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Category Archives: Alternative Medicine

Sudbury woman chooses alternative treatments for stage 4 cancer – CBC.ca

Posted: July 7, 2017 at 2:11 am

A Sudbury woman is choosing to go the all-natural routein hopes ofhealing her stage 4 cancer.

Thousands of dollars in donations have already poured in to help her achievethat.

Jazmin Ayotte,20, is aLaurentian University student, who was diagnosed with stage 4 adrenocortical carcinoma when she was 16. Thisisa rare type of cancer which ended up spreading to Ayotte's lungs and one of her kidneys.

Ayotte says she was adamant from the beginning that she wanted to take a natural approach to deal with her cancer.

"Up until this day, I've never tried chemotherapy," she says.

Ayotte says she's tried "western medicine,"but all of those made her feel worse. Instead, she tried changing her diet andintravenous vitamins. Sheeven travelledto Mexico and the Bahamas for naturopathic treatments.

"I go to school, but it's on and off, or I'll take a semester off depending on how I'm feeling. Day to day, I deal with pain quite a bit."

The natural treatments seemed to help manage thepainuntil recently.

"I was in the hospital for a week. I was rushed in with extreme pain, and nothing could manage it," Ayottesays.

"That sparked us to research new treatments and get in touch with new doctors."

Jazmin Ayotte was diagnosed with stage 4 adrenocortical carcinoma when she was 16. (Jazmin Ayotte)

Ayotte says her family found a naturopathic treatment centre in Scottsdale, Arizona that seemspromising.

Initial genetic testingwill cost more than $30,000. After that,continued treatment and supplements will costapproximately $1,000 per month.

Treatment prices weren't immediately available on the facility'swebsite, but an initial office visit costs between $350 and$700.

Although she says she isn't exactly sure what the therapies entail, Ayotteis under the impression they include heat, laser and magnetic therapies whichfocus on improving the patient's immune system.

Ayotte says she doesn't advocate against chemotherapy. She just doesn't believe it would work for her.

"[My doctors] have given me options for palliative radiation, but that's not killing the cancer, that's dealing with the pain and other things," Ayotte says.

"I don't feel comfortable going through with that when I already have in mind that it would kill my immune system, make me feel horrible, not let me have a life at all, andnot really treat it the way I hope to be treated."

Because alternativetreatments in the United States aren't covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan,Ayotteand her family have started reaching out to others with fundraising initiatives.

Ayotte's fianc Eythan Henson started a social media trend called 'Burpees for Jaz.'The idea is to post a video of yourself doing theexercise,then tag the family's GoFundMe page.Thepage has already raised $15,000.

Superior Maple Syrup, owned by Henson'sfamily, is raising money from the sale of some of theproducts.

A stag and doe is being held in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.,later this month, with all proceeds going toward Ayotte's treatment.

Lauren Nykilchuk is selling these T-shirts in support of Jazmin Ayotte's trip to the United States for alternative treatments. (Supplied/Facebook)

A friend from high school wanted to help outtoo. LaurenNykilchuk had T-shirts left over from a school project, and isselling themwith some of the profits going to Ayotte'strip.

There's already been a widespread response to the shirts.

"It's definitely not just sticking to Sudbury,"Nykilchuksays.

"I can't put down my phone for fiveminutes without getting multiple messages about people wanting to buy shirts, asking questions about the shirts and about Jazmin. It's probably the greatest problem inthe world to have, seeing howmany people have come together and want to support this cause."

Ayotte and her mother leave for Arizona next week. She says her doctors in Canada have been skeptical of her choices, but she feels they support her in this next trip.

"Ideally, I want to be cancer free," she says.

"But I hope it gets me tobe at a point where I don't have to be on painkillers all the time, and be where Ican go to school and commit to other things where I don't have to be held back because of pain."

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Holistic therapy for pets? Traditional vet care being blended with reiki, acupuncture – Georgia Voice

Posted: at 2:11 am

In 2012, Americans spent about $30.2 billion on alternative veterinary practices for their pets. (Photo via iStock)

Its a situation many pet parents have faced: Your beloved fur kid just isnt itself and youre at the end of your rope. Youve maxed out on vet visits and overloaded on pet painkillers. Still, your pup is struggling with arthritis, diabetes or some other painful condition that conventional methods arent helping.

You can cross your fingers and turn to another traditional vet. Or you can join the growing number of pet owners looking to aromatherapy, chiropractic and even energy work to sooth their struggling animals.

Its called holistic medicine, and while the discipline which combines Eastern and metaphysical theories to treat mostly chronic conditions has long been common among human patients, animal specialists say its use is exploding among pet owners. They point to younger pet parents and more animal owners who live a holistic lifestyle and increasingly want their dogs, cats and even lizards to do the same.

These pet parents arent replacing stethoscopes and scalpels with pendulums and sage. Rather, experts say they are increasingly blending traditional vet care with things like reiki, color therapy and acupuncture to treat their animals inside and out.

Healing mind, body and spirit

Sometimes referred to as alternative medicine, holistic medical care is best described as treatment focused on healing mind, body and spirit. Where conventional Western medicine focuses on tests and X-rays, holistic treatment is often intuitive, with heavy focus on emotional blockages, energetic imbalances and other less tangible concepts.

The field encompasses a diverse number of specializations, including hypnotherapy, sound therapy, herbal treatments and reiki, a technique in which a practitioner uses touch to channel energy and restore balance in patients.

