Alternative and complementary treatments may be very new to you. Or, maybe you were raised in a culture where treatments such as herbal medicines and acupuncture are common practice.
Some of these approaches to treatments for Parkinson's Disease have actually been around for thousands of years.
However, traditional 'Western' medical practitioners have been slow in accepting alternative therapies, mostly because there has been little research to prove their effectiveness.
But, that is all changing. Many medical schools have added Alternative / Complementary medicine to their curricula. Mostly because people are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with traditional medicine's effectiveness.
The 'War' Between Health and Medicine
"There's a war going on in North America between the forces of 'Health' and 'Medicine.' 'Health' is winning, not because it has more money and power, but because the people of North America, and the world, have found out that there is a definite difference between the two -- and that it is better to be healthy than medicated. In fact, it is becoming clear that the two are opposites."
Source: Tim Bolen, consumer advocate
And, among those dissatisfied with traditional medicine's effectiveness are many people with Parkinson's.
Side-effects, and symptoms that aren't relieved, using traditional and conventional treatments is the reason many PD sufferers have turned to alternative and complementary treatments. As a matter of fact, yoga and Tai Chi have become well-established companions to traditional treatments.
Some Parkinson's treatment centers are now even offering acupuncture, therapeutic massage, herbal therapies, and dietary supplements.
Would some of these alternative and complementary treatments work for you? Possibly. Many PD patients report that they work for them.
"So, what are these treatments?" you ask. Well, let's explore some of the more popular ones. Starting with Yoga and Tai Chi...
YOGA and TAI CHI
As someone with PD, exercise is very important for you. You are, or will be, needing to improve your strength, balance and flexibility. And, besides the traditional walking and weight-lifting, yoga and tai chi are excellent for these.
There are different aspects to yoga. Practicing the full spectrum integrates your mind, body and spirit. The idea is to execute a series of poses, while breathing in a deliberate manner. Practiced properly, Yoga is a moving meditation.
Tai Chi is also a moving meditation. You perform a range of gentle physical movements and breathing techniques, with mental and spiritual intent. This allows you to experience a meditative state.
Both of these ancient practices can calm you and rejuvenate you at the same time, while also assisting your body and mind to maintain balance. They will both exercise your body, mind and spirit, as well as your internal organs, and can improve digestion and arthritis pain.
Ayurveda is one of the oldest medical systems and has been practiced in India for thousands of years. Yoga comes from Ayurvedic medicine, but is only a small aspect of it.
The first thing an Ayurvedic practitioner will do is determine your metabolic type. Then, environmental factors will be looked at, such as the season and time of day.
Certain of your pulse points and their relationship to your internal organs are assessed in order to diagnose you.
Your treatment will begin with detoxification using various cleansing therapies. And next comes the yoga and meditation for restoring balance in your system. Then finally, a process of tonification, which is the use of tonics and foods to treat a deficiency or deficiencies, and accompanying symptoms.
Many centuries ago, Ayurvedic practitioners used a tonic for the treatment of a condition that was most likely Parkinson's, as it was described back then. This tonic was derived from a legume that has been found to contain levodopa! Which, as you now know, is the substance used to treat PD today. Interesting alternative, isn't it?
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM)
In Chinese or Oriental medicine, as in Ayurveda, the focus is on maintaining health as opposed to just reacting to disease.
There are many variants of TCM practices, but the main focus is on maintaining balance between opposites within your body, as well as the world around you. These opposites are called the yin and the yang.
Quoted in 'Alternative Medicine; The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition', Roger Jahnke, O.M.D., Chairperson of the National Qigong Association, said, "yin refers to the organ, while yang refers to its activity."
According to TCM, it is the disturbance in this balance that results in disease. Another very important concept in TCM is Qi - pronounced 'chee'. Qi refers to the life force and energy in your body. Qi flows in 'meridians' over the surface of your body, and through your organs.
In TCM it is believed the liver is responsible for your coordination and smooth movement. And, Parkinson's Disease is thought to represent a defect in your liver (yin) and the invasion of a disturbance called 'Wind' (yang), which causes tremors.
Imbalances such as this are approached with treatment like acupuncture and tai chi.
Over 2,500 years ago in China, acupuncture was developed as a technique to restore the balance of yin and yang.
An acupuncture treatment involves inserting hair-thin needles into certain points on your body called 'acupoints'. The acupoints are situated along those energy meridians we mentioned above.
The purpose of this treatment is to restore the flow of Qi to organ system associated with that acupoint.
There are many good licensed acupuncturists available, and some people with PD report temporary relief from tremors and stiffness.
Herbal medicine exists in many forms in many different cultures. In TCM, herbs are chosen by a trained practitioner as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. The practitioner would prescribe them in different combinations depending on their properties as related to the specific organ system being treated.
It is pretty common for people to pick up herbal remedies at their local health food store, but this can be expensive and dangerous. Many herbs and herbal formulations have pharmacological properties. They can be harmful, either taken on their own, or in combination with other medications.
You are advised to work with a competent specialist, who will supervise your use of any herbal treatments. And, your regular doctor ought to be informed of herbal treatments you may be adding to anything s/he has prescribed for you.
As you are beginning to see, there are many options to consider, when choosing your treatment plan. You aren't limited to conventional medicine’s drugs and surgeries - you also have an abundance of Alternative and Complementary Treatments. And, we are about to cover more of them for you on the following pages.
But, before we move on, we would like to make special mention of a particular treatment that is safe, natural and effective in treating Parkinson’s Disease.
Some might consider this treatment an alternative and/or a complementary one, and yet others might say it is now mainstream, because it is listed in the Physicians Desk Reference and the Pharmacists, and is even covered by some HMOs (Health Management Organizations) in the US.
The treatment, to which we’re referring here, is the un-denatured whey protein we talk about in other sections on this website. No matter what other alternatives you consider for your treatment plan, you will not want to overlook this particular whey protein.
There are just too many amazing case studies, and too much indisputable proof to discard it as a viable treatment for your condition. The science behind it is conclusive. There is a very good chance you will find it helps make any other treatment work better, and may possibly even replace the others.
So, do yourself a huge favor and research the un-denatured whey protein, starting with the information on this site.
Contact Us with any questions you have, or to receive the information on where to purchase this product. Make an informed decision and get on your 'Whey to Wellness.'
Okay, now let’s move on to our next two sections covering more of the Alternative and Complementary Treatments….
First, we'll take a look at a number of the various types of massage therapy and other types of bodywork techniques. Then, we'll cover some very interesting information on Energy Healing Therapies.
Alternative Treatments - Massage Therapy
Alternative Treatments - Energy Healing Therapies
Traditional and Conventional Treatments
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