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Category Archives: Alternative Medicine

PSA: Alternative Medicine in Place of Cancer Treatment Can Be Deadly – Lifehacker Australia

Posted: August 25, 2017 at 4:04 am

Cancer is scary. Chemo and radiation are scary. Herbal medicines and special diets seem friendly and comforting by comparison, but we now have clear evidence that people who use alternative treatments for cancer are more likely to die.

Its one of those duh, but we had to check it out studies: researchers from the Yale School of Medicine followed 281 people who used alternative medicine, without any conventional treatments like surgery or chemo, and compared their survival rates to controls who had the same health status, type of cancer, and other factors. Those controls were far more likely to still be alive after five years than the people who chose to only use alternative medicine. As youd expect, the difference was starkest among people with fast-acting cancers.

The study was observational, so technically it cant 100 percent prove that alternative medicine was responsible for the deaths, but the researchers controlled for just about every plausible factor that might have affected survival. Even NHS Choices, which does very thorough and skeptical breakdowns of research in the news, concludes that this one is pretty clear-cut.

You and I might think skipping real cancer treatment is a terrible idea (we are agreed on that, right?) but theres definitely a market for alternative treatments. Most people use them as complementary medicine, for example getting acupuncture in hopes that it will tone down the nausea they get from chemo.

But theres a small industry around selling bogus cancer cures to people who cant afford real treatment, or who just believe claims that supplements and the like do a better job. Earlier this year, the FDA sent warning letters to makers of 65 products illegally sold as cancer cures.

The products the FDA identified are the tip of an iceberg: you cant legally sell a supplement by saying it will cure cancer, but theres nothing stopping you from writing an article to argue that a supplement cures cancer. The FDA watches out for anything that crosses the line into fraud, but theyre playing a frustrating game of whack-a-mole. So the stuff is still out there. Take, for example, the people who believe against all odds in the healing power of apricot kernels.

Nor can you cure cancer with homeopathy or naturopathy, although some practitioners will say or strongly imply that they can (as above). Dont buy into these obvious lies. In the awful event that you or somebody you love gets cancer, youre free to consider a second opinionbut make sure its from an actual doctor.

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Keep open mind about value of alternative medicine – The Straits Times

Posted: at 4:04 am

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), as a form of complementary alternative medicine (CAM), is a unique system of medicine based on more than 2,000 years of clinical application.

While modern science cannot explain the mechanism of TCM treatment modalities, clinical studies have supported its efficacy in many diseases. And so we disagree with the report (Traditional health practices: More harm than good; Aug 15).

As stated in the report, the fact that “not many people know that rheumatoid arthritis can be treated” and that it is often equated with rheumatism shows the lack of public awareness of the illness. In both studies mentioned in the report, the use of CAM included self-administration of vitamins, supplements and over-the-counter (OTC) TCM drugs. This reflects the prevalence of cases where patients self-medicate in the absence of professional advice, which could result in adverse reactions to the drugs. Rather than discrediting CAM, we see opportunities for CAM and conventional medicine to work together through effective healthcare communication and education. Likewise, seemingly harmless CAM like vitamins, supplements and herbal medicines, should also be taken under the advice of certified professionals.

Mr Chee Hong Tat, in his Aug 2 speech at the Convocation of the Nanyang Technological University-Beijing University of Chinese Medicine Double Degree Programme, encouraged doctors and scientists to keep an open mind to the potential value of TCM. We urge the media and general public to keep an open mind to the potential value of CAM.

Ho Chin Ee (Ms)


NTU Chinese Medicine Alumni Association Executive Committee

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Alternative Medicine Alone Leads to Lower Cancer Survival –

Posted: at 4:04 am

Cancer patients who opt for alternative therapy instead of conventional medicine significantly decrease their chances of survival, according to researchers at Yale School of Medicine.

Although the popularity of alternative medicine continues to grow, a recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found survival rates significantly reduced for those who use it as first-line therapy.

Conventional cancer treatments chemotherapy, surgery and radiation still produce a much better chance of survival.

