Hospital tai chi, and other integrative medicine developments

A hospital announces Tai Chi and Qigong classes and other complementary and alternative medicine news.

A hospital announces Tai Chi and Qigong classes:

Raritan Bay Medical Center's Department of Integrative Medicine will offer a weekly, five-part workshop series, "Wellness through Tai Chi and Qigong," 7-9 p.m., on five consecutive Mondays, July 28-Aug. 25, at the hospital's Perth Amboy campus, 530 New Brunswick Ave.

Individuals may register for any or all classes. Cost is $20 per person for one session, $35 for two, $45 for three, $50 for four, $55 for all five.

For more information and to register, call 732-442-3700, ext. 5861.

Qigong is the study and practice of cultivating internal vital energy to maintain health and wellness. Tai chi, often called "moving meditation," is the martial art form of qigong. The series is designed for newcomers and veterans.

The first class will teach standing meditation and a set of tai chi qigong exercises. The second will focus on mind-body fitness. The third will explore the principles in greater depth. The fourth will explore techniques to improve arthritis management, and the last will focus on exercises for the heart and lungs.

Larry Dossey, MD appears on Oprah's "Soul Series:"

Dr. Larry Dossey is an honored pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, having written 10 books on subjects ranging from the healing power of prayer to the merging of spirituality and medicine.

In 1967, Dr. Dossey graduated form Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and started his career as a battalion surgeon in the Vietnam War. Then, he practiced as a doctor of internal medicine and, in 1982, became the chief of staff of Medical City Dallas Hospital. While practicing in Dallas, Dr. Dossey came across patients who were miraculously cured of life-threatening illnesses without medical explanations. His interest in the spiritual beliefs and use of prayer by these patients became the inspiration for his first book, Space, Time and Medicine.

His New York Times best-seller Healing Words was published in 1993 and examined the role of religious practice and prayer in health--presenting evidence and published data to prove the healing power of prayer. Dr. Dossey's works were once thought of as radical in the traditional medical community, but now are used as textbooks in nearly 80 medical schools. Dr. Dossey's latest book is The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things. He lives in Santa Fe with his wife, Barbara, who is a nurse-consultant and the author of several award-winning books.

The Health & Lifestyle Blog (I'm seeing more and more of these wellness blogs) offers a post from someone who believes alternative therapies can help with frustration over conventional medical care:

From the desk of Dr Magne, author of Cancer Free for Life


People are living longer than ever before, largely due to drugs that help us fight disease (especially infections), and diagnostic techniques that allow us to take pictures of structures within the body.

However, these technological advances have come at a cost.

Technicians, not doctors, run diagnostic machines. A patient often feels like just another number, another gall bladder, another heart attack. Hospitals, and doctors, are overburdened: studies suggest that physicians have just 5 to 6 minutes to spend with each patient.

Germs have developed resistance to every known antibiotic. Medical insurance premiums are higher then ever, while insurers more than ever limit access to physicians we want to see.

Out of this frustration, a shift in health care has come, that evokes care that our grandmothers knew before the high tech world of "modern medicine."

Physicians who practice integrative medicine are going back to basics, and studying more "natural" healing methodologies. Research into alternative and complementary therapies regularly reveals breakthroughs, and a promise of better health through virtually non-toxic approaches. (For some examples, see http://www.cancer-free-for-life.com).

Patients have made integrative medicine, the fastest growing segment of the healthcare industry. Patients are getting the kind of help that they went to the doctor for. They get a physician that is willing to sit down and talk to them. They are getting someone who listens.

Integrative medicine includes acupuncture, homeopathy, Chinese medicine, neuro-linguistic programming, behavioral modification, and many more. The use of certain vitamins, minerals and herbs have been shown to benefit arthritis pain, diabetes, and some symptoms of asthma, and to help in the prevention of heart disease, osteoporosis, and some types of cancer.

Medicine will see integration of all the healing arts to best suit patients' needs. It is now documented and possible to heal cancer without the devastating effects of chemotherapy, in itself a cancer-provoking agent. I am able to document many more ways to treat cancer naturally in Cancer Free For Life, where I describe at length the processes available to you.

Dr Magne has been researching the origins and causes of disease and cancer for the past 25 years. Visit www.cancer-free-for-life.com to receive a FREE report on The 10 Ways to Cure Cancer Immediately. This article is available for reprint for your website and newsletter, provided that you maintain its copyright integrity and include the signature.

Another website offers mental health solutions:

A patient of psychological disorder would usually get his treatments through medication and services of a mental health institution or facilities. However, advocates of Complementary and Alternative Medicine believe that there are less intensive, more holistic approaches that could be rendered to these patients in conjunction to their medical treatments. While they do not have approved therapeutic claim and there are no conclusive proofs that these alternatives really work they have been practiced for years and have yielded significant positive results in their own fields. Here are the suggested alternative solutions to mental health care:

Slowing down

Daily stressors contribute to the development of several mental health disorders. In fact, stress itself is considered as a threat to mental health. It disrupts sleep, thinking and rest and it usually affects the way we function everyday. Thus it is suggested to adopt several methods that will help lessen and manage the negative stressors we are exposed to everyday.

Biofeedback - This method is normally used in treating mental health disorders such as phobias, panic and anxiety. This works by controlling the involuntary muscle functioning such as skin temperature and heart rate and by controlling muscle tension.

