Tag Archives: complementary and alternative medicine

Herbal Medicine Under the Microscope

I love it when the Wall Street Journal covers CAM–especially when they do it well! Read about the 4 herb combo cancer treatment known as  PHY906 in Chinese Medicine Goes Under the Microscope by Shirley S. Wang.

Related alternahealthgrrrl stories:

Hooray for Holistic Healthcare!

Natural Cholesterol Helpers: Safe Alternatives to Statin Drugs


Holistic Health: Why a post-workout massage feels so good



New research reveals the reasons that massage after exercise feels so heavenly. Bodywork reduces cellular inflammation and promotes mitochondria growth in muscles, finds scientists from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.


The researchers found that massage reduced the activity of inflammation-inducing proteins called cytokines in muscle cells and …MORE


Is holistic a dirty word?

Does CAM=crazy?  Some think so.  Since I gave this blog a tagline about holistic health, I’ve discovered negative connotations connected to terms like holistic medicine or complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).  Some people equate them with the experimental, fringe, risky—even unscientific and absurd. Others act as if its all just code for rejection of modern medicine, belief in alien abductions or good old witchcraft.

So sad!  I use them as synonyms for integrative or patient-driven medicine, preventative health or wellness or comprehensive healthcare.  Maybe even ‘the best of both worlds.”  In fact, the NIH says integrative medicine “combines mainstream medical therapies and CAM therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness” but it’s still got a reputation for being, well, wacky.

The misconception is prevalent.  Even Dr Weil–who defines integrative medicine as “medicine that takes account of the whole person including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship and makes use of all appropriate therapies, both conventional and alternative”–has to deal with the mix up.  His renown website dedicates a few columns to explaining the difference between integrative or holistic medicine and alternative medicine:  Any therapy that is typically excluded by conventional medicine, and that patients use instead of conventional medicine, is known as “alternative medicine.” It’s a catch-all term…An alternative medicine practice that is used in conjunction with a conventional one is known as a “complementary” medicine. Example: using ginger syrup to prevent nausea during chemotherapy. Together, complementary and alternative medicines are often referred to by the acronym CAM…integrative medicine “cherry picks” the very best, scientifically validated therapies from both conventional and CAM systems.

So there you have it. I’ve tweaked my tagline to include patient empowerment, because this blog is about integrative medicine and the importance of understanding all the wellness strategies and treatment options “out there”.

No anal probes required.

Holistic Health: Shroom Love + 10 Other Top CAM Moments in 2011

Don’t miss HuffPo’s Healthy Living channel’s round up of the year in integrative medicine.  They call these events “breakthroughs” but since so much of complementary and alternative medicine news is about evidence and acceptance (if not use) I think words like moments, turning points, or happenings are more apt.  Regardless, great stuff, including Dean Ornish’s appointment (you read it here–Dr Vegan Goes to Washington).  Read more>>  11 Integrative Medicine Breakthroughs of 2011

December 28th add on:

John Weeks follows up with a good post about the year in integrative medicine policy and action.

Holistic Health: Soccer’s Surprising Psych Benefits

Playing in a soccer league can boost more than just physical fitness, says new British research.  It can boost mental health, too.

A small study presented at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology annual meeting found that playing amateur football can help even those with serious mental health problems.  Four years after researchers from Staffordshire and Aston Universities set up a soccer league for men with mental health problems, they evaluated the health of the players. Results showed overall improvements to mental health, including an improved ability to deal with psychological problems such as depression. They also reported increased confidence and even improvements in their social lives.

Previous research from the University of Copenhagen showed that soccer was a mood booster good for overall health, boosting feelings of belonging and reducing anxiety and worry.

To find an adult recreational soccer league near you, check out your local parks and recreation department or Active.com

Holistic Health: Awesome Collaboration on Surviving Cancer

If you haven’t seen the New York Times Health Guide’s “Picture Your Life After Cancer” lately, take a close look.  Nearly 1100 powerful real-life stories and photographs from readers make up this multimedia project.  Only a publication with such enormous reach could do this so well. (I know from experience, I worked on a similar, smaller yet strong and successful More Magazine breast cancer feature, “This Is What Survival Looks Like”) Bravo to the editors, producers and cancer survivor contributors!

Lame Story Alert! Prevention Mag “Awards” Integrative Therapies

News flash:  Yoga and meditation are good for you!  So says Prevention Mag in the December issue’s Integrative Medicine Awards.

OK, it’s not as bad as the last lame story on women and sleep meds, but it’s seriously annoying. Prevention names the complementary and alternative medicine therapies, like meditation and yoga, that are “good.” Nice of you to notice, PRVTN editors! Feels like a scramble to catch up with the well established trend. And it’s just a weird way to package health service. On the plus side, I like the health insurance information and the love for Joan Gussow.

A real win? CAM modalities highlighted in every issue.