Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Alternative Vs. Traditional Medicine: Who Can We Trust?


There is no doubt that many individuals have concerns about health care, and with the rising cost of insurance, medication, and health care in general it’s no surprise that more and more people are seeking alternative and holistic options in the prevention and treatment of various health issues. 

According to the Mayo Clinic "40% of adults report using complimentary and alternative medicine," also known as CAM.  CAM covers a wide variety of therapies typically not prescribed by mainstream doctors including: acupuncture, aromatherapy, ayurveda, chiropractic, herbal medicine, homeopathy, hypnosis, massage, reiki, tuina, and more.

But do these therapies actually work?

It’s hard to say there are many conflicting opinions, and very little research as these studies can be very costly. 
Trials for conventional therapies are often funded by big companies that develop and sell drugs. Fewer resources are available to support trials of complementary and alternative medicine.

Kind of unsettling…Do we put our health in the hands of therapies not yet proven to benefit our health?  Or do we trust studies funded by the same individuals selling them?

Recently,  I had an sacroiliac injury that left me asking all these questions.  My first choice was to go holistic, I saw acupuncturists, massage therapists, chiropractors, and even tried home remedies…All of which didn’t help, and some even caused me more discomfort.

I through in the towel, and opted for a quick fix- holistic medicine had failed me.
   In June I received 3 corticol injections,  it didn’t help…I was still in pain, and gained electric spasms through the sides of my legs.   Frustrated and in pain I went to a highly recommended chinese doctor and decided to try the holistic route again. 

I was impressed with her knowledge, but I was skeptical of the treatments which included Natural Allergy Elimination Techniques (NAET), Cupping, Accupuncture, Craniosacral therapy,  and a really gross concoction of herbs.

Treatment 1-  I felt a bit better, assumed it was in my head,
Treatment 2- Felt better, began working again.
Treatments 3-5- Growing increasingly better.

I got back to my life teaching and practicing yoga, something a doctor told me “I may need to give up.”  But that’s not the end of this story.

Last week I waited to hear back from my doctor, fearful that I may have received an injection contaminated with fungal meningitis.  I am relieved to say I did not, but hundreds have and are suffering the consequences of someone else’s irresponsibility.

Does alternative medicine work?

I don’t know, but I’m not so sure modern medicine works either.

How do we make the best choices for our health, and who can we trust to help us?

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