "If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." Remember, this statement was made about 100 years before there ever even was an FDA!

Do you believe for a minute that the government's healthcare plan (under any administration) is designed to help us live longer healthier lives? Do you know how easy it is for medical universities (funded by pharmaceutical companies) to convince new doctors that "drugs save lives"? Have you ever wondered what The Bible says about all this?

Strong's exhaustive concordance of the Bible, which lists every word in the Bible, lists the word "sorcery" as word #5332 and tells us that it is translated from the original Greek word "pharmakon." It gives the definition as: a drug i.e. a spell-giving potion, a druggist or pharmacist, a poisoner.

A pharmacist today has the same Greek title that he had at the time the New Testament was written 2000 years ago, and he is still doing the same thing: dealing in poisonous drugs!

The Bible says that "sorcery", or the use of poisonous drugs, has deceived all nations. "For by thy sorceries (pharmacea) were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth". (Rev. 18:23,24)

Webster's 2nd Collegiate Dictionary published in 1980 under the word
"pharmaceutical." The definition reads: "pharmaceutical" the practice of witchcraft or the use of poison.

The very first place the word "medicine" is used in the Bible is in Proverbs 17:22 and it says, "A merry heart doeth good, like a medicine." If medicine and drugs are the same thing, this would, at first glance, seem to reveal a contradiction in the Bible. This question is answered in the very next text listed in the concordance under medicine: EZ. 47:12, "The fruit thereof shall be for meat and the leaf thereof for medicine." The Bible is telling us that medicine is good and it tells us where to obtain it: from the leaves or what we commonly call "herbs".

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     Evaluating Some Practices That May Oppose Christianity

 

Retrieved from - www.arcapologetics.org

Cautions in Alternative Medicine with Pagan Cultures - The issues that must be evaluated before trying a specific form of alternative medicine are not just scientific. Spiritual discernment is also needed. Many alternative therapies are associated with ancient or traditional cultures which have been viewed through romantic lenses, their lifestyles seen as healthier than modern, fast-paced ones. The therapies, especially the herbs, used for centuries in these cultures would, it is claimed, never have gained acceptance if they were not effective. Thus, some champions of these traditional products claim that their therapies were suppressed for years by Western imperialism and Christian missionary crusades. Only now, they say, are they being rediscovered and made available in the West.

The link with other cultures raises another concern, especially for Christians and others who take their faith seriously. Some alternative therapies are based on practices and rituals that have long been part of pagan or spiritual traditions and other religious practices.

Spirituality is an important concept within much of alternative medicine. Practitioners can be devout Christians or they can believe in worldviews that are radically different from a biblically based worldview. Sometimes the same terms are used, but with meanings that are quite different. For example, prayer may be recommended by various therapists, but they may have completely different practices in mind. A valid concern is that some forms of alternative medicine may be vehicles for the promotion of religious perspectives that are opposed to Christianity. A few may actually involve occult practices.

Some alternative medicine practitioners believe they cannot help their patients without first introducing them to one or another of the ancient Eastern or New Age faith systems. This leads to potential conflict for Christians. They may hear anecdotal stories from friends about shamanism easing arthritis pain without drugs, Therapeutic Touch increasing the speed of healing after wounds, or Reiki easing a chronic health condition. The stories are positive. Nothing is said about the spiritual side of the treatments.

A few general points can be made here. One of the central tenets believed by many in the New Age movement is that all spirituality is good, that no form is any better than another. (19) This is in opposition to the Bible’s message that many problems originate, either directly or indirectly, in the conflict between the spiritual forces of good and evil. Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

The “openness” advocated by many in the alternative medicine community could expose people to practices and spiritual beings whose primary purpose is to harm people and lead them away from the loving Father of the universe. Although some question the existence of evil spiritual forces, Jesus spoke repeatedly about them, and the Bible warns that “your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Before trying any therapy, carefully evaluate its spiritual background and exactly what each part of the practice means for its practitioners.

All Healing is Not from God - We believe that certain alternative therapies have spiritual roots that make their use inappropriate for Christians and unwise for anyone. We do not accept the claim that all healing comes from God and is therefore good. Any type of healing that might occur via these therapies is not worth the spiritual cost. Therefore, from a biblical perspective, some therapies are always wrong to pursue, even for “good” reasons.

Alternative medicine as a whole is not rooted in any particular religious tradition, but some therapies are. A number of healing rituals and traditions are part of the Wiccan religion (also called “white witchcraft”). Eastern religions often view healing as dependent on the movement of “life energy” through nonphysical channels that coincide with the physical body. Native-American religion uses herbs as part of its healing rituals. In a number of nature religions, shamans contact spirit beings or guides to get advice on how to treat and heal those under their care.

The current interest in holistic healing includes concern for spirituality, the meaning of which can be whatever the individual wants it to mean. What is important, according to this approach, is that a person be on some spiritual path. Any therapy can be pursued for its potential healing benefits. All that matters is whether it works. And if others claim it works, it’s worth a try. This leads to a strong emphasis on “personal experience” being the deciding factor. As the developer of Therapeutic Touch stated: “Therapeutic Touch works.… You can do it; everyone who is willing to undertake the discipline to learn Therapeutic Touch can do it. You need only try in order to determine the truth of this statement for yourself. So, I invite you: TRY.”  (20)

The problem that Christians should have with this approach is that the Bible tells us not to engage in certain practices. Certain forms of healing are always wrong because they are accomplished via prohibited methods and have been consistently condemned by God in the Bible. Many of these practices have been incorporated into certain alternative therapies. The most complete list of prohibitions is found in Deuteronomy 18:9–14, although each practice is prohibited in many other passages (see also 1 Corinthians 10:18–21). Prohibited are divination, necromancy (channeling), mediumship, spiritualism, witchcraft, magic, and sorcery.

  • Divination covers a variety of practices used to discover information by supernatural means (Leviticus 19:26; 2 Kings 21:6; Jeremiah 14:14). Also included as divination would be tarot cards, reading or interpreting omens, crystal gazing, and any technique which attempts to discern information transmitted from the spiritual realm through natural objects. Divination includes direct attempts to contact the spirit world for information, as in the use of spirit guides and shamans.

  • Astrology is based on the same principles as divination but uses the stars to uncover hidden information. It is denounced as a waste of time in Isaiah 47:13–14 (see also Jeremiah 10:2).

  • Channeling, or necromancy, has become popular within New Age circles. It involves calling up the spirits of the dead. Isaiah specifically denounces this practice and not because it doesn’t “work.” Rather, necromancy, as with all these practices, displays an attitude of rebellion against God by refusing to do things his way: “When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isaiah 8:19).

  • Mediums and spiritists are those who possess the ability to contact the spirits of the dead (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27; 1 Samuel 28; 2 Kings 21:6; 1 Chronicles 10:13–14).