Massage therapy - This method advances the belief the tapping, rubbing, and brushing the skin and muscle groups could relieve pent up emotions and internal tension. People suffering from severe cases of stress and post-traumatic disorders are usually advised to take get massage therapy regularly.

Visualization - Another method to lessen tension and stress is to redirect the perception and the individual techniques on visualization. This works by entering into a deep state of relaxation where the person could create relaxing and "friendly" images that will contribute to his well-being and lessen the occurrence of unwanted thoughts that are detrimental to one's mental health.

Traditional alternative approaches

Ayurdeva - Imported from Indian Traditional Medicine, Ayurdeva is a holistic approach to caring your mental health. This seeks balance on the body energies rather than on the symptoms that affect the body. This system of traditional treatments includes yoga, a widely practiced alternative solution in the Western world these days. Yoga makes use of postures, exercises, stretches and meditation to achieve the balance of body energies.

Native American approaches - Cleansing rituals and chants are part of the Indian Health Services Programs that are focused on treating people suffering from depression, stress-related disorders and anxiety disorders.

Acupuncture - Used in treating many other ailments in the body, acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical approach that could also be used as treatment to mental disorders. This makes use of needles with various sizes that are inserted to different pressure points in the body to be able to control its flow of energy.

Diet and Nutrition

According to studies, diet and nutrition affects the manner by which our brains work. If it is deprived with certain nutrients, the brain may fail to function the way it should be.

Vitamin and nutrient intake - According to some studies, there are specific vitamins that our brain needs in order to produce other chemicals that are crucial in maintaining our moods. Also, some vitamins are important in preventing the development of neurological and degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. Thus, proper intake of these vitamins and minerals plus supplementation of essential nutrients are highly recommended to maintain mental health.

Mental health care does not only need to include medical treatments, support of other approaches is also needed to maximize the possibility of patient recovery.

There is much more detailed, evidence-based discussion of CAM and mental health care in the Textbook of Integrative Medicine, edited by friend and colleague James Lake, MD.

The first blog I have seen by someone styling themselves an integrative medicine practitioner, in Try Visiting an Integrative Care Practitioner, offers:

Through Integrative Medicine, it is now possible that a wider array of diagnostics and therapeutics is available to doctor and patient. There is now an extension of what we all know as mainstream and conventional medicine. This practice is becoming more fulfilling to the doctors who have discovered this new wisdom. And I am sure , for those who have boldly considered this approach , or for some who have discovered it out of desperation because none of the usual medications and consultation is working --the experience of therapy and healing with integrative medicine is like finding a long lost friend. Patients express that this is how they would have wanted to be treated in the first place. And doctors too, share this same sentiment.

When you happen to feel something unusual or bothersome in your body, a pain, difficulty of sleeping, a recurring problem that cant seem to get well -- try visiting an integrative primary doctor. In medicine, it is the first doctor consulted that is crucial. And I would think with the many new developments in medicine today, it would be good to consult first an integrative primary doctor who has a wider perspective of disease and healing and an extended view of the person with the symptom or illness.

To experience, is to believe.

And the Malaysian Star reports on integrative medicine:

...this spa is in fact Putrajaya Hospital's traditional and complementary medicine (TCM) unit.

The hospital is one of three in a Health Ministry pilot project to support evidence-based TCM....

Currently, there are acupuncture and traditional Malay massage services at the facility. Plans are in the pipeline to start Chinese herbal treatment for cancer and an ayurvedic facility.

Dr Mohd Norzi sees such units as the way forward where TCM would eventually be an accepted medical discipline, just like surgery and obstetrics and gynaecology.

He said those who are encouraged to undergo the TCM procedures include post-stroke patients and those who suffer from migraines and backaches.

There are three masseurs: two men and a woman, and an acupuncturist, who are employed on a contract basis....

TCM practitioners view patients as a whole, with minds and spirits as well as bodies, and involve their patients in maintaining their own health by focusing on lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, quality of rest and sleep and nature of relationships, he said.

Another benefit was promoting individual responsibility and empowerment, he said.

Traditional medicine has been acknowledged by the World Health Organization and its definition on its website www.who.int is as follows: "The sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness."

The organisation's objectives for activities in this area includes facilitating the integration of traditional medicine in a national healthcare system where it will assist a country to formulate their own national policies for it.

The article also reports on efforts to incorporate CAM into the Malaysian legal and regulatory system more clearly:

r Ismail reiterates that for TCM to be accepted in Malaysia, there must be enough information on the subject on its potential clinical benefits, safety and risks.

He said there must be enough scientific evidence to convince those who are still sceptical about the field and appropriate legislation and enforcement to curb and control against illegal practices or misleading labelling or claims.

The upcoming TCM Bill will seek to address these issues, he added.

Among the steps taken by the ministry to promote this field of medicine in the country include setting up the national standing committee for TCM, having a National TCM Council to act as an advisory body to advise the committee and the National TCM Health Policy to form the basis for possible integration into the national healthcare system.

There are also plans to establish a TCM registry for practitioners before it can integrated into the healthcare system, besides a mechanism for complaints that will be made available to the public. Disciplinary action can be taken against members who breach the code of conduct and ethics.

He said while TCM bodies will be allowed to self-regulate based on certain criteria, they would eventually be required to adhere to statutory regulations.

CAM regulation is increasing across the globe, from my perspective, often addressing similar issues such as licensure and credentialing standards, malpractice, and professional discipline, and focusing on herbal medicine as well as regulation of claims.