The Mayo Clinic has its list; we have ours. Which complementary and alternative medicine modalities are most important to you and your family?
Hot off the presses is the Mayo Clinic Guide to Alternative Medicine 2011 (New York: Time Home Entertainment, Inc., 2011). One article, titled “Our Top 10 Alternative Therapies,” offers this list:
- Guided imagery
- Music therapy
- Spinal manipulation
- Tai chi
We certainly agree with the Mayo Clinic’s approval of acupuncture, and some forms of therapeutic massage. And we cannot find a great deal of fault with other items on the list—there are proven benefits to many, if not all, of them. One’s spirituality, like one’s mental outlook, has a great deal to do with one’s health. Tai chi or qigong, yoga, meditation, guided imagery—all of them are extremely helpful in forging a strong body-mind connection, which can indeed be curative.
However, we can’t help but note that the Mayo Clinic’s list leans toward the “soft” end of alternative medicine. It’s great that their list recognizes the very potent ability of the human mind to create—or destroy—our health. But what we’re not seeing there is much of the “hard” end of the spectrum: integrative, nutrition-based medicine, backed by scientific studies and peer-reviewed research, to address illness and reverse the disease process.
We would suggest a slightly different approach: therapies that have proven medical benefits, but which are usually found in complementary or alternative medicine rather than standard Western allopathic medicine. Our list would include:
- Acupuncture and therapeutic massage
- Emphasis on healthy food, dietary supplements, and exercise, together with the general avoidance of prescription drugs
- Key nutraceuticals like vitamins B, D, and C, fish oil, resveratrol, and CoQ10
- Identification and elimination of food allergies
- Herbs for a great many health issues, including the treatment of allergies and prostate health
- Annual multifactor blood testing (which is different from and more extensive than conventional tests), including tests for heavy metal and chemical exposure, and omega 3 and vitamin D levels
- More acid in most cases for stomach problems, not acid blockers; the use of probiotics for stomach and colon health
- Natural Hormone Replacement (NHR) therapy rather than conventional hormone replacement products like Premarin, which is a dangerous mixture of horse estrogens
- Avoidance of harmful heart surgery (research suggests that far too much heart surgery is counterproductive) and other unnecessary elective surgery; avoidance of many conventional cancer treatments
- General avoidance of antibiotics; use of effective and largely forgotten bacteriocidal agents, which do not lead to drug-resistant bugs
The fact that the Mayo Clinic has set up a department to deal with alternative therapies is not all that unusual. Many leading hospitals have them. They especially like the kinds of things listed by Mayo Clinic because they don’t compete directly with drugs and surgery. Call it “Integrative Medicine Lite.”
So here is a question for you, our readers: What are your Top Ten therapies in complementary and alternative medicine? Which integrative medical treatment modalities do you and your family find the most important and effective? Please give us your thoughts in the comments below, and share this article with your friends—we’d love to hear from you! You don’t even have to give us ten—just send us your list of favorites, however long or short. We’ll compile the results and report back in a future issue.