Today's complementary and alternative medicine trends

Bloggers discuss research on acupuncture and chiropractic, Tai Chi for health, and CAM and MS.

A blog simply called Science writes about benefits of acupuncture and chiropractic:

Rapid Rise in "Complementary" Medical Services

A recent cover story in The New York Times Magazine highlighted how chronic pain tends to be under treated because doctors worry about over prescribing medications, and being liable for malpractice or even criminal penalties. Many doctors fear entering the field of pain management at all. Many patients are also concerned about becoming dependant on medication or about the invasiveness and dangers of surgery and anesthesia. CAM therapies, which are able to treat pain and help manage diseases without medication or surgery, are rapidly growing services as people search out better, safer approaches.

So how effective are Complementary and Alternative Medicine therapies?

One recent study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics tracked data from a unique organization, the Independent Physicians Association (IPA) where chiropractors serve as first-contact, primary care physicians.

This study found patients treated by these practitioners reported lower costs and higher satisfaction rates than those treated by conventional medical doctors. One of the co-authors of the study James Winterstein DC, said that they found that, "patients visiting CAM-orientated professional upholstery cleaning care physicians (PCP) - primarily chiropractors - experienced fewer hospitalizations, underwent fewer surgeries and used considerably fewer pharmaceuticals than HMO patients who received traditional medical care."

A large national survey of all studies on treatments for back pain, the most common cause of disability in working Americans, lead by William Meeker, DC, PhD, and Marc Micozzi, MD, PhD, found that chiropractic upholstery cleaning sacramento more effective at reducing pain and restoring function, and was less costly and dangerous than medical and surgical management.

Another study, in the Journal of Rehabilitation, Research & Development examined the effectiveness of a wide range of complementary and alternative medicines in the treatment of chronic pain. This encompassing study examined clinical trials and previous studies done on the therapies.

Acupuncture is an effective treatment for chemotherapy related pain, dental pain, low back pain, and probably premenstrual syndrome pain. They found massage therapy effective for lower back pain and shoulder pain, but found less evidence for its treating fibromyalgia, neck pain, headache, and carpel tunnel syndrome. Yoga in turn has been found to upholstery and cleaning effective for carpal tunnel syndrome and many forms of arthritis. For some therapies like reiki, homeopathy, and therapeutic touch ("laying on hands"), there are few clinical trials done, making it difficult to prove effectiveness.

Routledge has a publication out called Researching Complementary Medicine, which involves this:

Researching Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) have become big business both in Australia

Nevertheless, CAM research is in its infancy and there is a real and urgent need for further capacity building in this area of study. CAM remains heavily under-researched and the growing number of private and University CAM courses and qualifications acknowledge and address this need for further research capacity building. With this context in mind, this book constitutes a valuable and timely resource for those looking to understand, initiate and expand CAM research.

The collection brings together leading international CAM researchers (UK, Germany, Canada, New Zealandsciencepharmacology and other western countries. Alongside the growing consumption and provision of CAM has emerged a small but significant body of research literature exploring these medicines. , health services research and public health. Contributors draw upon their own CAM research work and experience to explain and review core methods and research issues pertinent to the contemporary field of CAM and its future development. The book addresses such questions as: what is the use and limitation of evidence in CAM research? What are the issues facing practitioners (GPs, therapists, nurses, etc) who wish to conduct research? How and why should qualitative methods be combined alongside quantitative methods to help explore CAM? How does the randomized control trial (RCT) method relate to CAM? What types of research questions relating to CAM can be addressed by various methods? What should be the future direction of CAM research in terms of public health and policy-related agendas?, statistics, qualitative methodology, general practice, clinical trials methodology, clinical and Australia) with backgrounds and expertise in health....

Buy.com advertises Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Multiple Sclerosis:

This source for accurate and unbiased information on complementary and alternative medicine approached for MS symptoms has been completely updated to reflect advances in the field since 2001.

Someone writes about Tai Chi for Health and Balance:

Tai Chi was originally a deadly art, guarded by a few families and used for killing. Traditionalists believe that it is important for students of this ancient art to remember its roots, because the techniques of relaxation and breath control were developed for the express purpose of injuring the opponent in an efficient, scientific manner.

Today, of course, we no longer need to practice this martial art for the purpose of killing our enemy. However, some say that now we can use this practice to fight the enemy of fatigue, stress, overwork or lack of understanding of oneself and one's body. Daily practice of Tai Chi promotes mental clarity and a healthy body, assists with balance and helps the circulation of the blood.

Someone doing Tai Chi (pronounced "tie chee") will move slowly and gently, while breathing and meditating. This is why it is sometimes called moving meditation . Many practitioners believe that Tai Chi helps the flow throughout the body of a proposed vital energy called qi (pronounced chee, it means air, puff, or power ). In the United States, Tai Chi for health purposes is part of complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM. People who practice Tai Chi do so to improve their health, yet it is not fully known what changes occur in the body during Tai Chi, and whether it does, in fact, influence health.

Over the years, several styles and variations have been developed. Taoist Tai Chi was introduced to the US by Master Moy Lin-shin, which emphasizes more elongating and stretching movements. Tai Chi Chuan is descended from the Lang family, but has several family variations. Someone doing Tai Chi for health moves in a slow and relaxed and graceful way, either on one's own or in a group. These movements make up forms (or routines). Some movements are named for animals or birds. The simplest style of Tai Chi uses 13 movements, while more complex styles can use dozens - Taoist Tai Chi has 108 basic moves. Each of these movements flows into the next. The whole body is in motion, with movements performed gently and at the same speed. It is important to keep the body upright.

Like other CAM approaches, there are aspects of Tai Chi which everyone does not agree. Since there is little known scientifically about it, accepting its teachings is a matter of faith rather than evidence-based science. Also, in addition to more traditional styles, some blends of Tai Chi styles have evolved, such as those mentioned above. This creates a differing of opinion of which styles represent "true" Tai Chi.....

Health benefits of Tai Chi:

People practice Tai Chi for several health reasons, such as:

• To gain benefits from exercise. It is a low-impact form of exercise. It's also weight-bearing, which is beneficial to the bones. Additionally, it is an aerobic form of exercise.

• To improve muscle strength, coordination, and flexibility.

• To improve balance. To have a lower risk for falls, beneficial for the elderly.

• To easy arthritis pain and stiffness.

• For health benefits from the meditation.

• To improve sleep and overall wellness.

Although Tai Chi for health is considered a safe practice, it is always recommended to check with your healthcare provider before beginning any type of exercise.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

• If your body is improperly positioned while doing Tai Chi, you could not only end up with sore muscles, but even sprains.

• Instructors recommend not practicing Tai Chi after eating, when tired, or when you are ill.

• Caution should be used if you have any of these conditions: Pregnancy, hernia, joint problems, back pain, sprains, fractures or osteoporosis.

In the US, people do not have to be health professionals or licensed to practice or teach Tai Chi. It is not regulated by state or Federal governments and there is no standard training for Tai Chi teachers. If you are considering learning Tai Chi, ask about your teacher's training and experience. Learning Tai Chi from a teacher is encouraged over learning from videos or books. This will help you to know if you are practicing the movements safely and correctly.

The idea that sickness and disease arise out of imbalances in a vital energy field is part of some other CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) therapies, such as Reiki and homeopathy. Within CAM, Tai Chi is a type of mind-body medicine. Mind-body medicine focuses on the interactions among the brain, body, mind and behavior, and the ways in which emotional, mental, social, spiritual and behavioral factors affect health.

That's today's CAM round-up.