Mesothelioma was not included in the study, but the findings are relevant to this rare and aggressive cancer as alternative treatment becomes more commonly used.

A person with cancer who choses alternative medicine is 2.5 times more likely to die than somebody who uses proven methods of treatment, Dr. Skyler Johnson, Yale School of Medicine radiation oncologist and lead author of the study, told When you choose alternative medicine instead of conventional, it likely will impact survival [in a negative way].

The study looked at survival rates for breast, lung, prostate and colorectal cancers, including 840 patients diagnosed from 2004-2013 who were listed in the National Cancer Database.

It did not include patients who received alternative therapies alongside conventional medicine as many mesothelioma patients do. This is known as complementary therapy.

Alternative medicine refers to any treatment approach outside of mainstream or conventional medicine and is not approved for cancer by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

They can range from body-based therapies such as acupuncture or nerve stimulation to special diets filled with herbs and botanicals. They could be homeopathic, which are derived from natural substances, or mind-body therapies such as yoga or tai chi.

They have become a popular way to avoid the side effects that often come with chemotherapy, radiation or aggressive surgery.

Unfortunately, they dont work very well, according to the team of researchers from Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

Alternative medicine kills cancer patients, surgical oncologist Dr. David Gorski at the Karmanos Cancer Institute wrote for the website Science-Based Medicine, in response to the latest study from Yale. It is basically no different than refusing treatment altogether.

The Yale study examined the records of 280 cancer patients who had chosen alternative medicine and 560 patients who opted for conventional medicine.

Researchers found the five-year mortality rate was 2.5 times greater for the alternative treatment option. When separated by cancer type, breast cancer patients had a five-times greater risk, followed by colon cancer patients (four-times greater) and lung cancer (two-times greater).

There was no greater risk for prostate cancer, which typically grows much slower.

Researchers believe that a cancer patient often will start with alternative medicine, then switch to conventional after the cancer has progressed, a dangerous option that shortens survival time in most cases.

Patients are presenting to us in clinic with more advanced cancers than they would have otherwise, if they had done proven therapy initially instead of alternative therapy, Johnson said. And mesothelioma is one of those where you dont have the luxury with taking time to delay treatment. Survival chances decrease with each day.

Mesothelioma specialists typically rely on surgery, chemotherapy and radiation as conventional medicine.

Researchers at Yale also observed that those who opted for alternative therapy generally were younger, more educated and with higher incomes, a demographic that would suggest a better chance for survival.

They found the opposite was true.

Youd assume that someone who is more educated and has a better understanding of science and medicine, theyd be less likely to make a choice like this, Johnson said. But thats clearly not true, based on this data.

He believes the bad choices often come after a patient hears second-hand success stories with alternative treatments, but without realizing conventional medicine was used in conjunction.

Its important to note that when it comes to alternative cancer therapies, there is just so little known patients are making decisions in the dark, said co-author Dr. Cary Gross. We need to understand more about which treatments are effective and which ones arent.

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Turkey embraces alternative and complementary medicine – Daily Sabah

Posted: at 4:04 am

As medical practices become more and more advanced, many people are turning to traditional medicine and alternative therapies which are considered to have healing effects on the human body, despite not being scientifically proven. Recently, alternative medicine and complementary medicine is widely used around the world, and even accepted by the traditional medical practitioners.

Complementary medicine is a group of diagnostic and therapeutic disciplines that are used together with conventional medicine. Complementary medicine includes a large number of practices and systems of health care which have begun to be adopted by mainstream Western medicine as well. Complementary medicine includes a variety of products such as herbs, vitamins and minerals and probiotics. These items are widely marketed, readily available to consumers in local pharmacies without a prescription and are often sold as dietary supplements. Moreover, alternative medical practitioners tend to advise their patients to engage in therapeutic practices to renew the mind and body for good health.

In 2014, Turkish health care institutions and state medical schools made alternative medicine a part of their health care routine.

