What is in your Herbal Supplements?

What is in your Herbal Supplements?

Herbal supplements (botanicals; plant-based medicine) have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Today they are widely recognized for having drug-like effects such as improving mood or controlling sugar level and blood pressure. However, being “natural” and having medicinal effects also carry risk, especially if taken with other medicines or supplements. Most over-the-counter herbal supplements are not subjected to the same scientific scrutiny and aren’t as strictly regulated as medications.

The makes of herbal supplements are not required to submit their products for FDA approval before going to market. Their only requirement is to demonstrate their products meet quality manufacturing standards. Studies have shown this is not enough: Many over-the-counter herbals are contaminated or substituted with alternative plant species and fillers that are not listed on the label. According to the World Health Organization, this adulteration of herbal products is a threat to consumer safety.

Before buying herbal supplements, do your homework and investigate potential benefits and side effects. Follow our tips below to help identify quality herbal supplements. Before taking an herbal supplement, talk your health practitioner–especially if you take other medications, have chronic health problems, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Quality Factors: Look for products that indicate standardized extracts; no fillers, preservatives/additives; naturally harvested; fair-trade/sustainable manufacturing practices.

Quality Control: Quality control (QC) refers to processes for maintaining the purity of a product. Without QC, there is no assurance that the herb contained in the bottle is the same as what is stated on the outside. One of the key solutions to the QC problem that exists in the United States is for manufacturers and suppliers to adhere to standardized manufacturing practices.

Products should indicate they are third-party tested. Look for a USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia) seal of approval. Check products (and product recalls) on these websites: Council for Responsible NutritionConsumerLabs, and the National Institutes of Health Dietary Supplement QA Program. Check the product website for more information.

If you need an advice on a professional quality botanical/herbal product, don’t hesitate to contact our office for recommendations 212 696- HEAL(4325). We prescreen and study the quality product for you and we use only physician grade, high quality herbal product from reputable manufacturers that make their priority to provide pharmaceutical quality herbs. Unfortunately, those are hardly ever available on-line or over the counter.

References:

Cleveland Clinic. “Herbal Supplements: Helpful or Harmful?” Reviewed December 2013. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/heart/prevention/emotional-health/holistic-therapies/herbal-supplements

Mayo Clinic. “Herbal Supplements: What to Know Before You Buy.” http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/herbal-supplements/art-20046714

Newmaster, S., et al. “DNA Barcoding Detects Contamination and Substitution in North American Herbal Products.” BMC Medicine 11 (2013): 222. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/11/222

Pizzorno, J.E. Textbook of Natural Medicine. Fourth edition. St Louis, Missouri: Elsevier Publishing: 2014.

U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention. “USP & Dietary Supplement Manufacturers.” http://www.usp.org/usp-manufacturers/dietary-supplements

The Butterfly Inside You: The Tiny, Mighty Thyroid Gland

The Butterfly Inside You: The Tiny, Mighty Thyroid Gland

A busy butterfly lives just below your Adam’s apple that is responsible for the regulation of your inner state of balance, or homeostasis. Like a butterfly, the thyroid quietly goes about its business without getting much attention until your doctor checks it with her hands during a routine exam. Unless something unusual is found at that time (e.g., swelling) or symptoms manifest that indicate a problem, there won’t be much further ado about your thyroid.

Let’s take a moment to find out what the thyroid does, how to know if there’s a problem, and how to keep your thyroid healthy.

The thyroid is part of the endocrine system, which includes the pituitary gland, hypothalamus, thymus, pineal gland, testes, ovaries, adrenal glands, parathyroid, and pancreas. It makes hormones (e.g., T3, T4) that travel through your bloodstream and regulate your metabolism, brain and heart function, and reproductive and menstrual cycles.

When the thyroid is not functioning properly, a chain reaction of hormonal events takes place that involves many other glands/hormones of the endocrine system and the bodily systems they regulate. The end result is one of two primary types of health conditions: hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism results when the thyroid is overactive. Think of hyperthyroidism like a butterfly that can’t stop fluttering its wings. Everything is on overdrive, including metabolism, frequency of bowels, emotions (anxiousness), increased sweating, and–for lady butterflies only–very light menstruation or cessation of the menstrual cycle. This butterfly often feels hot and can’t maintain a healthy weight. There are also bouts of exhaustion from trying to maintain this intense state of arousal.