It may sound a little hokey to newcomers, but lots of Americans have bought into the faith-based healing modalities: An estimated 59 million Americans spent some $30.2 billion on alternative treatments in 2012, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Four-legged patients are increasingly included in those expenditures, said Tricia Stimac, president of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and an active veterinarian.

While treatments can be used on exotics think lizards and snakes Stimac said the most common pets are cats, dogs and surprisingly, horses.

Acupuncture and chiropractic have been amazing modules of therapy for that species, she said, explaining horses in particular often suffer chronic pain from wearing saddles.

Years ago, she said holistic medicine was more of a fringe thing, practiced by a select few vets who had personal experience with it. Nowadays, however, its patients demanding botanicals and more for things like chronic ear infections, she said.

You realize as youve been in practice for a long period of time, that there are other options, she said. And the younger generation, they are hearing of these modalities and they are being requested.

Stimac said many pet parents belong to the Whole Foods set practicing clean eating and other holistic lifestyle choices that they extend to their pets. But, others are simply ready for something new.

We see clients that start because theyve been to 15 other regular vets and they havent had any help with their animals problems, she said. We help them and they see the success.

That doesnt mean, however, that alternative medicine is a replacement for traditional medicine entirely, she said. Rather, Stimac said alternative medicine should complement traditional methods in certain cases. Alternative medicine should not be used to replace emergency care if a pet is hit by a car or having acute heart troubles, for instance.

But the beauty is that we can not only utilize the surgeon to fix that bone or that cardiologist to add on pharmaceutical medications, but we can also use our alternative therapies to support that, she said. You can use a homeopathic to help heal the bone post surgery. You can use supplements in conjunction with heart medicines.

Soothing music, crystals used for joint pain, anxiety

It all sounded like hocus pocus to pet lover and mobile dog groomer Mary Oquendo. Then, a decade ago, her miniature pinscher, Marcus, fell sick.

He had Cushings (Syndrome), he was diabetic, every month his medications were increasing, she said. His prognosis was not good.

When she saw some crystals in a local alternative store, Oquendo impulsively grabbed a few she thought were pretty. Weeks later, when she felt her mood lift, Oquendo said she started researching the crystals properties and how they could also help her pooch.

It ultimately lead to a longer, healthier life for Marcus and a new specialty for Oquendo. who now offers crystal and reiki pet therapy, in addition to running her mobile business Pawsitively Pretty, and teaching at events like the Atlanta Pet Fair and Conference, in March.

By the time he passed away, he was off Cushings medication and we had reduced his diabetes medicine by about 25 percent, said Oquendo, who is based in Danbury, Connecticut.

These days, she is sharing what worked for her Marcus with cats and dogs suffering everything from joint pain to chronic anxiety. Sessions typically involve soothing music, placing the pet in a circle of crystals and using a pendulum placed over the animals body to guide her to where healing is most needed.

While her pet patients dont have the words to say thanks, Oquendo said they show their appreciation in their own way.

You can see it in their faces, she said.

acupuncturecolor therapygaygay atlantaholistic serviceslgbtlgbt atlantalgbt pet ownersreikivetveterinarian

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This DUP MP is asking if the NHS can fund magnet-fitted metal rings that ‘stop people snoring’ – Mirror.co.uk

Posted: July 5, 2017 at 9:11 am

A DUP MP has asked if magnet-fitted metal rings that supposedly cure chronic snorers can be provided for free on the NHS.

Jim Shannon, whose right-wing party is keeping Theresa May in power in exchange for a 1bn "bung", made his request despite two experts saying they knew of no scientific evidence that the rings work.

Such rings are based on the Chinese tradition of acupressure, which relies on the belief that life energy flows through 'meridian' lines in the body.

They put pressure on a small area of the little finger on one of these lines to supposedly open up the wearer's airways.

Dr Neil Stanley, a sleep researcher with 35 years' experience who worked for the RAF and University of Surrey, told the Mirror: "I am unsure that there is any scientific evidence that copper rings or bracelets have any beneficial effects on snoring.

"As there may be numerous causes of snoring it is unlikely that any 'device' would work in the majority of patients and even the websites promoting these devices admit they work in a limited number of people."

Sleep neuroscientist Professor Jim Horne, a former editor of the Journal of Sleep Research, said he was "very skeptical about this."

He added: "I doubt whether there is solid medical evidence to support it having any effect on obstructive sleep apnoea."

Alternative medicine shop Holland and Barrett sells the rings for 9.99 and says "heavy snorers often find wearing two rings work better than one".

But Holland and Barrett also tells customers not to wear the rings "if snoring is caused by a medical condition eg sleep apnoea".

Nasal and chin strips, implants, mouth guards, diet, exercise and giving up smoking and alcohol are all mentioned as potential snoring cures on the NHS website - copper rings are not.

One study supposedly showing the rings' effect in 2013 was paid for by a copper ring manufacturer and had only 20 subjects.

In a written Parliamentary question, Mr Shannon asked Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt "whether he plans to make magnetic copper rings available on the NHS to alleviate snoring."

Tory health minister Steve Brine replied confirming there are no current plans to introduce the rings on the NHS.

Mr Shannon has long been an advocate of alternative medicine.

In December 2016 he claimed "alternative treatments can be equally effective" in a statement about treating HIV, malaria and tuberculosis.