The head of Turkey’s Complementary and Alternative Medicine Practices Department of the Ministry of Health’s Directorate General for Health Services Zafer Kalayc stated that they are conducting studies to promote Turkey as full of “world cuisine” for alternative medicine.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Kalayc provided information about traditional and complementary medicine. He said that, in addition to protecting people from and preventing physical and psychological diseases through alternative therapies, traditional and alternative medicine include experimental and proven practices, research and holistic approaches that are unique to various cultures and are being applied for sustaining good health.

Stating that traditional and complementary medicine is a new area of application both in Turkey and world, Kalayc said that Turkey is making strides in the world in this area. It is evident that Turkey now has well-coordinated, comprehensive regulations in alternative medicine that are the first of their kind in the world. In the context of this regulation, which is already in use in Turkey, educational standards are being enacted in the fields of reflexology, music therapy, osteopathy, prolotherapy, apitherapy, mesotherapy, homeopathy, phytotherapy, and acupuncture, along with larva, hypnosis, leeching, cupping and ozone applications.

For the application of these standards, traditional and complementary medicine centers were opened at 32 universities and training research hospitals across the country.

Noting that active education is ongoing at 14 of these centers, Kalayc added: “The regulation was issued in 2014; however, we were able to create the educational standards for the applications, as part of the series, in 2016. Up until now, 2,500 people have become certified at these branches. The demand for instruction from our physicians has been high and there is a waiting list for applicants. Currently, we have education centers in Ankara, Istanbul, zmir, Erzurum and Kayseri. Also, the University of Health Sciences of the Ministry of Health and training research hospitals working under its auspices have begun to offer education on these branches of treatment. The University of Health Sciences is planning to launch a master’s degree program in the area.”

Saying that they have made international connections as they continue to advance in this area, Kalayc said: “We are conducting one-to-one research with the World Health Organization (WHO). We also conduct joint studies with universities in the U.S., South Korea and China. Turkey is setting a new global standard in this area. We have begun to create new regulations which will make Turkey the gold standard in education in these fields. We are a shining star in the world arena now.”

Kalayc also stressed Turkey’s diversity in endemic plants, asserting that the country has 4,750 endemic plants. “When you calculate the number of endemic plants all around Europe, you see that their total number does not exceed that of Turkey. Here, we conduct research in cooperation with the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock and the Ministry of Forestry. In addition to the fact that there are studies conducted by prominent academics and smart agriculture applications, the number of plants in Turkey has reached 12,000. We raised awareness by a lot, sharing this information with the world.”

Stating that Turkey has seriously important endemic plants, Kalaycsaid: “Every single one of the 81 provinces in Turkey has their own unique, endemic plants. We have to evaluate them. This situation is also gaining world-wide attention. Some products are imported to Turkey for between $45 and $50, while they are exported for $1.”

“At the Ministry of Health, our aim is to turn Turkey into a fountain of cuisine for the education and application process of traditional and complementary medicine. We are conducting sophisticated academic, clinical and laboratory studies in education in this area. We have a department known as the Directorate of Health Institutions, as well as six institutions bound to it. One of these is the Traditional and Complementary Medicine Application Institution. We are making progress in a well-organized way in all aspects,” he said.

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Alternative Treatments More Than Double Risk of Death for Cancer Patients – Healthline

Posted: August 22, 2017 at 11:56 pm

Unproven treatments for breast and lung cancers are especially dangerous, researchers say. So, why do people opt for these alternatives?

Alternative cancer treatments that seem too good to be true may actually be dangerous.

In fact, these treatments can more than double the risk of death for some people with cancer, according to a recently published study.

Some alternative treatments promise a cure or a way to fight cancer without the harsh side effects of chemotherapy or radiation.

In order to find out how people with cancer fare on these treatments vs. traditional medications, researchers from Yale University turned to the National Cancer Database.

Dr. Skyler Johnson, a physician at the Radiation Oncology at Yale-New Haven Hospital and lead author of the study published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute, said he wanted to look into survival rates for alternative medicine after he saw an increase in people wanting to pursue these methods.