  • Witchcraft is the use of magical spells and charms to obtain desires through supernatural or psychic powers. God makes his views about magic very clear through Ezekiel. “I am against your magic charms with which you ensnare people like birds and I will tear them from your arms; I will set free the people that you ensnare like birds” (Ezekiel 13:17–21; see also 2 Kings 21:6; Acts 19:18–19).

  • Sorcery is the ability to use magical spells, an ability usually obtained through contacting evil spirits. The prophet Micah brought this message from God to those who in his day dabbled in these occult practices: “I will destroy your witchcraft and you will no longer cast spells” (Micah 5:12; see also Galatians 5:20).

These practices are all condemned because they lead people away from the true God and entrap people in false ways. The use of magic and charms to influence the future reflects a lack of trust in the goodness of God to bring about what is best in a situation. Instead of trying to manipulate the future, we are called to trust in God’s trustworthiness.

The Bible clearly teaches that good and evil spiritual forces exist. Many today deny or ignore this teaching. Performing spiritual acts with good intentions and getting good results does not excuse being unaware of the source of the power behind those acts. Scripture states that evil spiritual forces are powerful and dangerous and should not be dabbled with (Ephesians 6:12; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 4:4).

In our opinion, it is nave and unsafe to think or teach that Satan would not use his powers to heal people, especially since healing is such an important sign of the Messiah. Satan will resort to “good deeds” to deceive people and draw them away from God. Jesus warned us: “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible” (Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22).

Clearly, great discernment must be exercised before dabbling in alternative therapies (or any practice) with a spiritual background. It is never appropriate to use therapies that involve magic, contacting spirit guides or the spirits of the dead, or that attempt to manipulate spiritual powers.

...A similar choice faces those who look to alternative spiritual therapies for healing. Maybe they’ll bring a lot of good, though there’s no guarantee. Wouldn’t God be pleased at the good that could come about?

Not if “good” comes by illegitimate means. God has warned us that certain spiritual practices are not just harmful, but wrong. Are we going to trust him? Will we put our faith in him and his promises? If we do, we will avoid spiritual therapies that connect us with spiritual powers or beings apart from the God of the Bible... Read in entirety - www.arcapologetics.org

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Alarming Health Statistics

www.cancer.duke.edu - cam.pdf

Limitations of research in conventional medical decision-making - It’s often assumed that, in conventional medicine, all treatment recommendations are based on research results. While this is a goal, in reality, conventional medicine is as much art as science, and as fraught with controversy as is complementary and alternative medicine. The U.S. Office of Technology Assessment issued a report in 1978 entitled 'Assessing the Efficacy and Safety of Medical Technology'.1

This report indicates that only 10 - 20% of medical procedures have been shown to be of benefit. Many common treatments had never been evaluated by clinical trials. In addition, up to 75% of studies published at that time had 'invalid or unsupportable conclusions as a result of statistical problems'. Few well-designed trials were found and the preponderance had positive results, indicating that studies with negative results are less likely to be published…

www.lef.org - Life Extension Foundation for Longer Life

Content provided from Life Extension Magazine (Death by Medicine)  By Gary Null, PhD; Carolyn Dean MD, ND; Martin Feldman, MD; Debora Rasio, MD; and Dorothy Smith, PhD 2013, Life Extension Foundation. All rights reserved

A group of researchers meticulously reviewed the statistical evidence and their findings are absolutely shocking. 1-4.  These researchers have authored the following article titled “Death by Medicine” that presents compelling evidence that today’s health care system frequently causes more harm than good.

Life Extension has decided to publish this article in its entirety to call attention to the failure of the American medical system. By exposing these gruesome statistics in painstaking detail, we provide a basis for competent and compassionate medical professionals to recognize the inadequacies of today’s system and at least attempt to institute meaningful reforms.

 

The Nutrition Institute of America is a nonprofit organization that has sponsored independent research for the past 30 years. To support its bold claim that conventional medicine is America’s number-one killer, the Institute mandated that every “count” in this “indictment” of US medicine be validated by published, peer-reviewed scientific studies.

 

His fully referenced report shows the number of people having in-hospital, adverse reactions to prescribed drugs to be 2.2 million annually. The number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed for viral infections is 20 million per year. The number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed is 7.5 million per year. The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization is 8.9 million per year.

 

The most stunning statistic, however, is that the total number of deaths caused by conventional medicine is nearly 800,000 per year. It is now evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the US. By contrast, the number of deaths attributable to heart disease in 2001 was 699,697, while the number of deaths attributable to cancer was 553,251.

 

To read entire text ..Scary Statistics

 

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  Is American Medicine Working

US health care spending reached $1.6 trillion in 2003, representing 14% of the nation’s gross national product.26. Considering this enormous expenditure, we should have the best medicine in the world. We should be preventing and reversing disease, and doing minimal harm. Careful and objective review, however, shows we are doing the opposite. Because of the extraordinarily narrow, technologically driven context in which contemporary medicine examines the human condition, we are completely missing the larger picture.

Medicine is not taking into consideration the following critically important aspects of a healthy human organism:

  • Stress and how it adversely affects the immune system and life processes
  • Insufficient exercise
  • Excessive calorie intake
  • Highly processed and denatured foods grown in denatured and chemically damaged soil
  • Exposure to tens of thousands of environmental toxins.

Instead of minimizing these disease-causing factors, we cause more illness through medical technology, diagnostic testing, overuse of medical and surgical procedures, and overuse of pharmaceutical drugs. The huge disservice of this therapeutic strategy is the result of little effort or money being spent on preventing disease. To read in its entirety…www.lef.org   2013, Life Extension Foundation. All rights reserved.

Reference www4.dr-rath-foundation.org -  by Dr. Rath Health Foundation 

Largely unbeknownst to the American people, there is a war going on that has claimed victims in every family. This war is escalating and threatens every human life. It is a war being waged in the interests of the multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry, which is not a health industry, but rather an investment business built upon the continuation and expansion of global diseases. Your health - and the health of every person in America - is threatened in several ways:

