CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

The Dog that Ate the World

These and other fascinating stories enliven this week's discussion of law and alternative medicine / holistic health care.

Wow, the Massachusetts Medical Society has a podcast on integrative medicine:

Physician Focus, September 2009: Integrative Medicine

Integrative medicine is a new approach to care, combining conventional or evidence-based medical therapies with complementary or alternative treatments such as acupuncture, biofeedback, stress reduction, or herbal medicines. Such an approach is growing in a variety of health care settings.

How much do we know about such methods? Are they effective? What is the current thinking of medical doctors about integrative, complimentary and alternative medicine? And how and when should a patient decide on such treatments?

Host: Bruce Karlin, M.D.

Guest: Harvey Zarren, M.D., President, Integrative Medicine Alliance

Co-produced with Hopkinton Community Access Television, HCAM-TV, Hopkinton Mass.

Listen to the po

More integrative medicine in hospitals -

Integrative Medicine at Kellogg Cancer Care Center

Kellogg Cancer Care Center and Integrative MedicineNorthShore University HealthSystem is pleased to announce that The Evanston and Highland Park Hospital Kellogg Cancer Centers and The Integrative Medicine Program have collaborated to offer the following Integrative Medicine services to patients during their visit at Evanston and Highland Park Hospitals.

NEW at Highland Park Kellogg Cancer Center: 
Laughter Yoga
Guided Imagery 

Oriental Medicine & Acupuncture                                
Evanston - Wednesdays –  12:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Highland Park - Fridays – 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
45-50 minute consultation and treatment         $125
Follow up treatment                                         $75

Integrative Bodywork, including various forms of massage and stress reduction technique         

Evanston          -  Fridays – 10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Highland Park - Tuesdays – 10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

25 minute consultation and treatment              $ 55
55 minute consultation and treatment              $ 85


Who will benefit? 
Acupuncture and integrative bodywork fit safely and effectively with conventional cancer care in primarily reducing fatique, nausea, pain, weight loss and neuropathy.  These therapies may also help reduce stress and anxiety. Interested patients should check with their oncologist or nurse to discuss whether this is an appropriate treatment option while at Kellogg.

Where are the treatments performed?
Treatments are performed in a tranquil, private room at Kellogg on a massage table or in a chair, depending on what is most appropriate for the patient

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call the Integrative Medicine Patient Clinic at 847.657.3540847.657.3540.


"The acupuncture and bodywork therapies that I received through the NorthShore Integrative Medicine program provided my mind and body with some reprieve from the assault of chemotherapy.  It was a brief time to feel normal.  I encourage you to give it a try!”
~ Vickie Burke – Former Kellogg Cancer Patient


You may also schedule appointments at our Park Center Patient Desk for the following services by calling 847.657.3540847.657.3540.

• Integrative Medicine physician consultations
• Oriental Medicine and acupuncture
• Integrative counseling and stress relief strategies, including biofeedback
• Integrative Bodywork, including various forms of massage
• Nutrition counseling
• Herbal medicine counseling
• Therapeutic yoga and meditation

IM does not stand for instant message - it's integrative medicine!

Adjunct UH Manoa professor, Inouye aide elected to Institute of Medicine


The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has announced the selection of Patrick H. DeLeon, PhD, JD, MPH, to its active membership.

DeLeon, Chief of Staff in Washington, DC for U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, is a Clinical Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) and an affiliate faculty at the UH-Hilo School of Nursing. He also holds an adjunct professorship at UH Manoa’s School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, and is a national past president of the American Psychological Association.

The IOM, part of the National Academy of Sciences, is an independent, nonprofit organization that works outside of government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision-makers and the public. Election to the IOM is considered one of the highest honors in medicine. Worldwide, there are fewer than 2,000 members.

“The IOM is really an outside federal think tank, advising on important matters involving medicine from numerous perspectives”, said DeLeon, noting that members of the IOM include professionals from multiple disciplines, including law, education, and clinical practice.

“Dr. DeLeon has received more than 60 national awards for his own contributions to multiple disciplines, including the fields of psychology, nursing, medicine, social work and public health,” said Dr. Jerris Hedges, JABSOM Dean and a fellow member of the IOM. “He has been a tireless advocate for improving health care throughout the nation as well as in Hawaii.”

DeLeon has served Inouye for 36 years. He holds a master’s in public health degree from UH Manoa, and in 1978 was recognized as a distinguished alumnus of the school.