We had started to see lots of patients who were coming in with advanced cancers who had been diagnosed earlier but who had tried an alternative therapy, Johnson told Healthline. It clearly impacted their survival.

This issue was debated after Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died of cancer in 2011 after trying alternative treatments.

In their study, Johnson and his co-authors used the data from the National Cancer Database to see how people with cancer fared on alternative treatments compared with traditional therapies.

They found data on 281 people with breast, prostate, lung, or colorectal cancer that had not metastasized. These people had chosen alternative therapies not proven by science to be helpful in treating cancer.

Researchers then compared how these people fared compared with 560 people who had undergone conventional cancer treatment such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or surgery.

It was needed for us to be able to have informed discussions with patients, said Johnson. To tell them this is the risk and benefit from this decision.

Overall, they looked at how people fared from 2004 to 2013, with the median follow-up of slightly more than five years.

They found that people who chose alternative medicine were two and half times more at risk of dying.

For breast and colorectal cancers, the risk was even higher.

People with breast cancer were more than five times as likely to die if they pursued solely alternative treatment.

People with colorectal cancer were more than four times as likely to die as their counterparts who underwent conventional treatments.

Johnson said the study will help doctors relay concrete information to people considering alternative medicine.

This is especially true for people who have cancer that has not yet metastasized and has a high survivability rate.

Cancer cures is one of those things that need to be done in a timely fashion, he said.

There was one cancer outlier in the study.

Prostate cancer didnt have as much of a difference in life expectancy between people treated conventionally and those treated with alternative medicine, but Johnson pointed out prostate cancer is extremely slow growing and many people can live more than a decade without significant health impacts.

Johnson said anecdotally hes heard from people that they believe the alternative therapy they are pursuing has no downside.

In conversations, it seems that theres a belief that the alternative therapies are as effective, and that they’re also nontoxic, said Johnson.

Dr. Jordan Berlin, a medical oncologist at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said the study is not surprising but could still help people with cancer.

Data like this is helpful, he told Healthline. Knowing we can say to our patients the track record for these things in general has not been better.

Berlin said these alternative treatments tend to come in and out of fashion. Right now, hes seen people pursue using medical marijuana, salves, and unproven supplements for cancer treatment.

Berlin said he understands why some would be more willing to look into alternative medicine after a cancer diagnosis.

I tell people that cancer is the scariest word in the English language, Berlin said. They’re looking for anything that might help.

Berlin said that for many people the promise of these treatments can become especially appealing when facing an initial diagnosis.

When you hear 100 percent of people [cured] with no side effects, and we tell people every side effect we could possibly cause, its very appealing, Berlin said.

Berlin said when people pursue alternative medicine, he does his best to insist they come back for scans so he can monitor their progress.

If they get worse and want to pursue traditional treatment he can start them on conventional therapies, hopefully before the cancer metastasizes.

However, some people may still put their faith in their original, unproven treatment when they make a recovery.

Ive had this where one of my patients says how well they did on alternative therapy, Berlin said. In truth, they got chemo too, or radiation. No one gave any credit to those therapies.

Berlin said hes willing to talk to people who want to pursue supplemental treatment in addition to conventional treatments.

He does warn them there are risks that supplements or other ingested items could negatively affect cancer medication.

He also said more should be done to understand which, if any, alternative treatments could be a help either by alleviating symptoms or actually combatting tumor cells.

It is worthwhile to study something of these things we want to know as much as anybody he said.

Both Berlin and Johnson said the study will only do so much to convince some people who are skeptical of conventional medical treatment.

Johnson said he keeps a list of people who ignored medical advice in favor of alternative treatments, and reaches out to them periodically.

While Johnson hopes the study will help people get better care, he acknowledged a lot of work remains for doctors trying to gain the trust of their patients and attempting to understand why those patients want to pursue alternative treatments.

Facts dont often change people’s beliefs, Johnson said. Developing trust with people is really the bottom line.

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Using unproven methods to tackle cancer could be deadly – Reuters

Posted: at 11:56 pm

(Reuters Health) – People who decide to tackle their cancer using only unconventional methods are likely to die sooner than patients who opt for conventional treatments, according to a new study.

