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What is Alternative Medicine and how is it different from “regular” medicine?

April 9th, 2020

What is Alternative Medicine and how is it different from “regular” medicine?

Regular medicine or Allopathic medicine sometimes referred to as Westernized medicine; Started in 1810 and given the term by Samuel Hanhneman (the inventor of Homeopathy). It was founded on the philosophical beliefs of Rene’ Descartes (1596-1650) who believed the mind and body to be separate, and on the principles of Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) who’s principles of physics, view the universe as a large mechanical clock where everything operates in a sequential form. This mechanical view of the human body as a series of body parts has taken that approach a step further: People are reduced to patients, patients are reduced to bodies, and bodies are reduced to dollars. Using a reductionist approach where the person is reduced to smaller components- systems, organs, cells, and biochemicals.

The priorities and interventions of conventional medicine are to suppress and manage symptoms of ill health. This behavior can be seen 1st hand in the very definition of the terms “an” or “anti” – anti-inflammatories, analgesics, and anesthetics (just to name a few). This approach is aggressive and fast and encompasses a “better to do something about the problem through drugs and surgery, rather than wait to see how the body’s natural response will handle it type of attitude”. This is perhaps due to being preoccupied with parts and symptoms and not the person, as a whole.

Alternative therapies are based on the belief that people are more than just physical bodies with fixable and replaceable parts. Mental, spiritual and emotional components play an equally great role in how the body heals itself. It is believed that mind, body, and spirit are all joined together in one unified field, where ill-health is considered to be triggered by both mind and body. Alternative Medicine believes that the body is a living microorganism or universe and disease results when life force energy becomes unbalanced. The role of Alternative medicine is to restore balance and harmony, the focus is on whole energy with treatments that support self-healing. Primary interventions include diet, exercise, herbs, stress management, and emotional support. Truly, a system of Healthcare.

Conventional medicine believes that the body is a machine and disease results when “parts break”. The role of Conventional medicine is to combat disease, focusing on parts/matter. Treatments include an attempt to “fix broken parts”. Primary interventions include drugs and surgery. A system of sick care.

How long has Alternative Medicine Been around?

Alternative Medicine is an umbrella term for hundreds of therapies from all over the world. Therapies such as Aromatherapy, Detoxification Therapy, Energy Medicine, Herbal Medicine, Homeopathy, Mind/Body Medicine, Nutritional Medicine, Sound Therapy, Yoga and many more. Originating from different Egyptian, Native American, Chinese, Indian, & Greek cultures. The therapies from these different cultures have been documented in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine as early as 5,000 B.C.E. The works of ancient Egyptian medicine is some of the oldest documented with dates as far back as 2900 BC in the London Medical Papyrus and the Edwin Smith Papyrus dating as far back to 1600 BCE.

In the mid-19th century two opposing theories on the cause of disease- one believing that germs caused illness while the other believed that, one only became ill if the conditions inside of the body were right for it. The germ theory of disease that was advocated by Louise Pasteur (1822-1895) became prevalent. This started what is known today as “modern medicine” with a focus on the cause of infectious disease rather than the creation and maintenance of physiological harmony and balance.

What are the benefits?

Conventional medicine has been proven beneficial for some in states of emergency operations and surgical procedures. There have been numerous advances made with repairing broken bones, neurological systems and reversing acute health problems. Childbirth used to be the number one killer among women and children related deaths which is now a thing of the past and controlling infection and disease transmission have shown remarkable results. Managing the chronic health issues is what seems to be a bigger challenge and the reason that more Americans, a staggering 62% of adults are seeking out Holistic Practitioners and using some form of alternative therapies.

There is an increasingly overwhelming number of people who suffer from chronic health issues dealing with, Cancer, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Heart disease, Depression, & Anxiety; it is with these types of issues that Alternative Medicine is proven to be more effective. Teaching patients to take responsibility for their health cost-effectively, treating acute and chronic illnesses and restoring homeostasis to the body are just a few of the Holistic Healing Principles that differ from Allopathic medicine and are essential to creating optimal health.

Choosing a Holistic Practitioner:

Start by doing your research and make sure that the practitioner you choose is experienced in Alternative therapy you are seeking.

Be aware of scams and remedies that claim to fix your health issues in a rather quick manner; Restoring homeostasis to the body takes time.

Use a referral system when choosing a practitioner; it is best to use someone your family or friends have dealt with and can vouch for the validity of the practitioner.

Schedule an appointment and take notice to see if your healthcare goals are in line with that of the practitioners.

Try using multiple therapies and practitioners for a common goal; Ex- Acupuncture and meditation for stress therapy or Nutritional therapy and exercise to lose weight.

And finally, have an open mind. Be open to new therapies recommended that could potentially help you in reaching all your healthcare needs.

Resources: (Alternative Medicine the Definitive Guide) (Absolute Beginners Guide to Alternative Medicine)

Stephanie N. Poliard

Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner (BCHHP)

What Exactly is Cancer Anyway?

April, 11th 2020

What Exactly is Cancer Anyway?

Cancer is a mutation of the cells that are usually the result of free radicals encountering DNA molecules. The free radicals invade, destroy or alter body structures, including DNA. Once the mutation occurs it causes the cells to divide at an uncontrollable rate forming clumps of cells known as tumors. There are two types of tumors: Benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous). The malignant, mutated cell divides and spreads to vital organs and tissues, thus effecting and causing more damage to healthy bodily structures.

Free radicals can come from a few different sources such as environment, genetics, smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, hormonal factors, psychological factors and certain medical treatments. Because of this, free radicals can affect anyone at any time. It is important to keep in mind that certain risk factors may increase your chances of developing cancer. Smoking is responsible for 90% of all lung cancer related diagnosis. Race plays a huge role in the type of cancer a person is susceptible to, for example; Black men have a 50% higher rate of developing prostate cancer, whereas white women who develop breast cancer, have a 114 out of 100,000 chance higher than any other ethnic group.