Hypothyroidism results when the thyroid is underactive. This butterfly just can’t get its wings to go. It’s gained weight, feels sluggish, and has brittle hair and nails. It feels cold and tired, is kind of depressed, and suffers from constipation. The lady butterflies usually have irregular, heavy menstruation.

5 Ways to Keep Your Thyroid Healthy

  1. Eat from the sea. The sea provides many natural sources of iodine, a building block of the thyroid hormone. Salt has a high concentration of iodine, but it can raise blood pressure. Instead, opt for saltwater fish, or try seaweed in a salad. Cod and halibut are high in selenium, which protects the thyroid gland during periods of stress and helps regulate hormone synthesis. Fish oil provides essential fatty acids that reduce inflammation, which plays a role in causing autoimmune diseases.
  2. Eat from the earth. Eat foods high in B vitamins, which are precursors to thyroid hormones and influence cell energy. Balance your diet with poultry, nuts and seeds, legumes, and whole grains. Red meat provides iron, zinc, magnesium, and other minerals essential for thyroid hormone function, and the health of other bodily systems affected by thyroid disorders (skin, hair, metabolism).
  3. Relax. A daily relaxation practice, such as just 10 minutes a day of silence and deep breathing, can make a difference in the state of mind and body.
  4. Move it! Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Yoga is particularly good for thyroid health, including poses such as butterfly, fish pose, shoulder stand, and child’s pose.
  5. Get supplemental insurance. Our diets aren’t perfect, so supplementing with a vitamin/mineral or botanical (herb) regimen can provide extra insurance against exposure to stress, toxins, and perhaps your own family history. Be sure to consult with your wellness practitioner about the best nutraceutical products for you.

Resources

What Your Bowel Movements Reveal about Your Health?

What Your Bowel Movements Reveal about Your Health?

While discussion of poop is probably not a hot topic in your household, in our home it is the most important topic of discussion. “Honey,how was your poop today? Did you have a good one?” Jokes aside, composition of what you deposit into the toilet has important implications for health. Did you know the features of fecal matter–such as the size, color, shape, odor, and consistency indicate how well the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is functioning? Those same features also provide clues about how your body is (or isn’t) faring against threats of infection and more serious diseases like celiac disease, hepatitis, urinary tract infections, malabsorption disorders, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), pancreatitis, and cancer.

To give you an idea of what healthy, normal stool looks like, check out the Bristol Stool Chart (see attached picture and diagnosed yourself). The healthy range for fecal matter is of a consistency that is not too hard, not too soft, and mostly solid–as opposed to lumpy, pellet-like, or liquid. Normal stool color is in the light-to-medium brown range and is not offensively odorous. Also, bowel movements (BMs) should pass easily from your body to the toilet.

5 BMs that Require Medical Attention (Unless you are aware of dietary changes or a medication that could produce the following types of stool, it’s advisable to seek medical attention if you observe the following changes in BMs).

Stool that is hard to pass, requires straining, or is accompanied by abdominal pain.

Black, tarry stool might indicate infection or GI bleeding, while bright red stool could indicate infection and/or bleeding in the GI tract or anus. Seek immediate medical attention.

White, pale, or grey stool could indicate problems with the liver, bile ducts, or pancreas.

Yellow stool could indicate serious infection or gallbladder problems.

Mucus in the stool can indicate inflammation, infection, or even cancer.

How Often Should You Go?

How frequently you have a BM is important, too. And, what’s typical for you may be different for other people in your family. For most people, daily BMs are considered the norm. No matter how often you poop, you should not have to strain or experience pain while excreting. Additionally, be aware that the appearance and frequency of BMs will vary based on what’s in your diet, sleep and exercise patterns, hormonal changes, travel, stress, hydration level, medications or supplements you are taking, and exposure to toxins (from nicotine to industrial toxins).

How Low Should You Go?

