Alternative therapies have emerged out of the public’s dissatisfaction with the limitations of conventional treatments.
The conventional medical system has boxed itself into only diagnosing and treating disease rather then focusing on prevention. Although attempts to correct public perception have been made with a push for early diagnosis of disease, conventional medicine is still unable to be of help to healthy people who are just looking for ways to stay healthy.
What conventional medicine considers prevention- PAP smears, mammographies, colonoscopies, cardiac stress tests-are actually methods of diagnosing diseases at early stages. Not one of these methods actually prevents diseases from occurring. Desperately aware of the need to prevent disease, the public has been searching for different avenues of true prevention. As our population lives longer and healthier lives, deferring the aging process has become a must for many people. In fact, a whole booming industry has developed in an attempt to satisfy this urgent need to stay young and healthy. Menopause and its attendant hormone imbalances have provided an enormous amount of fuel for the alternative health industry. Billions of dollars are spent every year by women in search of alternative help for symptoms of hormone imbalance, and millions of dollars are spent by the alternative industry in the development and promotion of alternative treatments.
While the alternative trend is booming, it behooves conventional doctors and patients to become vigilant, well informed and careful in making safe and effective choices in this new area. In the past many of my patients have come to me with questions on alternative therapies. As a conventional physician I had limited access to the alternative world, and I had to do my own research. In the end, I became somewhat of an expert, I’ve begun to use alterative therapies in my practice- with varying results. This chapter offers an overview of the alternative medicine world I’ve been sharing with my patients and have had some success with.
But before you try any of these remedies, I strongly suggest you to seek professional advise. Do not follow advice given by sales people in health food stores, or on-line advertising by marketers for the particular product they are selling. Do not fall prey to advertised specials for cure-all medications, you don’t know what is in them, you don’t know what their effects will be. Find a physician interested in alternative therapies, go to a health care provider with experience and get the most knowledgeable help available. Even if these products are available over-the-counter, they may not be as safe as you think they are. Remember, there is only one of you and every time you take a supplement or medication, you are affecting your body’s balance.