Environmental factors like pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, asbestos, solvents and possibly exposure to electrical power lines are a direct link to certain types of cancer as well. Individuals who hold occupations that work directly with these factors are at a greater risk to developing cancer. A report by RAND Corporation researchers found that obesity is just as much a risk as smoking.

The Truth About Obesity...

Obesity disrupts the body’s chances of regulating metabolism and balancing hormones. Women who are obese have a 50% greater risk of breast cancer and men who are obese have a 40% greater risk for colon cancer.  Maintaining a healthy weight will help to reduce your risk.  Consider a lifestyle change; practice healthy eating habits like portion control and reduce your calorie intake.  Start a workout regimen that includes walking for 30 minutes, five days a week and drink plenty of water to flush out toxins, waste and water weight.

There are other ways to minimize the risk factors which should be implemented by those who are at high risk for getting cancer. Taking preventative measures to reduce your chances include regular exercise, healthy eating, staying away from highly processed foods, limited exposure to environmental free radicals, limited exposure to microwaves, cell phones, and radiation exposure, taking a powdered clay or liquid clay supplement; which can help to remove radiation and environmental toxins from the body.   Avoiding tobacco, and having regular exams for early detection of cancer.  Put into practice what you have learned in this text if you are at high risk for developing cancer and help prevent this disease from occurring in you.

Stephanie N. Poliard

Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner (BCHHP)

Vision Disorders

April, 11th 2020

Vision Disorders

Vision Disorders can be summed up into two simple words “poor eyesight”. Poor eyesight is usually the result of a refractive error (deflection of a light ray from a straight path as it moves through the eye). When such an error occurs in the eye, left untreated, this can then turn into Nearsightedness, Farsightedness, or Astigmatism. Poor eyesight can disrupt the eye/brain communication and impair human perception. Information processed by the eyes are sent to the brain which communicates our responses for biological rhythms, thinking, and coordination of movement.

According to Dr. Swartwout, O.D, of Hilo Hawaii when eye/brain communication is lost blurred vision, altered depth perception, loss of central or peripheral vision, double vision, sensitivity to light, and changes in color perception, occur. Serious eye disorders like Glaucoma are a group of several diseases characterized by loss of peripheral vision, accompanied by an increase in fluid pressure in the eye. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in older adults with 2 million cases in the U.S.

 Macular Degeneration is a condition where the central area of the retina deteriorates resulting in loss of vision. It is the leading cause of severe vision loss in both the U.S and Europe for those 55 years of age and older and is the third leading cause of impaired vision of those 65 and older.

What are the risk factors?

Nutritional deficiencies have been shown to be a risk factor in the loss of vision as well as age. Cataracts, Glaucoma, and Macular Degeneration have been linked to poor eating habits and a loss of certain vitamins and minerals. Specific foods that contribute to poor eye health are sugar, eggs, dairy, fried and processed foods. Other risk factors include; pharmaceutical drugs- According to L. Levine, Ph.D., certain drugs can impair eye health, the *Physicians’ Desk Reference lists 94 medications that contribute to: increased pressure in the eyes, blurred vision, severe loss of vision, corneal inflammation, reduction of the ability to see red and distort central vision, paralyze the eye muscles, cataracts, glaucoma and more.

Mental/Emotional factors can also play a role in decreased vision as well as environmental factors. One study involving 160,000 Texas schoolchildren, 98% of the children started kindergarten with no major eye problems, but at the end of the sixth grade at least 50% of the children had developed eye problems. Once the classrooms had been reconfigured and designed to allow more light into the classroom, chronic eye problems decreased significantly.

Now that I know the risk, what can I do?

A combination of approaches to eliminate the need for prescription lenses and eye surgery have been shown to work in most patients. The combination of certain therapies and treatments like, a complete change in diet to a more whole foods, plant- based diet and adding in nutritional supplements such as Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin E, and Taurine. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) & Ayurvedic eye wash  treatments and the use of herbal therapy.

D. Hoffman. B.Sc., M.N.I.M.H., past President of the American Herbalists Guild uses Eyebright powder mixed with Goldenseal half and half, to produce an effective eyewash treatment for Conjunctivitis and Cataracts (please speak to a qualified professional before started any herbal treatments).  European research shows that treating macular degeneration with Gingko biloba and bilberry herbs can be beneficial as well. Syntonic optometry which uses full spectrum light is used to improve the function of the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems and treats peripheral vision problems, color and night blindness, crossed eyes and lazy eye.

Craniosacral therapy is performed by manipulating the occipital bone which helps to relieve pressure in the eyes and restore motor control of the eyes, relieves pressure on the lobes of the brain and improve vision by allowing the correct messages through the brain.  When vision disorders occur, it is often thought that the only way to fix the problem is with surgery, drugs and corrective lenses, this is NOT true. Corrective lenses can further impair vision by losing its ability to compensate for farsightedness or leading to insufficient movement of the extraocular eye muscles, because images appear smaller to someone who is nearsighted or has astigmatism.

What about surgery to correct my vision?

 Using surgery to correct refractive errors, such as myopia (nearsightedness) can cut 90% into the cornea and in some cases completely through causing blindness. Surgery almost always leaves behind scar tissue which can also leave the eye weakened and more likely to develop other eye conditions. More natural remedies exist with little to no side effects. Yearly eye exams and a consult with your physician for a referral to a vision- improvement practitioner should be considered when facing any vision disorders.

Stephanie N. Poliard

Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner (BCHHP)