  1. The “business with disease” as the basis of the pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical industry is a multibillion-dollar investment business that has orchestrated the largest fraud in human history; it promises health, but in fact thrives on the continuation of diseases. This fraud scheme is easily unmasked: Most pharmaceutical drugs are designed to merely cover disease symptoms, but are not intended to cure or eradicate diseases. As a direct result of this multibillion-dollar fraud business, no cure has been found for cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes or any other chronic disease. On the contrary, these diseases continue in epidemic proportions, killing about 5,000 - five thousand - Americans EACH DAY…
  1. The epidemic of dangerous side effects caused by pharmaceutical drugs. The dangerous side effects of Vioxx, Celebrex, Lipitor and Prozac are not the exception - they are the rule. Due to their synthetic nature, most pharmaceutical drugs are toxic to our bodies, causing organ damage and other serious side effects. According to the American Medical Association, one million Americans suffer disabilities from taking pharmaceutical drugs and more than 100,000 of them die as a result of this - EACH YEAR!
  1. Withholding lifesaving information about the health benefits of vitamins and natural therapies. A precondition for this “business with disease” based on patentable synthetic drugs is the suppression of effective and safe - but non-patentable and, therefore, less profitable - natural therapies…Through their strategic influence, the pharmaceutical industry has established a global monopoly on medicine. As a direct result, generations of medical doctors have not received adequate training in nutritional and other natural therapies. Doctors and patients alike have become victims of the pharmaceutical industry's efforts to monopolize human health. As a result, tens of millions of Americans have died unnecessarily over the past decades because this lifesaving health information has not been available to them. Read in entirety…www4.dr-rath-foundation.org

www4.dr-rath-foundation.org -  by Dr. Rath Health Foundation 

 

Suppressing effective natural health therapies by law. Effective, safe and non-patentable natural therapies threaten the very basis of the pharmaceutical investment business. They target and correct the underlying cellular deficiencies of today’s most common diseases, thereby preventing and eventually eradicating them.

The elimination of any disease inevitably destroys a multibillion-dollar drug market for the pharmaceutical industry. Thus, the pharmaceutical industry has launched a global campaign to protect its patent-based “business with disease” by outlawing natural, non-patentable therapies at the national and international level. This is the background for the Bush administration's attack on the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), the key legislation protecting the rights of the American people for free access to natural therapies and to freedom of health choice. If this fundamental human right to natural health is taken away, the health of billions of people will be compromised and tens of millions of them will pay the ultimate price for generations to come.

Reference www.pbs.org - The Alternative Fix

 

How good is America's drug safety system? Since 1997, more than a dozen prescription drugs have been taken off the market due to serious side effects -- in some cases after hundreds of injuries and even deaths have occurred. Is the Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for approving and monitoring the safety of the medications we take, up to the task?


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  Consumer Rights Comprised

Retrieved from - www.bastyrcenter.org - Bastyr Center for Natural Health

 

Is There an FDA Enforcement Bias? In addition, the FDA’s enforcement policies appear to favor the pharmaceutical industry over producers of natural substances. During the past several years, there have been numerous instances in which the agency cited drug companies for misleading advertising. However, none of the medicines in question were removed from the market. Moreover, the “punishment” was typically limited to a cease-and-desist order, often coming after the public had already “gotten the message” from an intensive advertising campaign...Read entire article…www.bastyrcenter.org  

 

 

Source obtained from - www.organicconsumers.org

 

If you think that your freedom to select alternative health choices may be comprised and that the above is too far fetched …Read further Health Freedom Warning: Drug Company Seeks to Outlaw Vitamin B6 to Protect Pharma Profits - www.organicconsumers.org

 

 

www.telegraph.co.uk/news Reports,

 

NINETY per cent of multi-vitamin and mineral preparations and many other supplements are likely to be removed from the shelves of British health shops… Under a move to harmonise the sale of vitamin and mineral supplements, lists have been drawn up of permissible supplements and their sources, which exclude more than 300 items available in Britain… Read furtherwww.telegraph.co.uk/news

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Reference - www.who.int - The World Health Organization (WHO)  

Traditional medicine has maintained its popularity in all regions of the developing world and its use is rapidly spreading in industrialized countries.

Key facts:

  • In some Asian and African countries, 80% of the population depend on traditional medicine for primary health care.

  • Herbal medicines are the most lucrative form of traditional medicine, generating billions of dollars in revenue.

  • Traditional medicine can treat various infectious and chronic conditions: new antimalarial drugs were developed from the discovery and isolation of artemisinin from Artemisia annua L., a plant used in China for almost 2000 years.

  • Counterfeit, poor quality, or adulterated herbal products in international markets are serious patient safety threats.

  • More than 100 countries have regulations for herbal medicines.

Who uses traditional medicine?

In many developed countries, 70% to 80% of the population has used some form of alternative or complementary medicine (e.g. acupuncture).

Herbal treatments are the most popular form of traditional medicine, and are highly lucrative in the international marketplace. Annual revenues in Western Europe reached US$ 5 billion in 2003-2004. In China sales of products totaled US$ 14 billion in 2005. Herbal medicine revenue in Brazil was US$ 160 million in 2007.

www.pbs.org - The Alternative Fix Reports,

 

Today, just eleven years after its founding, NCCAM has an annual budget of $115 million and a staff of seventy, and is conducting more than 200 research projects on CAM therapies. In addition, more than 20 percent of U.S. hospitals now offer some form of alternative therapy alongside their conventional medical treatments… posted November 2003.

 

Reference - energymedicineuniversity.org

  • The National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) reports that more than 42% of Americans use alternative medicine to address their health and wellness concerns.

  • The budget for the NCCAM rose from $2 million in 1993 to $50 million in 1999.

  • In addition, Americans spent more than $28 billion on these therapies in 1998, exceeding out-of-pocket spending for all USA hospitalizations.

  • The Journal of the American Medical Association reports a 48.3% increase in total visits to alternative medicine practitioners between 1990 and 1998.

  • A 1994 published survey revealed that more than 60% of doctors from a wide range of specialties recommended alternative modalities to patients at least once. The same study also reported that 48% of those doctors used alternative modalities themselves.

  • Nearly 85% of USA medical schools offer elective courses in alternative and complementary medicine or include it in required courses.

  • In 1993, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that more than 34% of all Americans have used some form of alternative medicine. A 1998 follow-up study showed that this figure increased to 42% of all Americans.

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 Priorities for Promoting the Use of Integrative Medicines

Reference - www.who.int

 

WHO and its Member States cooperate to promote the use of traditional medicine for health care. The collaboration aims to:

  • support and integrate traditional medicine into national health systems in combination with national policy and regulation for products, practices and providers to ensure safety and quality;
  • ensure the use of safe, effective and quality products and practices, based on available evidence;
  • acknowledge traditional medicine as part of primary health care, to increase access to care and preserve knowledge and resources; and
  • ensure patient safety by upgrading the skills and knowledge of traditional medicine providers.

Reference - www.bravewell.org

Bravewell believes that by shifting the focus of our health care system to prevention, health maintenance, early intervention and patient-centered care, integrative medicine holds the power to not only transform the economic models that impede our present health care system but to vastly improve public health, which is essential to our nation's future.

Initiatives

Identifying and Disseminating Leading Models of Integrative Care

Identify and document the leading models of integrative health care, especially those with demonstrated health benefits and/or cost-effectiveness data, and share this evidence with health systems and others in a position to drive health systems change.