A month earlier he demanded to know if the Department of Health had held talked to experts about using cider vinegar to reduce strokes.

In 2012 he complained a "small but well co-ordinated group with an anti-homeopathy agenda must be resisted" and access to homeopathic medicines "must be retained and enshrined by government".

In March this year he added it was "perhaps now time for the government to look at homeopathy in a new light because of the demand that there is, and also to see what homeopathy can offer."

The Mirror has contacted Mr Shannon for comment.

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This DUP MP is asking if the NHS can fund magnet-fitted metal rings that 'stop people snoring' - Mirror.co.uk

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West Bengal’s top doctors turn out fakes, arrests blow lid off thriving scam – Hindustan Times

Posted: at 9:11 am

They were the whos who of West Bengals flourishing medical fraternity. Naren Pandey was a top allergy and asthma specialist practicing at one of the citys premier hospitals. Shubhendu Bhattacharya was a general medicine expert felicitated by none other than President Pranab Mukherjee in May this year. Aradeep Chatterjee, an MD in integrative oncology was equally sought after and known as much for his flashy lifestyle and his swanky BMW.

Today, the three are among three dozen others behind bars for having fake medical degrees.

Pandey had even failed his Class 12 examination and began his career as a distributor of unani medicines before donning the role of a doctor. Bhattacharya never studied in any recognised medical college while Chatterjee twice dropped out of a homeopathy college.

Police have sealed the office of Ramesh Baidya, principal of Barasat Bio-Chemical Medical College. From this office in Barasat (North 24 Parganas district) Baidya has sold hundreds of fake degrees, CID sleuths alleged. (Samir Jana)

But lack of qualification never deterred them from making it big, courtesy a racket run by a slew of dubious medical colleges that thrived as much as the professional careers of fake doctors they helped to produce.

The lid on the racket was first blown off during the first week of May when two doctors, Kushiram Haldar and Kaizar Alam, were arrested from Alipurduar and North Dinajpur districts. They had degrees from a fictitious college and were employed at government-run primary health centres. Alam had even worked at Kolkatas Ruby General Hospital one of the citys most sought-after medical care facilities.

Police investigations picked up speed after the first arrests and more doctors had their skeletons tumbling out of their cupboards. Among them was Gopal Biswas, a dentist in Falakata of Cooch Behar district in north Bengal.

Police estimate the number of fake doctors in the state between 500 and 550. At the heart of the fake medical eco-system are the fake universities and colleges.

The locked house of Suresh Agawal, founder president of Indian Board of Alternative Medicine in Bhawanipore, Kolkata. Agarwal allegedly sold fake degrees from an office barely a km away. (Samir Jana)

People with fake degrees from such institutions are practising not only in top private hospitals in Kolkata, and private health facilities in different parts of Bengal, but also in Delhi, Mumbai, Patna, Ranchi and Bhubaneswar, a senior police officer said.

The institutes named in the FIR are Alternative Medical Council Calcutta (AMCC) at Barasat, Indian Board of Alternative Medicine (IBAM) at Bhawanipore, Council of Alternative Systems of Medicines (CASM) at Behala and Indian Council of Alternative Medicine (ICAM) at Bowbazar.

Police claimed, these institutions had no affiliations whatsoever and awarded tens of thousands of fake degrees to aspirants from all over India and even the United States, Italy, Russia, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.

No classes were held in these colleges and all degrees were awarded by them after correspondence courses. Under Medical Council of India( MCI) rules, only three regulatory bodies are entitled to issue approval to institutes for teaching medicine: MCI for modern medicine; the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) and the Central Council of Homeopathy (CCH) for alternative medicine.

But the four blacklisted institutions and a host of other colleges gave out medical degrees undeterred. Rama Shankar Tiwari, a practicing doctor in Howrah district had obtained his degree from the Howrah Central Calcutta Medical College operating out of a nondescript house in Jagaccha. The college has awarded some 20,000 degrees so far, CID officials suspect.

But how the fake institutes flourished for so long is yet to be determined. The state medical council has woken up now and pledged to rid the state of the menace.

I am the whistleblower and I am coordinating with the CID. We will rid the system of fake practitioners, said Nirmal Majhi, the chairman of the council and a close aide of chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

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Alternative Medicine in Halacha: a Review – Yeshiva World News

Posted: July 3, 2017 at 8:13 am

By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for the Five Towns Jewish Times

Rabbi Rephoel Szmerlas new Sefer entitled, Alternative Medicine in Halacha [Israel Bookshop 198 pages English 398 pages Hebrew 596 total] is divided into two sections the main part of the Sefer and the in-depth biurim in Hebrew in the back of the work. In the biurim, it is truly groundbreaking in terms of its exhaustive treatment of the aveiros of the occult: specifically, kishuf, doresh el hameisim, nichush and kosaim. It also deals with following the ways of the gentiles (Darchei Amori) and of the Mitzvah of Tamim Tehiyeh. In discussing these aveiros, the author takes us through every opinion of the rishonim.

In the body of the English text the Sefer is near exhaustive in its discussion of alternative forms of healing. In terms of the scholarship it is quite clear that we are dealing with an extraordinary Talmid Chochom.