There’s also evidence that the position you take to evacuate the bowels has health implications for the physical structures of the GI tract. So much so that some scientists indicate sitting to poop is a contributing factor in the development of colon and pelvic diseases. Before potty training, young children squat to poop in their diapers–they don’t sit. Yes, there’s a difference between squatting and sitting. The modern toilet places the thighs at a 90-degree angle to the abdomen, whereas squatting has a much deeper angle that gives more motility to the intestinal muscles and organs. Evacuating the bowels is much easier on the body in the squatting versus seated position. Toilet position should be a consideration for everyone over the age of five, but is especially important for the elderly, the disabled, and individuals with compromised mobility.

You can learn more about proper toilet position in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P8L0r4JVpo

Resources

Mercola, J. “What You See in the Toilet Can Give You Valuable Insights into Your Health.” Accessed February 2015.

Monastyrsky, K. “Gut Sense: What Exactly Are Normal Stools?” Accessed February 2015.

Sikirov, D. “Comparison of Straining During Defecation in Three Positions: Results and Implications for Human Health.” Abstract. Digestive Diseases and Sciences 48, no. 7 (July 2003): 1201-5.

Step and Go. “Step and Go Ergonomically Correct Toilet Position.” Accessed February 2015.

 

Inflammation and " Leaky Brain" Syndrome

Inflammation and Leaky Brain Syndrome

Very commonly I see patients with significant emotional and cognitive problems that last for years. Either long standing problem with focus and concentration or decreasing memory could be the signs of “Leaky Brain” or increased permeability of the blood brain barrier. It is a highly suspected problem especially in people whose symptoms developed later in life.

Our brain is one of the most protected organs in the entire body and also, it is one of the most important one. The blood that brings nutrients to the brain goes through a protective barrier, called blood brain barrier.

This brain barrier ensures that only substances that can provide some type of functional asset to the brain are allowed through and that the brain will be compromised by invasive substances.

Leaky brain syndrome occurs when this blood brain barrier fails to keep out certain substances. This means that harmful substances are able to carry through the walls and find their way into the brain which can change the way that we function every day.

Quite often leaky brain syndrome is related to leaky gut syndrome. Both conditions are caused by the inflammation. The same factors that cause inflammation in the gastro-intestinal tract, like food sensitivity or imbalance of bacteria, may cause the inflammatory processes in the entire body and cause weakness of blood brain barrier. Once this barrier becomes compromised the brain can fall victim to damage from environmental toxins, like heavy metals, bacteria and more. In extreme cases with leaky brain symptoms one can start to experience major neurological or psychiatric conditions like ADD/ADHD, autism, chronic pain, depression and other mental illnesses.

As it’s fairly common to have leaky brain and leaky gut syndrome at the same time, and it is usually a good idea to focus on the treatment of both conditions at once. A specific diet and life style modification leading to decrease exposure to toxic factors must be implemented in the treatment of Leaky Brain syndrome. We often recommend supplement with omega-3 oil, anti-inflammatory botanicals and neurotransmitter support medication.

Feel free to call our office to schedule evaluation and receive adequate functional medicine treatment for your symptoms. To find a certified functional medicine practitioner in your area go to www.functionalmedicine.org

Soothing Herbs for Restful Sleep

Soothing Herbs for Restful Sleep

Lavender (Lavendula species), Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Oats (Avena sativa)

Three herbs well known for calming effects are Lavender, Chamomile and Oats. Perhaps, not quite as well known as the first two herbs, Avena sativa (Oats Milky Seed or Oatstraw) is the grain* source of oatmeal. The entire plant is abundant in minerals and trace nutrients, in particular the B-vitamins, calcium, and magnesium, which help soothe and strengthen the nervous system. As an herbal remedy, oats can ease the effects of stress, anxiety or exhaustion and resolve sleeplessness. Oats contain the amino acid tryptophan, which research shows promotes sleep. In fact, Scottish folks suggest a bowl of oatmeal before bedtime to ensure restful sleep!

Of its many medicinal uses, lavender is known worldwide as an herbal “rescue-remedy” for reducing stress, anxiety and tension. Its strong, relaxation-inducing scent is used in massage therapy lotions, candles, bath salts, tinctures and essential oils. As one of the few essential oils that can be applied directly to the skin, a dab of lavender on the inside of your wrist can help soothe a stressful moment. Lavender is also used in teas, often paired with chamomile. If you are not a tea-drinker, dried lavender can be added to a sachet and placed beneath your pillow to help induce sleep. I always keep lavender essential oil handy to sooth my son, when he has hard time to fall asleep.