Strengthening Integrative Medicine Programs

Empower and accelerate the growth of leading clinical centers of integrative medicine that can serve as models for change in the health care delivery system, and to expand the ranks of leading integrative medicine providers through the Bravewell Fellowship program.

Developing the Research Base for Integrative Medicine

Establish a practice-based research network in integrative medicine that will study the benefits of an integrative approach to care, and to identify partners with whom larger-scale research projects can be conducted that demonstrate the positive health outcomes and economic benefits of integrative models of care.

Changing the Way Physicians are Educated

Develop and support efforts that build the capacity of physicians to practice integrative medicine.

Championing Physician Leaders

Empower and support physician champions of integrative medicine to help transform the culture of health care and to reclaim relationship-centered healing.

Educating the Public

Reach opinion leaders and the general public and educate them on the values and programs of integrative medicine.

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  Safety & Efficacy Issues

Reference - www.who.int

 

New WHO guidelines to promote proper use of alternative medicines:  Adverse drug reactions to alternative medicines have more than doubled in three years… WHO supports traditional and alternative medicines when these have demonstrated benefits for the patient and minimal risks,” said Dr. LEE Jong-wook, Director-General of WHO. “But as more people use these medicines, governments should have the tools to ensure all stakeholders have the best information about their benefits and their risks."

22 JUNE 2004 | GENEVA -- Since traditional, complementary and alternative medicines remain largely unregulated, consumers worldwide need to be informed and given the tools to access appropriate, safe and effective treatment. To help address this issue, the World Health Organization (WHO) today releases a new set of guidelines for national health authorities to develop context specific and reliable information for consumer use of alternative medicines.

nccam.nih.gov

Safe Use of Complementary Health Products and Practices: As with any treatment, it is important to consider safety before using complementary health products and practices. Safety depends on the specific therapy, and each complementary product or practice should be considered on its own.

Mind and body practices such as meditation and yoga, for example, are generally considered to be safe in healthy people when practiced appropriately. Natural products such as herbal medicines or botanicals are often sold as dietary supplements and are readily available to consumers; however, there is a lot we don’t know about the safety of many of these products, in part because a manufacturer does not have to prove the safety and effectiveness of a dietary supplement before it is available to the public.

Two of the main safety concerns for dietary supplements are:

  • The possibilities of drug interactions—for example, research has shown that St. John’s Wort interacts with drugs such as antidepressants in ways that can interfere with their intended effects.

  • The possibilities of product contamination—supplements have been found to contain hidden prescription drugs or other compounds, particularly in dietary supplements marketed for weight loss, sexual health including erectile dysfunction, and athletic performance or body-building.

  • Talk to your primary health care providers if you are considering a CAM therapy. They may be able to answer questions and/or refer you to a practitioner. Also, be aware that there are other resources for locating a CAM practitioner, such as professional organizations for specific practitioner groups.

Gather basic information on the CAM practitioners you are considering, such as education, experience, and cost, and interview them in person or by telephone. Make your selection based on their answers to your questions, and your level of comfort during the interview.

 

Reference - www.who.int

 

Various types of traditional medicine and other medical practices referred to as complementary or alternative medicine are increasingly used in both developing and developed countries. In order to promote safe and appropriate use of these medicines and practices, as well as to ensure the quality of service and practitioners, national regulations are vital. Establishing national policies on traditional medicine, and/or complementary/alternative medicine and their medical practices, should therefore include creation of legal frameworks.

This review summarizes the legal status of several major practices in traditional medicine and complementary/alternative medicine in 123 countries. It includes data on: the use of traditional and complementary/alternative medicine; the regulatory situation of traditional and complementary/alternative remedies and practitioners; health insurance coverage of traditional and complementary/alternative medicine; education and training of practitioners of traditional and complementary/alternative medicine.

Information provided in this review will be useful not only to policy makers, but also to researchers, universities, the public, insurance companies and pharmaceutical industries
.

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    Reasons for Using Alternative Medicine

nccam.nih.gov - Content provided from The National Institutes Of Health

The survey asked people to select from five reasons to describe why they used CAM. Results were as follows (people could select more than one reason):

  • CAM would be interesting to try: 50%
  • Conventional medical treatments would not help: 28%
  • A conventional medical professional suggested trying CAM: 26%
  • Conventional medical treatments are too expensive: 13%
  • CAM would improve health when used in combination with conventional medical treatments: 55%

The survey found that most people use CAM along with conventional medicine rather than in place of conventional medicine.

How Many People Use CAM - In the United States, approximately 38 percent of adults (about 4 in 10) and approximately 12 percent of children (about 1 in 9) are using some form of CAM.

Who Uses CAM Most - People of all backgrounds use CAM. However, CAM use among adults is greater among women and those with higher levels of education and higher incomes.


CAM Therapies Used the Most - Nonvitamin, nonmineral natural products are the most commonly used CAM therapy among adults. Use has increased for several therapies, including deep breathing exercises, meditation, massage therapy, and yoga.

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Definitions:  Holistic-Traditional-Alternative-Complementary-Integrative

Reference - www.holisticmedicine.org

Holistic medicine is the art and science of healing that addresses care of the whole person - body, mind, and spirit. The practice of holistic medicine integrates conventional and complementary therapies to promote optimal health, and prevent and treat disease by addressing contributing factors. Holistic healthcare practitioners strive to meet the patient with grace, kindness, acceptance, and spirit without condition, as love is life’s most powerful healer.

In practice, this means that each person is seen as a unique individual, rather than an example of a particular disease. Disease is understood to be the result of physical, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental imbalance. Healing, therefore, takes place naturally when these aspects of life are brought into proper balance. The role of the practitioner is as guide, mentor and role model; the patient must do the work - changing lifestyle, beliefs and old habits in order to facilitate healing. All appropriate methods may be used, from medication to meditation.

Reference - www.abihm.org - American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine

Integrative Holistic Medicine

Integrative Medicine — the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between the practitioner and the patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing. (Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine Steering Committee)

Holistic Medicine — medical care that views physical and mental and spiritual aspects of life as closely interconnected and equally important approaches to treatment.

Integrative Holistic Medicine is the art and science of healing that addresses care of the whole person: body, mind, and spirit.

Reference - World Health Organization

Traditional medicine is the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness.

