Sitnews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Compliments to Your Health #9

Using Alternative Medicine In A Complimentary Fashion
by Joann Flora,
Acupressure, Nutrition Counseling, Qigong


February 04, 2003
Tuesday - 9:15 pm

For many years, any and all health care delivery systems that were not strict western medicine were deemed "alternative", meaning, an alternate to standardized western care. Some of these options made use of very old methodologies (herbology) or ancient techniques (Traditional Chinese Medicine). Some were so new that their value had not yet been determined by mainstream medicine (chiropractic). The "alternative" label suggested concepts such as 'untrue, unproven, unfounded, old-wives's tale, folk remedy', and other perceptions that kept these systems on the perimeter of health care and out of insurance coverage.

Photo ©Tarek Wetzel

View from the top of Mahoney taken on January 20, 2003.
Photo by Tarek Wetzel ©2003

As western medicine moved toward technically more invasive procedures and drugs of greater toxicity, the general public began to take notice. They wanted more decision making ability in their own care. They also began to seek out health care that was more "patient friendly". There was an increase in the number of health care providers offering gentler, more natural healing methods. Massage, naturopathy, homeopathy, Chinese medicine, herbology, nutrition, and other fields of health service began to grow with the demand and desire of the public. These days, we have many options for choice of health care, much to say about how it is conducted, what services we receive, and which services we will refuse. So now that we have all this, what do we do with it?

First, it is important to understand what kind of care we need. Our choices for dealing with trauma, chronic conditions, or minor impairments will and should be different. Be wary of any system that says it is the only one you will ever need, that it can fix everything.

Second, we should be clear as to which delivery systems offer the best options for our care. Infectious diseases are best treated with drug therapy not aromatherapy. Broken bones require setting not herbs. A headache can be treated nicely with acupressure and save the stomach from aspirin damage.

Third, now that we know the kind of care we need and which options are available to us, we can arrive at a strategy.

Combining delivery systems in a complimentary fashion is the direction that health care is headed. Here are some examples of how this occurs:

MS -Complains of pulsing noise/sensation in his head. It keeps him up at night and is present constantly. He is examined by an MD, and has tests that include neurological and MRI studies. A constricted blood vessel is the diagnosis. It is determined that the condition is more annoyance than danger; there is no treatment or cure. The patient begins acupressure sessions that reduce his anxiety concerning the condition, and aids the circulation to lessen the pulsing. He rests and feels better.

BK - An elderly woman with congestive heart failure (CHF). She is hospitalized, stabilized, and treated for CHF. While she is still in the hospital, she requests and receives acupressure to balance the energy of her heart and kidneys (responsible for fluid retention). When stable, she returns home and continues acupressure sessions for maintenance.

ED - An asthmatic woman on inhalant steroids and bronchodilators. Exertion brings on asthmatic episodes. She learns Chi-Lel (medical qigong, similar to Tai Chi) which she uses to dispel the asthma quickly, without medication. She continues to use medication for big asthmatic events.

WS - Arthritic man with long term use of medication. He completes a detoxification program, makes dietary changes to eliminate substances that aggravate an arthritic condition, and supplements with liquid calcium that contains all the bone forming minerals, glucosamine and chondroitin, and MSM. He functions well, no longer takes pain medications or requires anti-inflammatory medications.

JL - Liver cancer, chemotherapy and radiation have taken their tole on her. She began a program of macrobiotic foods and medical qigong to support the invasive therapies and their effects on her health. In the past 12 months, her tumor marker count has dropped from the thousands to a mere 300. She feels wonderful and is active enough to travel.

SP - Rheumatoid arthritis has made hip replacement a necessity. Following the surgery, she supports her healing with diet, supplementation, and acupressure. Her recovery time is accelerated and her capacity for function is high.

TW - Low immune performance has kept this client on flu shots for several years, and still she became sick when the 'bugs' came to town. This year, she chose to support her health with Transfer Factor therapy, a supplemental delivery of concentrated immune supporting factors. She has forgone the flu shots and is staying well through the winter.

There is more to tell, but these examples demonstrate the process of knowing what is needed, what options are available, and making choices that are complimentary to the health and healing process. In difficult situations, utilizing systems in a complimentary fashion allows us to handle very difficult situations in a more comfortable, less taxing manner. And, many of the complimentary systems make excellent preventive or maintenance programs. Instead of waiting to become broken before we can be fixed, we can not get broken and stay well.

Last, it is important to let the insurance industry know how we benefit from these complimentary systems. The public must insist that valuable choices for health care be added to policies. Insurance companies are slow to move, but are beginning to recognize that preventive care saves them money in hospitalizations and surgeries. If you use complimentary care, be vocal about it. Tell your doctor what you do and how it helps. You can also write your insurance company; explain your experience and ask them to consider covering additional services. And, tell your legislator. Title 21 of the Alaska Insurance statutes mandates the kind of coverage that insurance companies offer. Changes to Title 21 will come through the legislature. If complimentary care is working for you and saving you from surgery or reducing your need for prescription medication, tell them. All of them: doctor, insurance company, and legislator. It's your health, after all.



E-Mail Joann Flora
 E-mail Joann Flora


©Compliments To Your Health
Joann Flora 2003


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