People with various kinds of cancer who turned down treatments like chemotherapy or radiation in favor of alternative medicine were two to six times more likely to die within six years, compared to people who accepted medically proven therapies, researchers found.

“In our clinical practice, we started seeing patients coming in with more advanced cancer . . . because they first tried alternative therapies that failed,” said lead author Dr. Skyler Johnson, of the Yale School of Medicine and the Yale Cancer Center in New Haven, Connecticut.

Many cancer patients add nonmedical therapies to the treatments prescribed by their oncologists. But little is known about patients who choose only unconventional methods to address their cancer, Johnson and colleagues write in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, online August 10.

To find out more about this group of patients, they used information collected on prostate, breast, lung and colon cancers for the U.S. National Cancer Database between 2004 and 2013.

The researchers had data on 280 people who tried only unproven methods administered by nonmedical personnel. They compared each of these patients to two people with similar cancer type, disease stage, age, race and other attributes, but who received conventional treatments.

Half of the patients were followed for at least five and a half years.

Compared to patients who chose evidence-based cancer treatments, those who used unconventional methods tended to have high social and economic status, be from northwestern U.S. states, have advanced cancers and be in otherwise good health.

Overall, patients who chose unproven methods were more than twice as likely to die during the follow-up period than those who received treatments like chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

Compared to those receiving evidence-backed treatments, patients with breast cancer who opted for unproven methods were more than five times as likely to die, those with lung cancer were more than twice as likely to die and those with colon cancer were about five times as likely to die.

“Our findings highlight the importance of timely proven care for cancer,” Johnson told Reuters Health.

If the patients were followed for a longer period of time, it’s possible the differences could be greater, he said. Some prostate and breast cancers develop slowly even if untreated and may not be deadly within five to six years.

In addition, Johnson said, the researchers couldn’t account for people who received science-based treatments when their unconventional methods failed.

He said people should be cautious about what treatment advice they receive from the internet or through word of mouth.

“This is something they need to think a lot about, because choosing alternative medicine for their cancer treatment could risk their lives,” Johnson said.


J Natl Cancer Inst 2017.

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Choosing alternative cancer therapy doubles risk of death, study says –

Posted: August 20, 2017 at 6:14 pm

Patients who chose alternative therapies to treat a common, curable cancer instead of opting for the recommended medical treatment double their risk of death, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Conventional medical treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, while any other unproven cancer treatment administered by non-medical personnel would be considered an alternative therapy.

Yale School of Medicines Dr. Skyler Johnson, lead author of the study, said that based on what hes seen as a practicing doctor, patients are increasingly refusing or delaying conventional cancer treatment in favor of alternative therapies.

As a result of that, their cancer is advancing: either getting larger or spreading to lymph nodes or spreading to distant sites, Johnson said. This is concerning, because your chance of cure decreases as the cancer grows and spreads.

A breast cancer patient with stage I cancer, for example, has almost 100% chance of surviving five years, he explained. However, stage IV breast cancer in which it has spread to lymph nodes or a distant part of the body reduces a patients chances of surviving five years to 25% or even 20%.

Delaying recommended medical treatment may allow cancer to spread and reach an advanced stage, which decreases a patients ability to survive, said Johnson, who reported no conflicts of interest, though two of his three co-authors have received research funding from the pharmaceutical companies 21st Century Oncology, Johnson and Johnson, Medtronic and Pfizer.

With no scientific evidence to support a choice in favor of alternative therapy, Johnson and his co-authors at Yale Cancer Center believed it would be worthwhile to examine the issue so we could have an informed discussion based on the evidence of what the risk might be if patients chose to move forward with alternative therapies, he said.

The researchers began their investigation by gathering information from 840 patients diagnosed between 2004 and 2013 and listed in the National Cancer Database in the US, a joint project of the American Cancer Society and the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons.

They looked at the most common cancers in the US: breast, prostate, lung and colorectal cancer, Johnson said.