The Sefer also has numerous haskamos from leading figures who back up the Torah erudition of the author. There are two underlying ideas that permeate the work. The first is that the multiple modalities of alternative medicines do not in their core violate the aveiros of the occult. The second underlying idea is that these alternative forms of medicine are, in fact, effective. It is this authors opinion, however, that the author makes a number of fundamental errors in coming to this conclusion, and that this thesis can seriously compromise the physical health of the Torah-observant community with the publication of this Sefer.

And while the author states that it is not his goal to encourage people to discount conventional medicine the reality is that advocating the efficacy of modalities of treatment that have statistically been proven ineffective actually does the very thing that Rabbi Szmerla claims that he is not doing: His book will perforce encourage people to discount conventional medicine in favor of the forms of medicine that he claims work. One must always keep in mind that Hashem is the ultimate Rofeh Cholim but one must also utilize and implement the proper Hishtadlus that Hashem put into the world.

THREE MAJOR PROBLEMS WITH THE SEFER

Specifically, it can and does cause family members of those who suffer illness to a] squander much needed and valuable resources on ineffective treatments b] not pursue effective and proven forms of treatment c] cause unnecessary damage to those who are ill. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the moneys spent on pursuing most of these alternative treatments would be far better spent on supporting Torah learning. Rabbi Szmerla ignores the overwhelming medical evidence that these treatments have proven ineffective.

THE HASKAMOS ARE NOT NECESSARILY ENDORSING OF HIS VIEWS

It is clear that Rabbi Szmerla is a scholar of great knowledge and depth, which is perhaps why great Rabbis provided him with approbations. However, a careful reading of a number of the approbations clearly indicate that they do not necessarily agree with his conclusions.

SEFER IS DANGEROUS

It is this authors view that this second and central thesis of the sefer is dangerous and can seriously undermine the health of many members of Klal Yisroel. People may pick up the sefer, and peruse the haskamos. They may erroneously assume that the information contained in the sefer is correct. If they discontinue their regular course of treatment, which many will do, this can be extremely problematic.

In this reviewers view, the thesis flies in the face of basic mathematics. The proper use and understanding of statistics is essential in determining whether a modality of treatment should be used or not. It is the correct hishtadlus al pi derecho hateva. That is, in fact, what modern medicine is based upon. This sefer, notwithstanding the deep Torah erudition of its author, has the potential to throw us back to the days when families of cancer victims squandered their parents lifes savings on the likes of such cures as shark cartilage.

FAULTY UNDERSTANDING OF STATISTICS

The vast majority of people that advocate the efficacy of most of the alternative medicines found in the sefer are not at all proficient in the use of advanced statistical analysis. Because of this flaw, they are unable to differentiate between what constitutes a valid study and an invalid one.

One example of this lies in those who advocate against vaccinations. They claim that they have studied the statistics behind both sides of the vast literature regarding vaccinations. However, when put to the challenge those who argue against vaccinations are fundamentally unable to answer basic questions in simple statistics. Arguing with someone in statistics who has no background in statistics is akin to arguing about translations of sentences in Hebrew with someone who does not understand a word of it.

WHEN AN ERROR IS MADE IN METZIUS

When an error is made in metzius and we are sure of the error, we do not adhere to that persons view no matter how great the individual is. This concept was told to this author by the greatest of Gedolei haPoskim in America as well as in Eretz Yisroel (Rav Dovid Feinstein Shlita, Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita, and Rav Elyashiv ztl). Thus, when the Aruch haShulchan had a fundamental misunderstanding of the dynamics of electricity the view of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztl and other Gedolei HaPoskim won out. Yet the greatness of the Aruch haShulchan and his vast depth and erudition in dalet chelkei shulchan aruch are there for everyone to see.

MOST DISTURBING

Rabbi Szmerla dismisses the view of Rav Dovid Morgenstern Shlita, Rav Elyashiv ztl and Rav Nissim Karelitz Shlita regarding the definition if what would constitute a refuah bedukah a tested and certain cure. He writes that Chazal only required a cure having worked three times as manifest in the Shulchan Aruchs ruling on Kamiyas. Rav Morgenstern writes that it must be a statistically valid cure and cites these other authorities (See Sefer Piskei Din Vol. X p. 535). Rav Elyashiv zatzal has numerous times praised Rav Morgenstern Shlita as fluent in Kol haTorah Kulah, and the dismissal of his views and quotes of Rishonim by Rabbi Szmerla is unwarranted. But let us now examine the various forms of treatments the Rabbi advocates.

ENERGY MEDICINE

In regard to energy medicine, Rabbi Szmerla ignores the six most recent studies showing that there is absolutely no efficacy to such healing disproving Richard Gerbers earlier assertions. Rabbi Szmerla attempts to associate the Gemorahs discussion of Bboah dboah with the concept of aura. The association is far from proven. Boah is described by rishonim as a shadow. True, Rav Chaim Vital disagrees with this association, but that does not mean that it means aura. Rabbi Szmerla thus rejects the views of the Rishonim, asher mipihem anu chaim, and adopts a kabbbalistic view which he assumes is synonymous with aura. This is far from conclusive. The fact that the overwhelming scientific evidence has demonstrated that there is a lack of efficacy to this type of healing is also proof that the Boah dBoah is not, in fact, aura. [See, as just one example, the Medical Journal Pain (91 pp 79-89) Abbot, NC; Harkness, EF; Stevinson, C; Marshall, FP; Conn, DA; Ernst, E (2001). Spiritual healing as a therapy for chronic pain: a randomized, clinical trial. There are numerous others.] As far as Rabbi Szmerlas identification of qi or chi with an adaptive definition of nefesh this identification is clearly not the authorial intent of Rashi in Vayikra 17:11.