The terms "complementary medicine" or "alternative medicine" are used inter-changeably with traditional medicine in some countries. They refer to a broad set of health care practices that are not part of that country's own tradition and are not integrated into the dominant health care system.

nccam.nih.gov - The National Center for Complimentary & Alternative Medicine

“Complementary and alternative medicine,” “complementary medicine,” “alternative medicine,” “integrative medicine”—we have all seen these terms on the Internet and in marketing, but what do they really mean? While the terms are often used to mean the array of health care approaches with a history of use or origins outside of mainstream medicine, they are actually hard to define and may mean different things to different people. This fact sheet looks into these terms to help you understand them better:

Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine. An example of a complementary therapy is using aromatherapy.  A therapy in which the scent of essential oils from flowers, herbs, and trees is inhaled to promote health and well being to help lessen a patient's discomfort following surgery.

Alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. An example of an alternative therapy is using a special diet to treat cancer instead of undergoing surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy that has been recommended by a conventional doctor.

Integrative medicine combines treatments from conventional medicine and CAM (Complimentary Alternative Medicine) for which there is some high-quality evidence of safety and effectiveness. It is also called integrated medicine. For example, cancer treatment centers with integrative health care programs may offer services such as acupuncture and meditation to help manage symptoms and side effects for patients who are receiving conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.

There are various definitions for “integrative health care,” but several facts about this growing health trend are clear:

  • It’s happening now. Many individuals, health care providers, and health care systems are integrating various practices with origins outside of mainstream medicine into treatment and health promotion.

  • The integrative trend is growing among providers and health care systems. Driving factors include marketing of integrative care by health care providers to consumers who perceive benefits to health or well-being, and emerging evidence that some of the perceived benefits are real or meaningful.

  • The scientific evidence is limited. In many instances, a lack of reliable data makes it difficult for people to make informed decisions about using integrative health care.

What is CAM? – Complimentary Alternative Medicine - CAM is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine, and alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine

The list of practices that are considered CAM changes continually, as those therapies that are proven to be safe and effective become adopted into conventional health care and as new approaches to health care emerge.

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    Types of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

nccam.nih.gov - The National Center for Complimentary & Alternative Medicine

NCCAM groups CAM practices into four domains, recognizing there can be some overlap. In addition, NCCAM studies CAM whole medical systems, which cut across all domains.

Whole Medical Systems are built upon complete systems of theory and practice. Often, these systems have evolved apart from and earlier than the conventional medical approach used in the United States. Examples of whole medical systems that have developed in Western cultures include: Homeopathic Medicine  - Naturopathic Medicine - Chinese Medicine - Ayurveda

Homeopathic Medicine - Homepathy seeks to stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself by giving very small doses of highly diluted substances that in larger doses would produce illness or symptoms (an approach called “like cures like).

Naturopathic Medicine  - Naturopathy aims to support the body’s ability to heal itself through the use of dietary and lifestyle changes together with CAM therapies such as herbs, massage, and joint manipulation.

Chinese Medicine - A whole medical system that originated in China is based on the concept that disease results from disruption in the flow of gi and imbalance in the forces of yin and yang.  Practices such as herbs, meditation, massage, and acupuncture seek to aid healing by restoring the yin-yang balance and flow of qi.

Ayurveda  - A whole medical system that originated in India, it aims to integrate the body, mind, and spirit to prevent and treat disease.  Therapies used include herbs, massage, and yoga.

Mind-Body Medicine uses a variety of techniques designed to enhance the mind's capacity to affect bodily function and symptoms. Some techniques that were considered CAM in the past have become mainstream (for example, patient support groups and cognitive-behavioral therapy). Other mind-body techniques are still considered CAM, including meditation…prayer, mental healing, and therapies that use creative outlets such as art, music, or dance.

Biologically Based Practices in CAM use substances found in nature, such as herbs, foods, and vitamins. Some examples include dietary supplements, herbal products, and the use of other so-called natural but as yet scientifically unproven therapies (for example, using shark cartilage to treat cancer).

The CAM domain of biologically based practices includes, but is not limited to, botanicals, animal-derived extracts, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, proteins, prebiotics and probiotics, whole diets, and functional foods.

Manipulative and Body-Based Practices:  Are based on manipulation, and/or movement of one or more parts of the body. Some examples include chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation. A type of manipulation practiced by osteopathic physicians.  It is combined with physical therapy and instruction in proper posture.

Massage practices: Are based on pressing, rubbing, and moving muscles and other soft tissues of the body, primarily by using the hands and fingers.  The aim is to increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the massaged area. 

Energy Medicine therapies involve the use of energy fields. They are of two types:

  • Veritable, which can be measured

  • Putative, which have yet to be measured

The veritable energies employ mechanical vibrations (such as sound) and electromagnetic forces, including visible light, magnetism, monochromatic radiation (such as laser beams), and rays from other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. They involve the use of specific, measurable wavelengths and frequencies to treat patients.2

In contrast, putative energy fields (also called biofields) have defied measurement to date by reproducible methods. Therapies involving putative energy fields are based on the concept that human beings are infused with a subtle form of energy. This vital energy or life force is known under different names in different cultures – prana, etheric energy, fohat, orgone, odic force, mana, and homeopathic resonance.3 Vital energy is believed to flow throughout the material human body, but it has not been unequivocally measured by means of conventional instrumentation. Nonetheless, therapists claim that they can work with this subtle energy, see it with their own eyes, and use it to effect changes in the physical body and influence health.

Practitioners of energy medicine believe that illness results from disturbances of these subtle energies (the biofield) an energy field that is proposed to surround and flow through out the human body and play a role in health. For example, more than 2,000 years ago, Asian practitioners postulated that the flow and balance of life energies are necessary for maintaining health and described tools to restore them. Acupuncture, acupressure, moxibustion, and cupping, for example, are all believed to act by correcting imbalances in the internal biofield, such as by restoring the flow of qi through meridians to reinstate health. Some therapists are believed to emit or transmit the vital energy (external qi) to a recipient to restore health.4

Biofield therapies are intended to affect energy fields that purportedly surround and penetrate the human body. The existence of such fields has not yet been scientifically proven. Some forms of energy therapy manipulate biofields by applying pressure and/or manipulating the body by placing the hands in, or through, these fields. Examples include:

  • Gi-Gong – A component of Chinese medicine that combines movement, meditation, and controlled breathing.  The intent is to improve blood flow and the flow of gi.

  • Reiki - A therapy in which practitioners seek to transmit a universal energy to a person, either from a distance or by placing their hands on or near that person. The intent is to heal the spirit and thus the body.

  • Therapeutic Touch – A therapy in which practitioners pass their hands over another person’s body with the intent to use their own perceived healing energy to identify energy imbalances and promote health.

  • Bioelectromagnetic-based therapies involve the unconventional use of electromagnetic fields, such as pulsed fields, magnetic fields, or alternating current or direct-current fields.

Distant Healing:  Proponents of energy field therapies also claim that some of these therapies can act across long distances. For example, the long-distance effects of external qi gong have been studied in China and summarized in the book Scientific Qigong Exploration, which has been translated into English.21 The studies reported various healing cases and described the nature of qi as bidirectional, multifunctional, adaptable to targets, and capable of effects over long distances. But none of these claims has been independently verified.