Big Pharma gets big criticism:

Pharmaceutical companies are the most profitable industry in the world. Marcia Angell, M.D., first woman editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, reports that in 2002 the $35.9 billion the top drug companies earned were greater than the profits of the other 490 Fortune 500 companies combined.

In the last few years as I drive around Modesto, I see new pharmacies everywhere. The Internet Yellow Pages show there are 31 Walgreens, CVS and Rite-Aid pharmacies in the Modesto, Oakdale, Turlock area. This doesn't count all the pharmacies within grocery stores or the few remaining locally-owned drug stores.


In 1997 the Food and Drug Administration reversed its policy on direct-to-consumer advertising. At that time, $220 million a year was spent by pharmaceutical companies on advertising. In 2002, the amount was

$2.8 billion. Big pharma spends twice as much on advertising as on research and development and it's working.

Perhaps we're buying so many more prescription drugs because we're being brainwashed to believe we need what they're selling. "TV advertising works by mobilizing the appeal of group morale. By showing you pictures of beautiful, happy people, they persuade you that everyone else in the world is having a terrific time, only you are left out. Want to stop being a lonely loser? Join them -- just tune into this, or buy that," says Bill Manville, former advertising copywriter for Grey Advertising and now a New York Daily News columnist.

Pharmaceutical ads subtly increase fear and worry about medical conditions. For example, statins were first prescribed only to those with heart problems. Now, they're routinely prescribed for anyone with high cholesterol. In the book "Spontaneous Evolution," the authors report that statins are a $20 billion-a-year market worldwide. But how effective are they? In The Lancet medical journal, a study shows "... 67 individuals would need to be treated for five years for one medical event to be prevented...(and) that there was no apparent benefit seen in woman of any age."


Dude, stressed out by holidays? Get some yoga therapy:

An 85 year-old yoga teacher and Vedanta scholar with a Doctorate in Complementary Medicine, Dr. Bali teaches and advocates yoga as a complementary form of therapy in treating psychosomatic disorders - physical illnesses caused or influenced by emotional factors.

"During the flight or flight (i.e. stress) response, our immune system goes down and doesn't protect the body," said Dr. Bali. "It is in deep sleep that we heal most, when the body shifts to an optimal level of efficiency without the everyday, rational mind interfering."

Through yoga, one can suspend the mental chatter and reprogram the immune system to restore that optimal threshold of healing capacity.

"The brain is like a computer system being short circuited by stress and the fact that it is overloaded by today's hectic life-style," said Dr. Bali.

"Through the yoga postures - we improve the system of communication and restore the brain-body connection for optimal healing."

The body is capable of producing its own endorphins, tranquilizers and anti-depressants that are more powerful and have no side effects. With this complete pharmacy within, we need only trust our bodies to deal with any demand, even the stress of in-laws visiting for an entire week!

The wear and tear of stress has detrimental effects in the short term of the holidays but also in the long run. Dr. Bali is 85 but "biologically feels like 56" and has not missed a yoga session in 40 years because of illness.

"The key is to teach your body to trigger the relaxation response," said Dr. Bali. "The body's natural inclination after a fight or flight reaction is to slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels."

Dr Bali teaches people how to manage stress consciously and set this relaxation response in motion so the body can heal itself.

Dr. Bali runs a yoga program for breast cancer patients through Sérénité, organized by the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation ( Yoga helps the women regain control of their bodies and better manage the stress generated from the disease and its treatments.

"I like how I feel after the workout - refreshed and strengthened physically and calmer in my spirit," said one participant. "I appreciate the fact that I can do the exercises at my own level, and that we have guidance for adaptations" to limitations of movement, especially after surgery.


Yoga Bliss Studio offers drop in courses Mondays at 7pm and Fridays at 9:30am and 7pm and free information sessions upon request. The Studio is located at 3545 Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges suite #090 in the Regency Medical Building in Montréal.

