Other therapies – acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, energy healing,homeopathy, naturopathy, prayer, visualisation.

There are many healing therapies which I have not included with each disease, firstly because I have little experience with their use or results, and also because of their holistic approach they may be applicable to many diseases.
Some of these, particularly the energy work are difficult for us to understand, but acupuncture for example has been practiced for many thousands of years in China. Watching a young girl having open heart surgery purely under acupuncture (click here) shows the real power that is there!  Similarly Ayurvedic medicine has been the mainstay of Indian medicine for over 3,000 years.
Just because we don't understand something does not mean it doesn't work.  This has been one of the major problems in medicine over the last 50 to 70 years. (Even though we really don't understand how most drugs work at a cellular level, doctors ignore other treatments which they don't understand either). The important thing is does it work?   Like almost every treatment in medicine, the belief of the patient is almost as important as the therapy itself. If the treatment is helping a patient and they believe that, we doctors and others should never sow the seeds of doubt.

There are a number of other therapies which are included in my booklet "Dr Gerald's review of complimentary therapies" which you will be entitled to read when you become a full member.

On this page I will list a few of these complementary and alternative treatments which because they can be used in nearly every disease, I will leave the reader to decide.

Acupuncture –

Acupuncture along with many other complimentary therapies, appears to work with the streams of energy within and around the body, which we in the medical profession neither understand, nor appear to have any interest in. I am no expert on acupuncture, but have have absolutely no doubt that it works especially in relieving symptoms. Watching this young girl have open heart surgery under acupuncture must convince even the most arrogant of sceptics (click here). I have seen too many people helped by acupuncture to ignore it.  For a further discussion of the theories behind acupuncture click here.
I believe that anybody with persisting or annoying symptoms should consider trying it especially if other therapies have failed.

Ayurvedic Medicine

Ayurvedic medicine is probably the oldest medical system in the world, originating in India more than 3000 years ago and is still one of India's traditional healthcare systems. Its main focus is on maintaining good health by creating a balance between mind, body and spirit.  Ayurvedic practitioners believe that the human body has 3 life forces or energies called doshas which control how the body works. Every individual has a different combination of these, and the practitioner creates a personal treatment plan to balance these correctly. Dipak Chopra gives a good review of this medical science (click here)
.
In addition to maintaining good health, Ayurvedic treatment endeavours to balance primary life forces, cleanse the body of toxins and undigested food, and to restore harmony and balance. This is usually achieved through massage, medical oils, blood purification, herbs, enemas or laxatives.
Does it work? One of the difficulties with assessing therapies such as this is the extremely powerful "placebo" effect and the power of the mind, reduction of stress etc. There certainly have been small papers showing it is beneficial in lowering stress and anxiety, lowering blood pressure, helping with weight loss, lowering inflammation and improving hormonal balance.
Assessment of this is further complicated by the use of a number of herbs such as tumeric, Boswellia (frankincense) both of which are known to have significant anti-inflammatory actions.
The major concern with Ayurvedic medicine is that some of the preparations contain unacceptably high levels of mercury, lead and arsenic.As with many mind-body and similar therapies, some patients do receive major benefits from Ayurvedic medicine, and the fact that it continues to be used in India after 3000 years speaks of its efficacy in those who come to the treatment with an open mind. For this reason some people might wish to try this therapy, my only comment is that if herbs and unusual supplements are being suggested, you to check the contents with your health practitioner.
.

Energy work –

There are many of these, including healing touch, Reiki, Qigong, laying on of hands.... All use the energy fields similar to acupuncture. These energy fields are real even though we doctors ignore them. (If you want to experience energy fields yourself, sit still in the chair with your eyes closed and you can often feel the presence of somebody who has quietly entered the room; also if somebody enters your own personal space, you feel it – this is energy. (Click here) for a video discussing how some of these energy therapies work.

Homeopathy –

This works on the principle that "like cures like", and if a substance causes side-effects similar to the symptoms of a disease, then diluting that substance down to an almost infinitesimal size, so that no molecules of the original substance remains, there is "something" in the solution which can affect the disease. The originator of homeopathy Samuel Hahnemann believed in the 1700s that diseases were caused by miasms – and the homeopathic solution cures these.
There has been more recent work on homeopathy but there is not a lot of information showing how effective it is. Nevertheless some people strongly believe that helps them.
"Click here" to see a recent video from a homeopath describing the process and modern theories on how it works. Another homeopath also discusses trials and results – click here.

Naturopathy –

Naturopathic practitioners, many of whom are doctors, believe correctly that rather than treating the illness, they should be treating the patient as a whole. Surely this is what all doctors should be doing but most don't. Unfortunately time and money are the main impediments to this being routine therapy in most doctors' surgeries. (Click here) for a doctor discussing naturopathy.

Prayer –

This applies to any spiritual group and certainly not simply just Christianity. Many people appreciate (feel) the power of others thinking positively towards themselves, not only closer, but also at a distance. A person who is loved and supported always fares better than someone in isolation. There has been some research suggesting that positive energy (vibrations) from a group of people can sometimes be detected on the other side of the world. Prayer fits very well with the energy philosophy of many of the other complimentary therapies, and I'm quite certain that it is effective and beneficial. For further information on this – click here.

Visualisation –

I remember many years ago a brave cardiologist (Dr Dean Ornish) suggesting that is patient should visualise the coronary arteries, and imagine them opening up. Only his standing in medicine stopped him being ridiculed, and subsequent studies have proved him to be correct. People have also suggested that we should do the same with cancer, imagining our immune system attacking the cancer cells like a squadron of tanks. (Click here) for a tape and video on visualisation.