THERAPEUTIC TOUCH (TT) OR HANDS ON HEALING

Therapeutic touch healing is a pseudo-science which believes that by placing their hands on, or near, a patient, practitioners are able to detect and manipulate what they say is the patients energy field. Study after study has shown that this is completely ineffective (See for example, JAMA (279:13 pp 1005-1010)Rosa, Linda; Rosa, E; Sarner, L; Barrett, S (1998-04-01). A Close Look at Therapeutic Touch. PMID 9533499. doi:10.1001/jama.279.13.1005.) including one demonstration by a nine-year old girl that practitioners of it are either charlatans or are fooling themselves. Indeed, the American Cancer Society has remarked, Available scientific evidence does not support any claims that TT can cure cancer or other diseases. Rabbi Szmerlas impressive halachic arguments that it does not constitute kishuf is irrelevant. It doesnt work beyond the placebo effect.

ACUPUNCTURE

This reviewer agrees with Rabbi Szmerla that acupuncture is, for many types of maladies, indeed, effective. However, the theories behind acupuncture the notion of restoring energy meridians has been summarily rejected by those with a thorough and grounded understanding of the underlying science behind it. Winston Churchills life was extended by his regular intake of aspirin even though the science behind it was not yet understood.

KINESIOLOGY

It is this reviewers contention that Rabbi Szmerla fails to differentiate between the current state of Kinesiology and the notion of Applied Kinesiology which he mentions on page 81. A.K. is a technique wherein the ability to diagnose illness by practitioners or to choose the required effective treatment. Practitioners claim to do so by testing muscles for strength and weakness. However, once again the vast majority of statistically valid surveys have proven beyond a sliver of a doubt that there is no validity to this method in diagnosing illness. One who is untrained in statistics will not be able to differentiate between a valid study and an invalid one and there are plenty of both. The American Cancer Society has also gone out of its way to state that the scientific evidence does not support the claim that applied kinesiology can diagnose or treat cancer or other illness.

DOWSING

Rabbi Szmerla explains that dowsing is the ability to uncover information through the use of an L shaped rod or a pendulum. He claims that dowsing is not pseudo-science by virtue of the fact that a number of respectable Rabbonim have concluded, through their experience, that dowsing is authentic. The conclusion of the scientific community is that it is no more effective than random chance guessing (see Water Witching U.S.A. (2nd ed.), Vogt, Evon Z.; Ray Hyman (1979), Chicago: Chicago University Press. ISBN 978-0-226-86297-2. via Hines, Terence (2003). Pseudoscience and the Paranormal (Second ed.). Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books. p. 420).

HOMEOPATHY AND FLOWER ESSENCE

Here too, the author seems to be claiming efficacy of a discredited form of therapy. And while it is true that it may be incorrect to forbid the practice of these therapies on account of darchei amori it may be forbidden on account of wasting time and money. The statistical studies are conclusive in the idea that they do not work (See, as just one example, Bioethics (26:9 pp 508-512) Smith K (2012). Homeopathy is Unscientific and Unethical. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8519.2011.01956.x.)

GEM THERAPY

The modern day crystal therapy is compared by the Rabbi to the Even Tekumah discussed in the Gemorah in Sanhedrin (68a). However, not all Rishonim agree with this definition of Even tejumah and it is far from clear that it refers to the same type of stone. Let us also keep in mind that the Baalei haTosfos in Moed Koton 11a (dh Kavra) write that Nishtaneh hateva and that the medical cures in Chazal may not be effective nowadays. Other Poskim who rule in this manner are cited in the authoritative Nishmas Avrohom 1:4 note 14. See also Rav Akiva Eiger, Yoreh Deah 336:1 (dh Nitna) that one should not even attempt to use the remedies in the Gemorah due to the fact that we cannot properly identify the various samim discussed nor do we know exactly how to administer the remedies. See also Yam Shel Shlomo Chullin (8:12) that even the effective cures should not be done so that am haartzim not develop kefirah.

FENG SHUI

The author finds some aspects of Feng Shui as being in violation of the prohibition of Darchei Emori following the ways of the gentiles. He comes to the conclusion that this form of alternative medicine is forbidden based upon the inability to determine which aspects of it achieve true energy harmonization and which ones stem from superstitious beliefs. This reviewer believes that it the former are completely ineffective and have been proven invalid statistically.

HYPNO-THERAPY

The authors conclusions on both the effectiveness and the halachic validity of hypnotherapy are both perfectly valid. The effectiveness of hypnotherapy is accepted in the medical and scientific communities. There are issues of undergoing hypno-therapy when issues of gender and Tznius are involved. The author does not mention this and recent events have shown some serious breaches in this regard.

YOGA

Rabbi Szmerlas conclusions on Yogas effectiveness are not out of the ordinary, and do fall in line with the accepted scientific understanding of it. Halachically, he points to some problems with some aspects of Yoga meditation techniques. He does not mention another halachic problem and that is the use of the mantra perforce has one clearing his mind of all thoughts. This does not fall in line with Mitzvah of always having in mind the shaish zechiros. Anochi Hashem belief in Hashem; Lo Yihyeh there shall be no other gods; Yichud Hashem belief in the absolute Oneness of Hashem; Ahavas Hashem loving Hashem; Yiras Hashem fear of Hashem (or as the Nesivos Shalom understands it fear of losing ones kesher with Hashem; and Lo Sasuru do not stray, following apikorsus and taavah.