For further information: Dr. Madan Bali, PhD, Yoga researcher and instructor, (514) 932-7971(514) 932-7971 (main), (514) 808-YOGA (media requests),;

Gridlock discusses anintegrative approach to back pain:

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26 December 2009

Back Pain: An Integrative Approach

Back ache is one of the most garden reasons people seek medical treatment – past either reactionary or naturopathic medicine techniques. Each grieve administration advance offers divergent benefits, which is why Southwest Integrative Medicine offers elements of both. In fact, this team of Phoenix doctors addresses a wide range of physical ailments with treatments ranging from acupuncture to I.V. nutrient therapy. If you suffer from subvene pain, then you contain something in well-known with more than 80 percent of the population. That’s how many people will experience it at some as regards in their lives – on the whole lower back pain brought on by worry and strain. Moreover proper for something so common, remarkable remedies for back pain within conventional medicine alone are few and far between. One of the most common “solutions” is medication painkillers. Though efficacious when used in conjunction with other treatments, painkillers do little good on their own. After all, what’s the detail of treating the symptom if you not in a million years note down to the call? Physiotherapy is another garden-variety treatment for back pain – essentially prescribing personal to exercises intended to improve your mobility. However, studies now show that physiotherapy matchless is no more effective at alleviating back trial than regular vex. One proven way of getting to the well-spring of back grieve is from top to bottom acupuncture, an option nostrum technique involving the insertion of hair-underfed stainless bite the bullet needles into the outer layer. Originating in China thousands of years ago, acupuncture’s aim is to weigh the issue of zing, or “Qi,” in the body. This is done by strategically placing these needles at various points along the body’s particular strength channels, or meridians, where the Qi blockage is believed to be. Local acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of the needles at the put of pain. However, the sensation of pain in the back may actually control from somewhere else in the body, requiring distal acupuncture treatment – the insertion of needles on an area other than the point of spasm. So whether yours is back pain associated with a sprain or spirit, herniated disc, sciatica or any other condition, acupuncture may be able to help – on its own or when combined with conventional approaches in the same way as physiotherapy and prescription medications. Of course, impartial as with any other medical procedure, acupuncture should be preceded by a to the greatest medical history and true exam, including tongue, pulse and diagnostic techniques unique to this special holistic come near. Southwest Integrative Medicine typically performs these tests during the primary consultation. Guilelessly submit their online with get develop to schedule your before all visit today.

That bites! Check out the Wellness Blog's definitions of alternative medicine, CAM, and integrative medicine, holistic health, and the dog that ate the world:

Alternative Medicine, Complementary, Integrative, Wellness, Holistic – What Do They All Mean?

Image :

Alternative medicine has grown in so many ways in North America. More people are visiting alternative medical practitioners than Western medical doctors. People spend more money on alternative medicine than they do out-of-pocket on Western medicine.

Another way that alternative medicine has grown is in the different labels. We have so many!

What do they all mean?

All these terms refer to a wide variety of healthcare practices originating from various countries and cultures. They include acupuncture, yoga, herbs, vitamin therapy, nutrition, exercise, reiki, reflexology, polarity and many, many other therapies.

However, each label also has its own unique twist when referring to this set of practices.

Let me take the labels one-by-one and give you a short description. Please note that these are my descriptions for each term, and other people may not agree. But I think I’m using the most widely-used definitions here.

Alternative Medicine

The term alternative medicine is probably the oldest and most widely used term. Unfortunately, it is also the most misleading.

Alternative medicine means that these healthcare practices (acupuncture, yoga, etc.) are used instead of Western medicine. A patient swears off any type of pharmaceutical drug or surgical technique and uses only Chinese medicine or homeopathy or whatever.

This hardly ever happens. Few patients are so myopic to close themselves off from all Western medical treatments. It really isn’t advisable. I know many, many holistic practitioners and I’ve never heard any of them advise a patient to close themselves off from Western medicine. How silly! Western medicine has its own benefits to offer too, why ignore them.

But, that is the real definition of alternative medicine. You can see why it is being phased out slowly.

Complementary Medicine

A newer term is complementary medicine. This means that the practices I list above may be used as a complement to Western medicine. You go to your doctor, and he prescribes some drugs and/or surgery, then if that doesn’t work, he asks you to try some other complementary approaches. Or, it may also mean when the above practices are used side-by-side with Western medicine. An example of this is when acupuncture is used for chemotherapy cancer patients to relieve the nausea and pain. This would be considered complementary medicine.

Be careful of the spelling here too. Complementary means a side-by-side approach to medicine. Complimentary means that it is free, no charge.

Integrative Medicine

A term pioneered by Dr. Andrew Weil from the University of Arizona is integrative medicine.

This means that physicians (Western and otherwise) have an integrated system of medicine that involves certain pieces of Western medicine and certain parts from the Chinese, Indian, etc. therapies that I listed above. All the therapies intermix and you have the best possible “super therapy” as a result.