Chamomile has been used for centuries as an herbal remedy for easing stress and insomnia. Today, these uses continue and we also have good clinical evidence for the safe use of chamomile preparations to help reduce inflammation, promote more restful sleep, ease colic and digestive upset, and facilitate wound healing when used in a cream. While chamomile seems to reduce the effects of anxiety, which can contribute to sleeplessness, more research is necessary to demonstrate the specific properties of chamomile that contribute to its effects.

Since there are many different ways to prepare these herbs, and some people can be allergic to certain herbs, do check with your wellness practitioner for the best approach to help you relax and get a good night’s sleep.

*If you have sensitivity or allergy to gluten, be sure to use an oat product produced using gluten-free manufacturing practices.

References
  • Mars, B. & Fiedler, C. (2015). The Home Reference to Holistic Health & Healing. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press. (pp. 29-29, 45, 193, 200).
  • Bennett, Robin Rose. (2014). The Gift of Healing Herbs. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
  • Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press. (p. 532)
  • Duke, James. A. (2002). Handbook of Medicinal Herbs (2nd Ed). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. (p. 534)
  • Thorne Research. Matricaria chamomilla (German chamomile). Monograph. Alternative Medicine Review (2008) 13:1, 58-62.
  • D. Wheatley (2005) Medicinal plants for insomnia: a review of their pharmacology, efficacy and tolerability. J Psychopharmacol, Volume 19, Pages 414-421.
  • Murray, M. “Insomnia” as cited in Pizzorno, Joseph E. (2013). Textbook of Natural Medicine. St. Louis, MO Elsevier. (chapter 182).
  • Zick, Suzanna M et al. “Preliminary Examination of the Efficacy and Safety of a Standardized Chamomile Extract for Chronic Primary Insomnia: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 11 (2011): 78. PMC. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.
  • Medicine Talk Professional. Lecture on Healthy Sleep.
  • Sleep Health Foundation (Australia). Herbal Remedies and Sleep.http://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/files/pdfs/HerbalRemedies-0713.pdf
  • Herbal Academy of New England. http://herbalacademyofne.com/2014/05/oats-benefits-getting-to-know-avena-sativa/
Natural Therapies for a Good Night's Sleep

Natural Therapies for a Good Night’s Sleep

Before your head sinks into the pillow at bedtime, there are some very simple things you can do to prepare mind and body for a night of deeply restful sleep. The evening hours are a time when the busyness of your day should begin to wind down. It’s important to create a bedtime ritual that will help tame the thoughts that may still be racing through your mind and which can prevent you from falling or staying asleep throughout the night. In addition to the lifestyle tips for better sleep that are described in this month’s feature article, try adding some of the following naturopathic and holistic approaches to your evening routine.

  • Enjoy a warm bath including Epsom salts and/or lavender oil.
  • Listen to the relaxing sounds of ocean waves, classical music, or chimes. There are specialized acoustic recordings that are orchestrated to affect specific brain wave patterns for relaxation or sleep. Call our office for a complimentary download of MP3 file.
  • A guided recording of progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing exercises, restorative yoga poses, can help the body create the ‘relaxation response’.
  • Herbs and other botanical or aromatherapy treatments are useful for calming down after a stressful day. In addition to the herbs discussed in this month’s newsletter, you might want to ask your physician about teas, tinctures or capsule preparations of valerian, skullcap, passionflower, or lemon balm and kava kava.
  • Try meditation, beginning with just 10 minutes a day. Meditation has numerous health benefits and recent studies show it can significantly affect quality of sleep.
  • I also like to recommend some homeopathic medicine for sleep. Quietude is a great combination of homeopathic medicines that helped many of my patients to avoid sleeping pills. Just dissolve 1-2 tabs after the dinner and before bedtime to get faster onset and uninterrupted sleep. If you wake up in the middle of the night take another dose.
  • Melatonin is sleeping hormone helping us to fall asleep and staying asleep. Almost of all of us drop the production of it after 40 years of age which also corresponds with the process of aging. Starting a supplementation of good quality of melatonin at 3mg at night time can be a great help before running for a pharmaceutical prescriptions.