He and his co-researchers compared and analyzed survival data on 280 patients who had chosen alternative medicine, as well as data on 560 patients who had received conventional cancer treatment.

Of all the patients choosing alternative therapies, about 44% had breast cancer, nearly one-quarter had prostate cancer, just over 18% had lung cancer, and nearly 12% had colorectal cancer.

Patients who received alternative medicine instead of chemotherapy, surgery and/or radiation had a 2-times greater risk of dying during the 5-year followup period than those who opted for conventional treatment, the team discovered.

Broken down by type, breast cancer patients who chose alternative instead of conventional treatment had a fivefold greater death risk, while colon cancer patients increased their risk fourfold and lung cancer patients twofold. Prostate cancer patients showed no increased risk by choosing alternative medication.

Commenting on the new study, Dr. David Gorski, a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, wrote that There are other studies showing similar results, but unfortunately they are relatively few.

Alternative medicine kills cancer patients, Gorski, who was not involved in the research, wrote on the website Science-Based Medicine. It is basically no different than refusing treatment altogether and much more expensive and troublesome.

The new study has limitations, he wrote, including the possibility that the use of conventional medicine is likely to have been undercounted since some patients who choose alternative medicine ultimately come back to conventional medicine.

However, if such a bias occurred, it would have tended to make the differences in survival between the alternative medicine group and the conventional treatment group smaller, not larger, Gorski wrote. If such a bias occurred in this study the harm caused by choosing alternative medicine is likely to be significantly worse than reported.

There is no good evidence of specific anticancer effects from close to all (if not all) alternative medicines, Gorski noted, adding that many alternative medicine patients arent receiving effective supportive care, resulting in inadequate (or nonexistent) relief of cancer-related symptoms and unnecessary suffering.

The reasons for choosing alternative instead of conventional medicine are pretty broad, Johnson said, adding that patients are hesitant sometimes to discuss their thoughts with their physicians.

Anecdotally, theres this belief that alternative therapies are as effective and nontoxic, so in their minds, why not do something just as good but have no side effects associated with that?

The caveat is that patients will hear success stories about someone who has chosen alternative therapy but wont realize that those people often received some or all of the recommended conventional treatment as well, Johnson said.

Other people may have a distrust of medical institutions as a whole or maybe physicians, he said. Theres a concern that maybe theres a cure thats being hidden. Theres a small conspiracy theory to it, as well.

We identified people who were more likely to choose alternative medicines, Johnson said. And its usually people who have a higher income, who are more well-educated, who are healthier and who live in the West and Pacific regions of the US. We have this group of people we know who are doing this; we dont know why.

Youd assume that someone who is more well-educated, they have an understanding of science and medicine, theyd be less likely to make a choice like this, but thats clearly not true, based on this data, he said.

Theres a path now, when weve achieved the goal which is to cure cancer where we kind of ramp down the aggressiveness of the treatment, Johnson said. Doctors ask themselves, Can we still obtain this cure rate and reduce the doses of the medication or reduce the doses of radiation or maybe not do such a huge surgery?

Thats something thats new, he said, and new therapies are frequently found, such as immunotherapy, that can be less toxic for patients.

Every therapy offers a certain advantage and benefit, and some people kind of pick things a la carte, Johnson said. The assumption is thats not the best for survival. Thats something were looking at.

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Alternative medicine: An opportunity for patients to be seen and heard – Rappahannock News

Posted: at 6:14 pm

I had to fight for my own health and fired many doctors

Conventional medicine refers to the health care system in which medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists, or therapists treat symptoms using drugs, radiation, or surgery. Alternative or complementary medicine, on the other hand, references medical treatments that are not considered orthodox by general medicine, such as herbalism, homeopathy, or acupuncture.

Complementary medicine techniques are the future of medicine at this point as more insurance companies are recognizing the values of preventative medicine, said Anne Williams, physical therapy specialist at Mountainside Physical Therapy and one of many local practitioners in a brisk, thriving alternative medicine community.