Intercessory prayer:  Another form of distant healing is intercessory prayer, in which a person prays for the healing of another person who is a great distance away, with or without that person's knowledge.

Magnetic Therapy: Static magnets have been used for centuries in efforts to relieve pain or to obtain other alleged benefits (e.g., increased energy). Numerous anecdotal reports have indicated that individuals have experienced significant, and at times dramatic, relief of pain after the application of static magnets over a painful area. Although the literature on the biological effects of magnetic fields is growing, there is a paucity of data from well-structured, clinically sound studies. However, there is growing evidence that magnetic fields can influence physiological processes. 

Sound Energy Therapy sometimes referred to as vibrational or frequency therapy includes music therapy as well as wind chime and tuning fork therapy. The presumptive basis of its effect is that specific sound frequencies resonate with specific organs of the body to heal and support the body. Music therapy has been the most studied among these interventions, with studies dating back to the 1920s, when it was reported that music affected blood pressure.11 Other studies have suggested that music can help reduce pain and anxiety.

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The History of Alternative-Integrative Medicine

 

www.thenewmedicine.org

Explore the history of integrative medicine:  Timeline illustrates, integrative medicine is a natural outgrowth of many different healing systems, and it continues to blend cultures and ideas – both old and new.  Illustration defines and outlines mind-body-spirit modalities and cultures dating back to 3000 BCE to present, and how each have adapted and incorporated mind-body-spirit therapies.

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    Fundamental Principles of Naturopathic Medicine

Source - www.naturopathic.org

Overview:

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care -an art, science, philosophy and practice of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of illness. Naturopathic medicine is distinguished by the principles which underlie and determine its practice. These principles are based upon the objective observation of the nature of health and disease, and are continually reexamined in the light of scientific advances. Methods used are consistent with these principles and are chosen upon the basis of patient individuality. Naturopathic physicians are trained as primary health care physicians whose diverse techniques include modern and traditional, scientific and empirical methods. The following principles are the foundation for the practice of naturopathic medicine:


Principles:

The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae) - The healing power of nature is the inherent self -organizing and healing process of living systems which establishes, maintains and restores health. Naturopathic medicine recognizes this healing process to be ordered and intelligent. It is the naturopathic physician's role to support, facilitate and augment this process by identifying and removing obstacles to health and recovery, and by supporting the creation of a healthy internal and external environment. 

Identify and Treat the Causes (Tolle Causam) - Illness does not occur without cause. Causes may originate in many areas. Underlying causes of illness and disease must be identified and removed before complete recovery can occur. Symptoms can be expressions of the body's attempt to defend itself, to adapt and recover, to heal itself, or may be results of the causes of disease. The naturopathic physician seeks to treat the causes of disease, rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms. 


First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere) Naturopathic physicians follow three precepts to avoid harming the patient: 

  • Naturopathic physicians utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful effects, and apply the least possible force or intervention necessary to diagnose illness and restore health.
  • Whenever possible the suppression of symptoms is avoided as suppression generally interferes with the healing process. 
  • Naturopathic physicians respect and work with the vis medicatrix naturae in diagnosis, treatment and counseling, for if this self -healing process is not respected the patient may be harmed. 

Doctor as Teacher (Docere) - The original meaning of the word "doctor" is teacher. A principal objective of naturopathic medicine is to educate the patient and emphasize self-responsibility for health. Naturopathic physicians also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship. 

Treat the Whole Person - Health and disease result from a complex of physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development. Naturopathic medicine recognizes the harmonious functioning of all aspects of the individual as being essential to health. The multifactorial nature of health and disease requires a personalized and comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment. Naturopathic physicians treat the whole person, taking all of these factors into account. 


Prevention: 

Naturopathic medical colleges emphasize the study of health as well as disease. The prevention of disease and the attainment of optimal health in patients are primary objectives of naturopathic medicine. In practice, these objectives are accomplished through education and the promotion of healthy ways of living. 


Naturopathic physicians assess risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease, and make appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illness. Naturopathic medicine asserts that one cannot be healthy in an unhealthy environment and is committed to the creation of a world in which humanity may thrive. 

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What to Expect from a Naturopath Provider

Reference Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors - Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors

Naturopathic doctors use conventional and naturopathic diagnostic tools for assessing health concerns and determining the most appropriate treatment program. The diagnostic tools used include:

Thorough Health History: The initial intake with a Naturopathic Doctor is usually about 1 to 2 hours in length and includes a detailed history. A Naturopathic Doctor will take the time to find out about your family history, your lifestyle, the stressors in your life, past medical history, history of accidents or injuries and the significant events in your life that have affected your health or well being.

Nutritional Analysis:  Understanding your nutritional status, eating habits and patterns and the type of food that you eat on a regular is an important part of the naturopathic assessment.

Physical Examinations:  Naturopathic Doctors are trained to do complete physical exams and use them as a standard part of an assessment. As your health changes or as acute situations arise, Naturopathic Doctors will use aspects of the physical examination to aid in diagnosis and assessment of your health concerns. Having a complete physical exam on a yearly basis is an essential part of preventative health care. Naturopathic Doctors often take the time to ensure that the "small" symptoms are identified and addressed before they become a "bigger" problem.  

 

Chinese Tongue and Pulse Diagnosis: Traditional Chinese Medicine provides additional insight and information about an individual's health status. Through tongue and pulse diagnosis, a naturopathic doctor is able to understand a person's health status on many different levels.

 

Comprehensive Laboratory Testing: Laboratory testing, including urine analysis, blood work and saliva testing, is an essential aspect of a complete medical assessment. Naturopathic Doctors will use standard laboratory testing to provide them with further information for a complete assessment.

 

Previous Medical Reports and Diagnostic Testing: All medical reports, such as MRIs, X-rays or scans are valuable assets that a naturopathic doctor will use during their assessment of your health concerns. Naturopathic Doctors will refer to another medical health professional when appropriate to ensure that all patients receive the best quality health care possible and that all required information is available in order to fully understand the root causes of a patient's health concerns.

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How to Choose a Naturopath Provider

Retrieved from - takingcharge.csh.umn.edu University of Minnesota


All of the tips on seeking a competent provider apply to integrative therapies as well. But sometimes finding the right integrative practitioner can be difficult. There is more variability in training, and the regulations that govern integrative practitioners vary considerably from state to state. However, qualified integrative practitioners make a great addition to your healthcare team. Here are a few tips for choosing one:

 

1. Get referrals.

One of the best ways to find an integrative therapy provider is through a referral from someone you trust. Start talking with friends, co-workers, or neighbors about integrative therapists they have found effective. Many practitioners rely on word of mouth, so first-person accounts are helpful. Of course, you'll also need to interview the practitioner and check on licensure and/or other quality measures before committing to treatments. But asking for referrals is a good first step.