Get a good night sleep or call our office for a free copy of the sleeping meditation recording. Stay Healthy Wealthy & Wise.

Elena Klimenko, MD

Integrative Medicine Specialist

References
  • American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “Meditation May Be An Effective Treatment For Insomnia.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 June 2009. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609072719.htm
  • Corliss, J. Mindfulness meditation helps fight insomnia, improves sleep. Harvard Health Newsletter. 18 February, 2015. http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-helps-fight-insomnia-improves-sleep-201502187726
  • Murray, M. “Insomnia” as cited in Pizzorno, Joseph E. (2013). Textbook of Natural Medicine. St. Louis, MO Elsevier. (chapter 182).
  • Mars, B. & Fiedler, C. (2015). The Home Reference to Holistic Health & Healing. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press. (pp. 29-29, 45, 193, 200).
3 Ways You Can Recover from Leaky Gut Syndrome

3 Ways You Can Recover from Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS), also referred to as increased intestinal permeability, is a condition where the junction between the cells of intestinal wall lining becomes loose. This allows substances from the digestive tract penetrate through the intestinal wall into the blood, therefore bypassing the normal pathway, which is going through the cell. That would not be a problem, except, the substances that end up in the blood stream, like microbes, undigested food particles and even toxins, should never be there. As a result, the intestinal wall gets inflamed and cannot perform it’s important function which is nutrients absorption. Therefore, one can start suffering from malabsorption and malnutrition. We often see it as low levels of common vitamins and minerals in the blood test.

Most commonly LGS may present with symptoms of bloating, gas, stomach aches and food intolerance or sensitivity. The substances that end up in the blood may also set off the beginning of the autoimmune diseases like celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid diseases, like Hashimoto or Graves disease, multiple sclerosis and many others.There is an established link between LGS and some mental symptoms (brain fog, poor memory, intellectual sluggishness) and even psychiatric diseases (attention deficit disorder, depression, anxiety). We often refer to it as “leaky gut = leaky brain”.

Interestingly, Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS) is not a diagnosis necessarily taught in traditional medical school programs so strictly conventional doctors may not acknowledge the existence of this condition. Therefore, they don’t always suspect it in their patients or don’t know how to treat it.However, more and more research data confirm the link between this condition and development of multiple chronic medical conditions, especially related to gastrointestinal diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) like Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.

My continued studies after traditional medical education, in alternative science-based medical practice and recent certification in functional medicine have taught me the tremendous effects of a leaky gut on people’s overall health.

The factors contributing to LGS are: stress, alcohol, toxins, some pharmaceuticals meds, poor diet, gut bacterial imbalance (dysbiosis).

Three ways you can recover from Leaky Gut Syndrome are:

Find out if you actually have LGS

Change the way you eat

Learn to deal with stress

Find out if you actually have Leaky Gut Syndrome

First, determine whether you actually have LGS. Find a functional medicine physician in your area who can help you (go to www.functionalmedicine.org). As a result of extensive training in alternative and functional medicine I go beyond traditional methods and take a full health history. I use special laboratory testing to get to the very root of medical problems rather than simply charting symptoms and writing prescriptions to suppress them.

Change the way you eat

During the process of investigating your illness, I can help you establish a new customized diet, which is likely to improve your health, regardless of the final diagnosis. A diet in this sense is not meant to restrict your caloric intake but refers to the types of foods you are eating. Natural and unprocessed foods should be eaten in variety with lots of green leafy vegetables and lean protein as main parts of your food intake. Certain supplements might be recommended that will help to heal the intestinal lining and make the cell junctions tight again.

Learn to deal with stress

Leading a high stress lifestyle will result in greater risk for developing chronic diseases and LGS is one of them. Learning how to deal with stress and identifying stressors in your life will be a part of any treatment plan that will re-balance and heal your body long term.

Holistic Treatment For Your Digestive Issues With The '4R Protocol'

Holistic Treatment For Your Digestive Issues With The ‘4R Protocol’

Maintaining a healthy digestive system is a key component of one’s overall health. The digestive system directly breaks down and absorbs nutrients, and when disrupted, can have serious effects on all other systems of the body. An imbalance in your digestive performance leads to nausea, bloating, diarrhea, malnutrition, and significant weight loss. Due to the sensitivity and volatile reactions that can occur with gastrointestinal issues, many turn to functional medicine doctor for a soothing and effective homeopathic solution.