SHAMANIC HEALING

The author concludes that Shamanic healing is strictly forbidden.

CONCLUSION

As stated throughout this review the halachic views of the Rabbi Szmerla constitute amazing depth and profundity in the Hebrew biurim section. The medical views espoused in the main body of the book are, in this reviewers opinion and in the opinion of a number of mathematically trained doctors and scientists, quite dangerous. Traditionally, our abilities in calculating the ibbur and other such areas of Torah thought have been described by the rishonim as ki hi chachmaschem uvinaschem bainai haamim. The rejection of statistics in how medicine is applied is a dangerous trend.

The author can be reached at yairhoffman2@gmail.com

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Sidney Health Center announces new family medicine physician – Sidney Herald Leader

Posted: July 2, 2017 at 9:16 am

Sidney Health Center is pleased to announce the successful recruit of Lisa Rosa-R, M.D. Dr. Rosa-R joins the medical staff as a family medicine physician.

Dr. Rosa-R, who is American Board Certified in family medicine, provides a wide range of primary care services to people of all ages.

Her scope of practice includes diagnosing and treating illnesses, managing chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and asthma as well as providing preventive care such as routine checkups, health-risk assessments and screening tests for men, women and children.

Dr. Rosa-R has 30 years of experience in the medical field working as a family physician in the state of Georgia. The last 10 years she has incorporated integrative medicine into her scope of practice. Integrative medicine emphasizes the integration of complementary and alternative medicine approaches with conventional medicine.

Dr. Rosa-R graduated with a bachelor of science in mathematics from the University of Western Australia in Perth, Australia. She went onto become a Doctor of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Seville in Seville, Spain and then completed her residency in family practice at Saint Mary Hospital in Hoboken, N.J. as well as completing a Fellowship in Family Medicine at Bronx-Lebanon Albert Einstein College of New York, NY.

Dr. Rose-R is fluent in English and Spanish. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Rosa-R, please call her office at 406-488-2231 at the Sidney Health Center Clinic, Suite #110.

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What’s happening in your body during acupuncture? – The Verge

Posted: July 1, 2017 at 9:14 am

Thousands of years after acupuncture was invented, controversy remains over whether the Chinese traditional medicine technique works. While previous trials have shown mixed results, a new study shows that, at the very least, those needles really do cause something to happen in our bodies.

Scientists have long been skeptical about the value of acupuncture, though practitioners have questioned whether the acupuncture in many studies was done correctly. Other trials suggest that acupuncture does work, but only as a placebo. In a study published this week in the journal Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers measured the biological effect of the procedure. They found that if you do acupuncture correctly, your body releases more nitric oxide at the points where the needles are inserted. The nitric oxide increases blood flow and triggers your body to release natural anesthetics, which can create either warming or cooling sensations. (The study was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health.)

The scientists inserted acupuncture needles into 25 people, ages 18 to 60 and both men and women. Then they tried two different methods. In one, they twisted the needles for two minutes every five minutes, for a total of 20 minutes. In the other, they applied electrical heat for 20 minutes.

Using a device that can measure the molecules in specific skin regions, researchers were able to detect the nitric oxide being released at these acupuncture sites for both methods.

There are caveats, as always. The sample size is small, and these results should be considered in light of more skeptical research as well. Next, the team wants to do further research to understand the underlying cellular mechanisms and the differences between the two techniques.

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What's happening in your body during acupuncture? - The Verge

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Friday Feedback: Can MDs Ever Be Comfortable with ‘Alternative Medicine’? – MedPage Today

Posted: June 30, 2017 at 5:14 pm

MedPage Today's F. Perry Wilson, MD, recently met up with Yale's Steven Novella, MD, a noted critic of alternative and complementary medicine. While physicians like Novella are clearly skeptical of unconventional remedies that lack robust evidentiary support or prior plausibility, many patients continue to experiment with supplements and homeopathic remedies, while still seeing their regular doctors.

We reached out to experts from a variety of specialties to get their thoughts on alternative medicine and whether it creates challenges in caring for patients.

Do you make a habit of asking patients about unconventional remedies they are taking, and how well does that work? Are patients usually honest about what they use?

David Spiegel, MD, Stanford University: Yes, and it works well. Patients are usually proud about the extra efforts they are making to augment their health.

Mikhail Kogan, MD, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences: All providers should ask all patients what remedies they are taking, whether they are herbal, supplements, or homeopathics. Patients often don't disclose this information to their physicians out of concern that they will be judged. Expressing understanding and interest in natural products not only will help to minimize risk of interactions and side effects but will improve patient doctor alliance.

Aaron Michelfelder, MD, Loyola Medicine: It is crucial that physicians know about all therapies a patient is utilizing so that we can think very holistically about a patient's care. I ask patients about other remedies and treatments routinely, and I phrase it in a way that lets patients know I am open to alternatives. An example is, "Sometimes people use herbal therapies to help lower their blood pressure, have you tried herbal or any other types of therapies for your condition?"

Richard Bedlack, MD, PhD, Duke ALS Clinic: I make it clear from day one that I do not have a way to stop or reverse ALS, and that I am personally trying to find this through research. Some folks cannot get into any studies, and some don't want to put up with the burdens associated with them. Thus, I mention to every new patient that I am open to discussing their self-experimentation with alternative therapies.