As much as I like and respect Dr. Weil, I have to say that my experience says that truly integrative medicine does not yet exist anywhere yet. I’ve never seen a physician or any kind of practitioner who has an integrated plan for his patients that includes little bits of Western medicine and bits from multiple holistic practices.

This is probably the “Holy Grail” of medicine, but I think it will be a long time coming. The clinics that proclaim themselves to be “integrative medicine” centers are usually just a collection of different practitioners who share the rent together in one building. True integration would be great, I just haven’t seen it happen.


If the previous terms have been misleading or overly optimistic, this term is really succinct and accurate. The term wellness applies to everything a person does to stay well. It is all about prevention and achieving the greatest health a person can achieve.

This is extremely accurate in describing the Chinese or Indian systems of medicine. And it is the best possible advice for patients, to get them on the track of staying well, rather than fixing illnesses.

But, as you might guess, this term has a problem too. (Don’t they all?) Wellness has been hijacked as a label for “early detection of disease.” Many hospitals have a “Wellness Center” where they conduct cancer screenings and do unnecessary MRI scans to look for problems or potential problems. These are great profit centers for the hospitals, but unfortunately they have ZERO to do with wellness.

Wellness is about eating right, getting enough sleep, exercising, taking the right herbs and having great relationships. It is NOT about early detection of disease. That doesn’t help you stay well, it just allows you to jump on an illness before it has the chance to become life-threatening. Valuable, sure, but it is not wellness.

Holistic Health

Finally, we come to the term holistic health. You could also call it holistic medicine or holistic practices. It is also sometimes spelled “wholistic.”

Holistic comes from “the whole.” It means to take a person as a whole being. The Chinese and Indian healing systems see a person, not just as a physical body, but as a body-mind-spirit. Their healing practices allow for all parts of the person and treat all parts equally. They have methodologies for solving problems in all three areas, and especially for finding problems that crisscross between body, mind and spirit (which most health problems do).

Holistic health is my favorite term. It too has problems, though. Sometimes, holistic health is perceived as a “New Age” term, evoking angels and witches and crystal balls. These off-beat practices can certainly be included as part of holistic health, but they are not at its center. Practices like naturopathy, homeopathy, Chinese medicine, Indian ayurveda are truly about holistic health.

But it will be hard to shake the New Age association for people who use the term holistic health.

There’s your whirlwind tour of definitions for alternative medicine. I hope this has been helpful. Use the definition that makes most sense to you. And be well!

Another hospital comes to the fore with integrative medicine:

Schmidt, 61, a former small-town head nurse, has made Woodwinds into one of the nation’s first hospitals to incorporate alternative or “integrative” medicine into every clinical department - not as primary methods of treatment but as techniques that complement primary treatments.

Each patient who enters through the doors of Woodwinds - a placid, wood-paneled, 86-bed facility that feels more like a corporate retreat than a care center - has access to healing touch, essential oils, acupuncture, calming music and other Far Eastern wellness techniques.

“Some of the different approaches to healing have not been available in the Western medicine array,” Schmidt says. “So what we did at Woodwinds was to make that platter, that tray of healing options, much larger.”

The therapies are not just reserved for patients. Staffers also have ready access to the full range of therapies in the hospital’s “natural care center.” After all, Schmidt points out, if a nurse is having a bad day, he or she is probably not going to be taking the best care of patients.

Here is how Woodwinds works: Say you are a patient scheduled for orthopedic surgery. Your admission is dealt with before you come in. When you arrive, you get wheeled directly to your room, past lines of fuzzy potted pine trees. You won’t be disturbed by noisy overhead pages - except for dire emergencies, they are not used. “It’s very peaceful most of the time,” Schmidt says.

Your information will be taken by a nurse with a laptop when you are comfortable in bed. Then, once you are prepped for surgery and just before you head to the operating room, you are administered “essential oils” - perhaps aromatic lavender - to calm you. Gentle music will play as the general anesthetic is applied and you quietly go under.

After surgery you will receive more essential oils and “healing touch” treatments from a nurse back in your room. You’re not even likely to get lonely, since there is no limit on visiting hours.

Woodwinds’ basket of “healing arts therapies” also includes acupressure and acupuncture, guided imagery, and energy-based therapies such as Reiki, a Japanese stress-reduction technique.

If it all sounds a bit New Age, it is.


To assess your healthcare legal and regulatory issues, contact the Michael H. Cohen Law Group.  Our healthcare and FDA legal team counsels health and wellness products and technologies, practices, and ventures, that accelerate health and healing.

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