2. Check the web for professional organization and certification information.

You may begin your search for an integrative provider by researching professional organizations and other resources online. This electronic research can offer certification information (e.g. how many hours a practitioner must study with an accredited school or instructor) as well as offer contact information. 

3. Check licensure.

Licensure for integrative therapy providers varies widely by state. For example, chiropractors are licensed in all 50 states, whereas naturopathic physicians are licensed in only 14 states.

4. Ask questions.

Once you've selected an integrative provider you'd like to meet, you can consider the items on the Choosing a Provider Checklist. However, here are some additional questions for integrative therapy practitioners: 

  • Do you accept my health insurance?
  • Do I file the claim forms, or do you (the provider) take care of that?
  • What is the cost for an initial appointment?
  • How many treatments will I need?
  • How much will each treatment cost?
  • Can I receive treatment for a trial period to see if the therapy works for me before I commit to a full course?

It can also be useful to ask which insurance plans the practitioner accepts, in case you become interested in changing plans at some point (for example, through a change of employment).

The following considerations are offered as a guide to help you find a practitioner with whom you are comfortable. Optimum health is more likely to be present when you work with someone who is supportive of your efforts to be in charge of your life. Some of the criteria may not apply to all situations. Please click here to review recommendations and guidelines to get valuable information on how to find a qualified holistic health professional. www.holisticmedicine.org

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   Naturopathic Physician Credentials

Reference - www.aanmc.org - Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges

Students of naturopathic medicine use the Western medical sciences as a foundation on which to build a thorough knowledge of holistic, non-toxic therapies and develop skills in diagnosis, disease prevention and wellness optimization. Graduates from naturopathic medical schools must pass the comprehensive naturopathic physicians licensing examinations (NPLEX) to be licensed as primary care physicians. Candidates for full licensure must also satisfy all licensing requirements for the individual state or province in which they plan to practice.

Reference - www.naturopathic.org - American Association of Naturopathic Physicians

Licensed States & Licensing Authorities: Currently, 17 states, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands have licensing or regulation laws for naturopathic doctors. In these states, naturopathic doctors are required to graduate from an accredited four-year residential naturopathic medical school and pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license. Licensed naturopathic physicians must fulfill state-mandated continuing education requirements annually, and will have a specific scope of practice defined by their state's law. The states that currently have licensing laws for naturopathic physicians are: (complete listing here).

Professional Education: A licensed naturopathic physician (ND) attends a four-year, graduate-level naturopathic medical school and is educated in all of the same basic sciences as an MD, but also studies holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. In addition to a standard medical curriculum, the naturopathic physician is required to complete four years of training in clinical nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology, and counseling (to encourage people to make lifestyle changes in support of their personal health). A naturopathic physician takes rigorous professional board exams so that he or she may be licensed by a state or jurisdiction as a primary care general practice physician.

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  Find Alternative Practitioner Providers

Search the following holistic medicine directories for alternative medicine providers and healing practitioners by specialty or name in your area:

 

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     What to Look For On the Internet

The Internet offers an ideal way to discover the latest in alternative medicine treatments. Web sites can be updated at any time to keep up with new products, therapies and advances in the field. But beware — the Internet is also one of the greatest sources of misinformation. Carefully investigate each alternative medicine site you visit. Considering these features that can help you weed out the good products from the bad: 

Reference www.cfsan.fda.gov  

First, it's important to carefully consider the source of information and then to discuss the information you find with your health care professional. These questions and answers can help you determine whether the health information you find on the Internet or receive by e-mail from a Web site is likely to be reliable.

Millions of consumers are using the Internet to get health information. And thousands of Web sites are offering health information. Some of those sites are reliable and up-to-date; some are not. How can you tell the good from the bad?

 

Who runs the Web site?

Any good health Web site should make it easy to learn who is responsible for the site and its information. On the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Web site, for example, the FDA is clearly noted on every major page, along with a link to the site's home (main) page, www.fda.gov. Information about who runs the site can often be found in an "About Us" or "About This Web Site" section, and there's usually a link to that section on the site's home page.

 

What is the purpose of the Web site?

Is the purpose of the site to inform? Is it to sell a product? Is it to raise money? If you can tell who runs and pays for the site, this will help you evaluate its purpose. Be cautious about sites trying to sell a product or service. Quackery abounds on the Web. Look for these warning signs and remember the adage "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

  • Does the site promise quick, dramatic, miraculous results? Is this the only site making these claims?

  • Beware of claims that one remedy will cure a variety of illnesses, that it is a "breakthrough," or that it relies on a "secret ingredient."

  • Use caution if the site uses a sensational writing style (lots of exclamation points, for example.)

  • A health Web site for consumers should use simple language, not technical jargon. Get a second opinion. Check more than one site.

What is the original source of the information on the Web site?

Always pay close attention to where the information on the site comes from. Many health and medical Web sites post information collected from other Web sites or sources. If the person or organization in charge of the site did not write the material, the original source should be clearly identified. Be careful of sites that don't say where the information comes from.

 

Good sources of health information include:

  • Sites that end in ".gov," sponsored by the federal government, like the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (www.hhs.gov), the FDA (www.fda.gov), the National Institutes of Health (www.nih.gov), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov), and the National Library of Medicine (www.nlm.nih.gov)

  • .edu sites, which are run by universities or medical schools, such as Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of California at Berkeley Hospital, health system, and other health care facility sites, like the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic

  • .org sites maintained by not-for-profit groups whose focus is research and teaching the public about specific diseases or conditions, such as the American Diabetes Association, the American Cancer Society, and the American Heart Association

  • Medical and scientific journals, such as The New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association, although these aren't written for consumers and could be hard to understand.

  • Sites whose addresses end in .com are usually commercial sites and are often selling products

How is the information on the Web site documented?

In addition to identifying the original source of the material, the site should identify the evidence on which the material is based. Medical facts and figures should have references (such as citations of articles in medical journals). Also, opinions or advice should be clearly set apart from information that is "evidence-based" (that is, based on research results).

How is information reviewed before it is posted on the Web site?

Health-related Web sites should give information about the medical credentials of the people who prepare or review the material on the Web site.

How current is the information on the Web site?

Web sites should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. It is particularly important that medical information be current, and that the most recent update or review date be clearly posted. These dates are usually found at the bottom of the page. Even if the information has not changed, it is helpful to know that the site owners have reviewed it recently to ensure that the information is still valid. Click on a few links on the site. If there are a lot of broken links, the site may not be kept up-to-date.