Joep Perk, MD, Linnaeus University: I do whenever I suspect they do. It does work fairly well as I tend not to be accusing. Honest? I am afraid many patients remain silent about it.

What do you say to patients who say they want to try alternative medicine instead of science-based treatments that you recommend?

Perk: I try to explain what science-based treatment represents and if it concerns vital medication I make quite an effort to convince and usually engage a nearest relative. My message is clear: I will not take any responsibility if they start on alternative treatment.

Steven E. Nissen MD, Cleveland Clinic Foundation: I strongly advise patients not to take any of these products. I explain that supplements are not regulated by the FDA, may or may not contain the ingredients claimed, and may adversely interact with prescription products.

Spiegel: I advise them to carefully consider the risks and benefits, and to discuss their decisions with the doctors caring for them. There are risk/benefit tradeoffs in scientific medical care as well as "alternatives." I prefer the term "integrative" to "alternative" medicine to indicate that most of the time patients can do both.

Andrew T. Pavia MD, University of Utah: I think of non-traditional medicines in two groups. One is those likely to be safe, not terribly expensive, and used to complement traditional medicines that may be needed. They may or may not be helping but are not likely to harm the patient's body or pocket. As long as we talk about the use of these products, I am generally supportive. The other group are remedies that are of unknown composition and safety and are very expensive. They are making someone rich but the patient poor. These usually are sold with extravagant and unproven claims.

Bedlack: I try to make sure my patients have as much available information about the alternative therapy as possible. I make suggestions on which alternative therapies have more plausible mechanisms, better pre-clinical data, more believable anecdotes and better safety. I tell them what I think; that is really the best I can do. I will always support patients and reassure them that I will continue to be their doctor even if they do things that I personally do not agree with.

Kogan: I like to find out why they want to do it. If I know that the modality they are going to try is safe, possibly helpful, and they don't waste time not using a possibly much more effective treatment, I never restrict them. It matters to be patient-centered. We look at healing as a journey where a patient's intuitive selection of modalities is often a critical components of finding the best approach.

Michelfelder: If the alternative therapies are inexpensive and safe, and the condition does not need immediate action, then there is no harm in trying an alternative therapy, and I say "why not?" Many of our current medications have come from herbal therapies, and there is much to be learned about alternative therapies. I can help patients decide when to use alternative therapies, and when conventional medical therapies are necessary. We are a much better team when a doctor and a patient have open and honest conversations about all possible therapies for a condition.

Do you support more regulation of supplements and "natural" medicines, including their marketing as well as their production?

Michelfelder: I support more regulation of supplements to ensure that the products contain the advertised ingredients, do not contain harmful contaminants, and contain consistent levels of the advertised ingredients. I also support testing of natural medicine for safety. I also think that all people who make recommendations to others about treating health conditions should be trained and licensed.

Bedlack: I think it would be great to have a way to hold the proponents of alternative therapies accountable for the claims they make.

Spiegel: We do want to be sure they contain what they are supposed to, which is not always the case, and that claims made about them have some basis in fact.

Pavia: An overarching issue is the lack of standards in the production, content, or quality of supplements and nutritional products. Patients and their care team need to know what is actually in the bottle. In the world of HIV medicine, we always ask about supplements and non-traditional therapies. Some have important interactions with HIV medicines and there are potentially dangerous combinations.

Kogan: Absolutely. The current status quo is a wild, wild west where any company can produce a product that may not even contain the active ingredients listed on the label. Most of Europe regulates supplements very similar to medications, and that is what we need to do in U.S. Better regulations will assure better quality of supplements even if the cost will rise. Having a market saturated with cheap, poor quality retail brand supplements that have little to no therapeutic value continues to create "bad rap" for the industry that has some very high quality brands that try to do the right thing.

Perk: Yes, the rules here in Sweden are quite stiff and the Swedish Medical Agency keeps a close critical eye on it, but occasionally misleading marketing slips through. Our problem is that the SMA has no real authority on internet marketing from abroad so we have a stream of potentially harmful substances that are imported via postal delivery.

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‘pH Miracle Diet’ author gets jail for phony medical practice … – fox5sandiego.com

Posted: at 5:14 pm

VISTA A man who espoused alternative medicine while treating terminally ill people without a license at his Valley Center avocado ranch was sentenced Thursday to three years and eight months in county jail.

With credit for time already served, Robert O. Young the author of the pH Miracle Diet book series will spend about six months behind bars before being released, said Deputy District Attorney Gina Darvas.

Young, 65, pleaded guilty in April to a charge of practicing medicine without a license.

The defendant admitted that he didnt have any post-high school educational degrees from any accredited schools and that he is not a microbiologist, hematologist, medical doctor, naturopathic doctor or trained scientist.

Vista Superior Court Judge Richard Whitney warned Young to stay out of medical practices in the future.

Young was convicted last year of two separate counts of practicing medicine without a license and acquitted on a third count. Jurors deadlocked on six remaining charges, including two counts of grand theft. Three jurors likened Youngs science to selling snake oil.

Darvas said Young went beyond advocating dietary changes and used intravenous treatments on patients he housed at his 46-acre ranch. The prosecutor said Young sold treatments to people who were terminally ill, knowing it wouldnt be effective.

