Thursday, August 30, 2012

Alternate Medicine: Naturopathy

Naturopathy, or Naturopathic Medicine, is a type of alternative medicine based on a belief in vital-ism. It posits that a special energy called vital energy or vital force guides bodily processes such as metabolism, reproduction, growth, and adaptation. Naturopathy favors a holistic approach with non-invasive treatment by encouraging minimal use of surgery and drugs.

The term "naturopathy" is derived from Greek and Latin, and literally translates as "nature disease".
Naturopathy comprises many different treatment modalities of varying degrees of acceptance by the conventional medical community; these treatments range from standard evidence-based treatments, to homeopathy and other practices sometimes characterized as pseudoscience.

The ideology and methodological underpinnings of naturopathy are in conflict with the paradigm of evidence-based medicine. Naturopathy focuses on naturally-occurring substances, minimally-invasive methods, and encouragement of natural healing. Naturopaths generally favor an intuitive and vitalistic conception of the body, and complete rejection of biomedicine and modern science is common. Prevention through stress reduction and a healthy diet and lifestyle is emphasized, and pharmaceutical drugs, ionizing radiation, and surgery are generally minimized. The tenet of naturopathic practice is self-described by six core values.
  1. Do no harm; provide the most effective health care available with the least risk to patients at all times.
  2. Recognize, respect and promote the self-healing power of nature inherent in each individual human being.
  3. Identify and remove the causes of illness, rather than eliminate or suppress symptoms.
  4. Educate, inspire rational hope and encourage self-responsibility for health.
  5. Treat each person by considering all individual health factors and influences.
  6. Emphasize the condition of health to promote well-being and to prevent diseases for the individual, each community and our world.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Alternate Medicine: YOGA

Yoga is commonly known as a generic term for a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline originating in ancient India and found in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.Yoga is one of the six orthodox schools in Hindu philosophy. It is based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and aims to use meditation to attain spiritual insight and tranquility. The aim of yoga is varied and ranges from improving health to achieving moksha.

There has been an emergence of studies investigating yoga as a complementary intervention for cancer patients. Yoga is used for treatment of cancer patients to decrease depression, insomnia, pain, and fatigue and increase anxiety control. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs include yoga as a mind-body technique to reduce stress. A study found that after seven weeks the group treated with yoga reported significantly less mood disturbance and reduced stress compared to the control group. Another study found that MBSR had showed positive effects on sleep anxiety, quality of life, and spiritual growth.
Yoga has also been studied as a treatment for schizophrenia. Yoga is found to improve cognitive functions and reduce stress in schizophrenia, a condition associated with cognitive deficits and stress-related relapse. In one study, at the end of four months those patients treated with yoga were better in their social and occupational functions and quality of life. The three main focuses of Hatha yoga (exercise, breathing, and meditation) make it beneficial to those suffering from heart disease. Overall, studies of the effects of yoga on heart disease suggest that yoga may reduce high blood pressure, improve symptoms of heart failure, enhance cardiac rehabilitation, and lower cardiovascular risk factors.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Alternative Medicine Systems

1. Ayurveda is that knowledge of life, which deals elaborately and at length with conditions beneficial or otherwise to the humanity. It deals with getting to the root of the issue and treatments involve the usage of natural/ herbal products.

2. Yoga is a science as well an art of healthy living physically, mentally, morally and spiritually. It is not limited by race, age, sex, religion, cast or creed and can be practiced by those who seek fitness and well-being.

3. Naturopathy or Nature Cure treatment primarily stresses on the curing of the body in the most natural manner i.e. give the body time to heal on its own. The five main modalities of treatment are air, water, heat, mud and space.

4. Homeopathy has been practiced in India for more than a century and a half. It is recognised as one of the National Systems of Medicine and plays an important role in providing health care to a large number of people. Its strength lies in its holistic approach towards the sick individual through promotion of inner balance at mental, emotional, spiritual and physical levels.

5. Unani postulates that the body contains a self-preservative power, which strives to restore any disturbance within the limits prescribed by the constitution or State of the individual. The physician merely aims to help and develop rather than supersede or impede the action of this power.

6. Siddha is very similar to Ayurveda. In the Siddha system, chemistry has been well developed into a science auxiliary to medicine and alchemy. The knowledge of plants and mineral are of very high order in this form of treatment.

7. Acupressure is the application of pressure or localized massage to specific sites on the body to control symptoms such as pain or nausea. This therapy is also used to stop bleeding. It is derived from traditional Chinese medicine, which is a form of treatment for pain that involves pressure on particular points in the body knows as "acupressure points".

8. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese form of medicine, which involves the insertion of pins in certain vital points of the body. It is used for the treatment of chronic pain conditions such as arthritis, bursitis, headache, athletic injuries, and posttraumatic and post surgical pain. It is also used for treating chronic pain associated with immune function dysfunction such as psoriasis (skin disorders), allergies, and asthma. Some modern application of acupuncture is in the treatment of disorders such as alcoholism, addiction, smoking, and eating disorders.

9. Telemedicine refers to the use of communication and information technologies for the delivery of clinical care. It may be as simple as two health professionals discussing a case over the telephone, or as complex as using satellite technology and video-conferencing equipment to conduct a real-time consultation between medical specialists in two different countries. The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEIT) - External website that opens in a new window had taken up the initiative for defining the Standards for Telemedicine Systems in India, through the deliberations of the committee on "Standardization of digital information to facilitate implementation of Telemedicine system using IT enabled services (External website that opens in a new window)" under the chairmanship of the Secretary, DIT. Simultaneously, DIT undertook another initiative, in a project mode, for defining "The framework of Information Technology Infrastructure for Health (ITIH)" to efficiently address information needs of different stakeholders in the healthcare sector. The department has issue specific guidelines for practicing telemedicine in India.