Williams believes the biggest problem with traditional medicine is that doctors are under so much stress to see so many patients that some they care for fail to receive the attention they need. This phenomenon may eventually cause a turn toward alternative medicine. Indeed, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health estimates that around 38 percent of adults (4 in 10) use some form of alternative medicine.

You have to evaluate the whole person, and that doesnt get done in a regular medicine system, she continued. I always see my patients as an individual puzzle. I try to fix that puzzle.

At Mountainside, Williams makes it her mission to focus on total health and healing, focusing on only one patient per hour, and she espouses a variety of therapy techniques.

Williams practices manual physical therapy, a special type of physical therapy delivered with the hands not a device or machine, as is done in many physical therapy practices. Williams says this technique physically alters patients abilities to perform an exercise or stretch a specific body part. In addition, she often welcomes into her practice those who offer Pilates, dance, aquatics, animal-assisted healing, art healing or nutrition classes to her clients.

Molly Peterson of Heritage Hollow Farms turned to alternative practitioners and doctors outside of her insurance network in her own struggle for wellness.

I had to fight for my own health and fired many doctors, she said. I had to self-research and be fiercely determined to be heard. Most of my health need answers came from beyond traditional medicine and was all out of pocket.

Peterson, who has turned to doctors in Illinois and Arizona as well as local herbalists like Teresa Boardwine of Green Comfort School of Herbal Medicine, says that alternative medicine provides an opportunity for patients to be seen and heard, as well as giving them another route for healing when general medicine fails to provide the answers. At her first consultation with Boardwine, she spent nearly two and a half hours talking about her health history. Teresa knew that all of that matters, Peterson says. Im not saying that general practitioners dont care, because they do. But thinking beyond the norm when you only have seven and a half minutes [with a patient] is hard.

Boardwine, who has owned her business for around 23 years, says herbalism, the study or practice of the medicinal and therapeutic use of plants, is accessible, grounded in the wisdom of the ages, and that traditional medicine can leave one lacking in wellness. Most people in the world turn to whats outside their door first not pharmaceuticals.

Boardwine says clients seek her out for assistance with a variety of self-diagnosed issues, including menopausal balancing, nervous system issues, depression, anxiety, exhaustion, and autoimmune conditions.

Boardwine believes that the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the rural, agricultural lifestyle of Rappahannock County causes people to seek green ways of living and a holistic approach to healing. It has to be the willingness of an individual to go down that road [of herbalism], Boardwine explains. Clients seek me out because they want to not be overpowered by medication, and they want balance and nourishment.

Boardwine conducts both consultations with patients and hosts many different classes and programs to educate the community about the health benefits of herbs. Her students have included the likes of Colleen OBryant, who now sells her own herb-based products in Sperryvilles Wild Roots Apothecary, and Kathy Edwards, who focuses on naturopathic, or nutrition-based medicine, at her business located in Hearthstone School, Healing With Love and Nature.

Edwards first became interested in nutritional medicine after working at a health foods store and becoming certified by the American Naturopathic Medical Association. She, too, loves to help educate and empower people to take responsibility for their own health.

Holistic healing is not just about the physical. Its about body, mind, and spirit, Edwards explains.

In addition to helping her clients tailor their diets to their own particular medical needs, Edwards has also taught programs on raw food and practiced applied kinesiology, muscle response testing, and Reiki, an energy-based technique for stress reduction performed by laying the hands on or above the patient.

Edwards counsels her clients to eat organic: I always tell my clients to eat as close to nature as they can, she says.

Edwards also believes that people in Rappahannock may be more open to alternatives due to the environment surrounding the region. Its a very progressive area that is into gardening and health and is connected to nature. Its a wonderful community thats open to alternatives.

Cara Cutro, who owns Abracadabra Massage & Wellness in Sperryville, corroborated Edwards thoughts and lamented modern medicines disconnect with the spiritual part of each and every person. Clients come back to me because they get relaxed and connected to themselves [during their massage]. I would call that feeling of connection to life spirituality, and I bring that spirituality to clients through touch.