A functional medicine specialist can offers alternative medical solutions to those suffering with serious digestive issues. Through a comprehensive approach and holistic treatments, patients can be accurately diagnosed with common bacterial imbalances, like dysbiosis (an imbalance of beneficial and harmful microorganisms in the gut), and receive natural and effective solutions.

One of the most effective functional medicine treatment options for patients suffering with dysbiosis is the “4R Protocol,” which formulates a solution with four main components:

  • Remove what is harmful: By eliminating harmful foods or foods causing allergic reactions or intolerance, medication, poor quality fats, refined carbohydrates and sugars, so your body may be able to naturally reorient its digestive tribulations. It also include removing harmful microorganisms from the gut, like yeast, parasites and other non-beneficial bacteria.
  • Replace what is lacking: Substitute what is needed for normal digestion and absorption, such as supplement of hydrochloric acid and pancreatic enzymes, with natural and soothing herbal sources.
  • Reinnoculate what is missing: Introduce favorable microbes back into your digestive system to enhance the growth of the beneficial bacteria. Additional supplements like prebiotics, insulin, and fiber, can also be effective at promoting positive bacteria.
  • Repair what is damaged: After serious digestive issues, stomach and intestinal lining may be damaged. Support healing the intestinal lining with beneficial foods and nutrients like amino acids, healthy fatty acids, zinc, pantothenic acid, and vitamin C, all from natural sources.

Don’t suffer with painful digestive turmoil like irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease.

Elena Klimenko, MD is New York City’s leading integrative medicine physician, providing treatment for dysbiosis and other serious gastrointestinal syndromes with an effective approach through functional medicine. Click here to fill out a new patient evaluation form and set up an appointment today!

 

Lifestyle Medicine From Elena Klimenko, MD: Food for Thought

Lifestyle Medicine From Elena Klimenko, MD: Food for Thought

In this day and age, there’s an abundance of medical terms, which embodies lifestyle medicine. Lifestyle medicine, within the scope of conventional medicine, is an alternative approach to lower the risk for a number of lifestyle-related chronic diseases or to serve as a supplement to the management plan, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Intervention is often prescribed in conjunction with pharmacotherapy: diabetic patients on medication to control the blood glucose levels or exercise intervention to assist in the long term management. The integration of lifestyle practices into medicine to lower the risk for chronic disease, serves as a supplement to therapy. A defined scientific approach to decreasing disease and illness utilizes lifestyle interventions such as nutrition, physical activity, stress reduction, smoking cessation, avoidance of alcohol abuse, and rest.

The study of how simple lifestyle measures, such as proper diet, exercise, and stress reduction, are thoughtfully and comprehensively integrated into conventional Western medicine practices, which includes promoting health through prevention and therapeutic strategies.These strategies include: diet (nutrition), exercise, stress management, smoking cessation, a variety of other non-drug approaches.

A rather excellent alternative use of lifestyle medicine is by coaching patients to improve personal lifestyle choices regarding weight, physical activity/exercise, nutrition, smoking, stress management, and depression management.

Complementary Therapy:

An example of a complementary therapy is using aromatherapy, a therapy in which the scent of essential flowers, herbs, and tree oils is inhaled to promote health and help lessen a patient’s discomfort following surgery.

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

Types of alternative medicine include:

  • Alternative medical systems (e.g., traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, ayurveda)
  • Mind/Body techniques (e.g., meditation, biofeedback, relaxation, hypnotherapy)
  • Biologically based therapies (e.g., herbal therapies)
  • Body based therapies (e.g., chiropractic, massage, reflexology), and
  • Energy therapies (e.g., reiki, therapeutic touch)

Mind Over Matter:

Mind body Medicine focuses on the interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior, and on the powerful ways in which emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and behavioral factors can directly affect health. It’s a fundamental approach that respects and enhances each person’s capacity for self-knowledge and self-care, and it emphasizes techniques that are grounded in this approach.