Defense attorney Paul Pfingst said Young has a doctoral degree and people who came to him for treatment were well aware that he wasnt a medical doctor.

In cases where patients needed to be injected with needles, Young hired doctors and nurses to perform those tasks, Pfingst said.

In Utah in 1995, Young was arrested on two felony counts of practicing medicine without a license. He pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor, which was dismissed under a plea deal 18 months later.

He was charged again in Utah in 2001, but the case was dropped.

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Not all wellness is bullshit – Quartz

Posted: at 12:15 am

Nearly every female lifestyle journalist worth their Himalayan pink salt descended on the first-ever Goop conference earlier this month. The result was a litany of take-downs ranging from the snarky to the overtly political.

The wellness industrial complex certainly deserves close scrutinyas does the rise of a celebrity vanity project thats turned pseudoscience into an aspirational lifestyle choice. However, as fun as it is to write about the radioactive swan-like qualities of Gwyneth Paltrow, theres a downside to sneering at wellness wholesale: We may wind up inadvertently dismissing science-backed forms of alternative and non-Western healing in the process.

Just ask Moroccan researcher and pharmacologist professor Adnane Remmal. Remmal was recently awarded a European Inventor Award for developing a new form of antibiotic that he created to fight multidrug-resistant (MDR) superbugs. According to a February report from the World Health Organization, if we rely on market forces to develop suitable treatment options to address such bugs, a new drug is unlikely to arrive in time. So what is the magic ingredient that Remmal has proved to be effective at boosting the efficacy of antibiotics? Cineolea molecule found in the essential oil derived from the eucalyptus plant.

The drug is currently under clinical trials in the country, and is slated to enter the market there in late 2017 or early 2018. A preliminary study, albeit with a very small sample size, found that 100% of 25 subjects who were treated for a MDR urinary tract infection were cured when they took a course of antibiotics boosted with this molecule. (While these results have yet to be published, there are several other studies that show the efficacy of this synergistic effect.)

Botanicals have long been known to have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, and have been responsible for success stories such as the naturally-derived cancer drug Taxol. (Other naturally-found molecules and compounds have also made their way into mainstream medicinethe active ingredient in aspirin is a synthetic version of a compound found in willow bark and other plants, and artemisinin, used to fight malaria, is derived from sweet wormwood.) Still, when Remmal began experimenting with cineole, he was unsure if the mainstream medical establishment would accept it.

In the beginning I had a resistance to the idea myself, but at the same time, in Morocco using plants to cure some diseases is not newso I was quite sure there was some active agent in botanicals, Remmal said. However in the field of infectious disease, it was difficult to convince the scientists that we can obtain better efficacy with this drug than with antibiotics. This is why I combined them together.

Indeed, Remmal believes that the molecule alone could prove as effective at battling infections as it is when paired with antibiotics, but more clinical trials on humans are needed to confirm. He has already developed an animal feed additive in Morocco that has allowed some farmers to ditch their antibiotic-laden feed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that the misuse of antibiotics in animal feed contributes to the development, persistence, and spread of resistant bacteria.

Remmals discovery serves as a good illustration of the nuance that is often lost in the wellness vortex. On one hand, a bias against complementary and alternative medicine may lead both doctors and patients to write off treatments that actually have proven benefits. On the other, the fact that a molecule found in eucalyptus oil may be useful in stopping superbugs doesnt mean that we should all give up penicillin and start munching on the plants leaves like koalas. As Remmal notes, cineole is just one molecule of about 40 that make up eucalyptus essential oil, and the quantity one would have to ingest to benefit from its antibacterial properties would likely come with severe side effects, too. In other words: details matter.

With essential oils, Id never say you cant inhale it, or put it on your skin, or put it in olive oil and make a balm for your scalp, for example, he says. The quantity which would traverse the skin in those cases will be acceptable. But to take it orally is not good. Not just useless, but dangerous.

Remmals guidance points to the need to stick to good old-fashioned science when considering the efficacy of the latest Instagram trend. If you dont, you end up putting all your faith in coconut oil or turmeric, only to find they dont live up to the hype.

But its equally important not to dismiss all alternative forms of healing as guff. Aside from botanicals, there are numerous forms of alternative or non-Western treatments shown to have real results. In the US, reputable medical colleges are increasingly offering courses in CAM topics to their students. Even Britains National Health Servicewhich, as a single-payer system, tends to be risk-averse when it comes to experimental treatmentsendorses treatments such as osteopathy, chiropractic treatments, and acupuncture. Furthermore, a growing number of studies show the measurable results of meditation and mindfulness practice to reduce problems like stress, anxiety, and high blood pressure.

To separate the wellness wheat from the chaff, its useful to train yourself about what evidence to look for when youre evaluating alternative medicine. The National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health provides guidance for the kind of information thats often missing from media write-ups of these alternative treatments, including how well one treatment approach works compared with another, potential side effects, whether study results are statistically significant, and whether the study was done in animals or in people.

Innovations like Remmals that integrate alternative healing traditions and go against the mainstream medical establishment have the potential to bring vital gains to health care. So lets not be too quick to roll our eyes at wellness as a whole. When it comes to jade eggs for your vagina, however? Laugh away.

Learn how to write for Quartz Ideas. We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.

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Read next: All the wellness products Americans love to buy are sold on both Infowars and Goop

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Not all wellness is bullshit - Quartz

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