How does the Web site choose links to other sites?

Reliable Web sites usually have a policy about how they establish links to other sites. Some medical Web sites take a conservative approach and do not link to any other sites; some link to any site that asks or pays for a link; others link only to sites that have met certain criteria. Look for the Web site's linking policy, often found in a section titled "About This Web Site."

 

 

Live Healthy Naturally - Additional Evaluation Tips:

 

Dates: Search for the most recent information you can find. Reputable Web sites include a date for each article they post. Older material may not include recent findings, such as newly discovered side effects or advances in the field.

Documentation: Check for the source of information 

  • Some Web sites post a logo from the Health on the Net (HON) Foundation. Sites that display this logo have agreed to abide by the HON Code of Conduct, which regulates reliability and credibility of information.
  • Notice whether articles refer to solid scientific studies.
  • Look for a board of qualified professionals who review information before it's published. 
  • Be wary of commercial sites or personal testimonials that push a single point of view or sell miracle cures. 
  • Stay away from sites that don't clearly distinguish between scientific evidence and advertisements.

Double-checking: Visit several health sites and compare the information they offer. And before you follow any medical advice, ask your doctor for guidance. If you search all over a Web site for supporting evidence or you can't find evidence to back up the manufacturer's claims, be wary of the information.

Beware of scams and health fraud:  Scammers have perfected ways to convince you that their alternative medicine products are the best. These opportunists often target people who are overweight or who have medical conditions for which there is no cure, such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS and arthritis. Remember — if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Certain words and phrases can be warning signs of potentially fraudulent alternative medicine products. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that you watch out for the following claims or practices:

  • Red flag words. The advertisements or promotional materials usually include words such as "satisfaction guaranteed," "miracle cure" or "new discovery." If the product were in fact a cure, it would be widely reported in the media and your doctor would recommend it.
  • Pseudomedical jargon. Though terms such as "purify," "detoxify" and "energize" may sound impressive and may even have an element of truth, they're generally used to cover up a lack of scientific proof. Watch out for these words.
  • Cure-alls. The manufacturer claims that the product can treat a wide range of symptoms, or cure or prevent a number of diseases. No single product can do all this.
  • Anecdotal evidence. Testimonials are no substitute for solid scientific documentation. If the product is scientifically sound, it's actually to the manufacturer's advantage — and ultimately yours — to promote the scientific evidence. 
  • False accusations.  The manufacturer of the product accuses the government or a medical profession of suppressing important information about their product's benefits.  Neither the government nor any medical profession has any reason to withhold information that could help people.

Look for solid scientific studies:  If you read about studies in journal articles, assess the quality of the research. Look for words such as "double-blind," "controlled" and "randomized." Doctors consider these types of studies to contain the most valuable information. Here are some common terms you'll encounter in research articles.

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  Clinical Trials and Studies Explained

Clinical studies: These involve studies on human beings - not animals. They generally come after studies that demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of the treatment in animals and in the lab. Studies done solely in test tubes and petri dishes can't prove benefit to humans.

Randomized, controlled trials. Participants in these trials usually are divided into groups. One group receives the treatment under investigation. Another group may be a control group — participants receive standard treatment, no treatment or an inactive substance called a placebo. Participants are assigned to these groups on a random basis. This helps ensure that the groups will be similar.

Double-blind studies. In these studies, neither the researchers nor the human subjects know who will receive the active treatment and who will receive the placebo. 

Look for peer-reviewed journals.  Journals that only publish articles reviewed by an independent panel of medical experts.  Also look for replicated studies, ones that have been repeated by different investigations with generally the same results.

One or two small studies, whether the results are positive or negative, usually aren't enough to make a definite decision about whether to use or skip a specific treatment. Unfortunately, there are a limited number of quality studies on many alternative medicine treatments. Keep in mind that while solid research studies are the best way to evaluate whether a treatment is safe and effective, a lack of solid evidence doesn't always mean these treatments don't work — but it does mean they haven't been proved.

Research studies on alternative medicine are being conducted every year. As research continues, many of the answers about whether these treatments are safe or effective will become clearer. Much of the funding for these studies comes from the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which is also a good resource to examine when investigating alternative medicine treatments.

www.nih.gov - Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are medical research studies designed to answer specific questions about new therapies, procedures, or treatments, by testing them in people. This carefully conducted research helps to determine if the therapy is safe and effective.

What are the major types of clinical trials?

Treatment trials test treatments for a specific disease or condition. Supportive care trials, also called quality-of-life trials, study ways of making sick people more comfortable and giving them a better quality of life.

Prevention trials study ways to reduce the chance that people who are healthy, but may be at risk for a disease, will develop the disease. Early detection or screening trials study new ways of finding diseases or conditions in people who are at risk, before they have any signs or symptoms.

Diagnostic trials test new ways to identify, more accurately and earlier, whether people have diseases and conditions.

What are the different phases of a clinical trial?

Because the therapy will be tested in people, before a clinical trial can start, there needs to be some evidence that it is likely to work. This evidence can come either from previous research studies in animals or from reported information on its use by people.

Clinical trials take place in phases. In each phase, different research questions are answered. The following are types of questions that each phase helps to answer:

Phase I: What is the safe dose? How does the treatment affect the human body? How should the treatment be given?

Phase II: Does the therapy treat the disease or cure the condition?

Phase III: Is the treatment better than, the same as, or worse than the standard (or most widely accepted) treatment? If there is no standard treatment available, is it better than, the same as, or worse than a placebo?  

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    Understanding Clinical Trials

www.clinicaltrials.gov

Covers the following topics:

  • Why participate in a clinical trial?
  • Who can participate in a clinical trial?
  • What happens during a clinical trial?
  • What are the benefits and risks of participating in a clinical trial?
  • What should people consider before participating in a trial?..

How Do I Find Out More About Clinical Trials?

The NCCAM Web site contains a listing of NCCAM-funded clinical trials www.ClinicalTrials.gov is a database of thousands of clinical studies being sponsored by NIH, other Federal agencies, and the pharmaceutical industry. You can also find out more by contacting the NCCAM Clearinghouse:

Good sources of information on some of them can be found at the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database and a number of National Institutes of Health (NIH) Web sites.

The NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) annually publishes a bibliography of resources on significant advances in dietary supplement and herbal research.

The Clinical Trials.gov database lists all NIH-supported clinical studies of dietary supplements that are actively accruing patients.

www.cochrane.org
An international not-for-profit organization that provides timely reviews of evidence-based healthcare research.

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Alternative Treatments for Symptom Related Conditions

Link to Remedy Treatments for In-depth Information

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Integrative - Holistic Centers

Listings of Premier Holistic and Integrative Centers


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Professional Organizations

Listings of Alternative - Naturopathic  Professional Organizations

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