Teaching tarot card reading classes, specializing in energy healing, and administering massages that incorporate herbalism, Cutro says the concept of spirituality in medicine often gets a bad rap. However, she encourages her clients not to have contempt prior to investigation and to be open to alternative therapies that could bring them healing.

Cutro and many others are witness to the successes of alternative medicine: increased relaxation and self-knowledge of ones own health conditions. Moving forward, it may be a combination of both alternative and general medicine techniques that address the health needs of our community.

Do fight for your health. Do listen to your gut feelings. Do be OK with walking [away] from a doctor who doesnt hear you, see you, Peterson urges.

Williams hopes that all of us doctors, patients, and alternative practitioners and the like can capitalize upon Rappahannocks strong foundations in alternative medicine to fulfill her ultimate vision for the patient recovery process, prescribing: I dream of a community involved place where people could volunteer their time and efforts. Community involvement is important in the rehabilitative process, and people could benefit from rehabilitating others. There needs to be one central place where you can get your body cared for.

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Alternative Cancer Therapy Linked to Earlier Death – WebMD

Posted: at 6:14 pm

By Randy Dotinga

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 17, 2017 (HealthDay News) — People who choose alternative medicine over traditional cancer treatments for curable cancers have a higher risk of dying early, researchers report.

“We now have evidence to suggest that using alternative medicine in place of proven cancer therapies results in worse survival,” said study lead author Dr. Skyler Johnson from Yale School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center.

“It is our hope that this information can be used by patients and physicians when discussing the impact of cancer treatment decisions on survival,” Johnson said in a school news release.

Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO of Apple, is likely the most famous person who initially chose alternative medicine as a sole treatment. He eventually turned back to conventional medicine when the alternative medicine treatment didn’t keep his pancreatic cancer at bay. But at that point, the cancer had advanced beyond the point when it was curable, according to published reports.

The authors behind the new study said there has been little research into how effective alternative medicine may be as a cancer treatment.

“We became interested in this topic after seeing too many patients present in our clinics with advanced cancers that were treated with ineffective and unproven alternative therapies alone,” said senior author Dr. James Yu. He’s an associate professor of therapeutic radiology at Yale Cancer Center.

The study included 840 patients with breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers. They were part of a national database that has information on people newly diagnosed with cancer in the United States.

The researchers compared 280 patients who chose alternative medicine alone to 560 patients who underwent conventional cancer treatment. The researchers followed the patients from 2004 to 2013.

Those patients who received alternative therapy instead of the usual treatments — chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, or some combination of these — were more likely to die during the study, the researchers found.

Study co-author Dr. Cary Gross is a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Yale School of Medicine. “It’s important to note that when it comes to alternative cancer therapies, there is just so little known — patients are making decisions in the dark,” he said.

“We need to understand more about which treatments are effective, whether we’re talking about a new type of immunotherapy or a high-dose vitamin, and which ones aren’t, so that patients can make informed decisions,” Gross said.

The study was published online recently in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

WebMD News from HealthDay

SOURCE: Yale University, press release, Aug. 10, 2017


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Alternative medicine can kill you | Genetic Literacy Project – Genetic Literacy Project

Posted: at 6:14 pm

Chiropractic, homeopathy, acupuncture, juice diets, and other forms of unproven alternative medicine cannot cure cancer, no matter what some quacks might claim.

[A]s a newstudypublished in theJournal of the National Cancer Institutemakes painfully clear, as a treatment for cancer, alternative medicine does not cure; it kills.

A team of scientists from Yale University perused theNational Cancer Database, a collection of 34 million records of cancer patients along with their treatments and outcomes, to identify patients who elected to forgo conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery in favor of alternative medicine.

After five years, 78.3% of subjects who received conventional treatments were still alive, compared to only 54.7% of subjects who used alternative medicine. Even more startling, breast cancer patients who used alternative medicine were five times more likely to die. Colorectal cancer patients were four times more likely to die. Lung cancer patients were twice as likely to die.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post:Alternative Medicine Kills Cancer Patients, Study Finds


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