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Alternative Treatment

Over the last two decades Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) has clearly been gaining in popularity and acceptance. Recently, a survey of over 30,000 people indicated that almost a third had used some sort of alternative medical treatments from neurofeedback to herbal teas.

There are no doubts as many reasons for this changing attitude as there are people who use these treatments. But whatever's causing this shift, it's clearly a development that astute healthcare professionals are noticing. After all, many of these treatments can be used to support and hopefully enhance more conventional treatment. For your information here is a brief overview of some of alternative treatments now being used to treat depression, Traumatic Brain Injury, and ADHD.

Acupuncture - is one of the oldest, most commonly used systems of CAM, originating in China about 3,500 years ago. In 1993, the Food and Drug Administration estimated that Americans made up to 12 million visits each year to acupuncture practitioners. Practitioners say there are 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body, which are connected by 20 pathways (12 main, eight secondary) called meridians. These meridians conduct energy between the skin and the body's internal organs.

Aquatic therapy - attempts to improve the function of mind and body through the application of aquatic therapeutic exercises.

Cranio-Sacral therapy - Cranio-Sacral Therapy (CST) - is a hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system - comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.

Electrodermal testing - is used by holistic medicine practitioners to identify possible deficiencies in the body. Based on the results, supplements may be prescribed. It has a basis similar to acupuncture and measures the electrical resistance at the acupuncture points.

HBOT - Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) - enhances the body's natural healing process by inhalation of 100 percent oxygen in a total body chamber where atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled. The oxygen level in the person's blood-stream is raised many times above normal, which is believed to help control infections and promote healing in many kinds of illness or injury.

Healing Touch - uses gentle, non-invasive touch to influence and support the 'human energy system within and surrounding the body."

Hippotherapy - is a treatment that uses the multidimensional movement experienced during horse riding to affect a positive outcome for human patients. Specially trained physical, occupational and speech therapists use this medical treatment for clients who have movement dysfunction which may or may not involve a brain disorder.

Hypnosis - is used successfully for pain management and also to help patients get in touch with repressed memories. Depending on the needs of the patient and the discretion of the therapist, hypnosis may be very useful for treating certain aspects of depression.

Lymph Drainage - Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT) - uses anatomical science and manual processes to detect the specific rhythm, direction, depth and quality of the lymph flow anywhere in the body. From there Manual Lymphatic Mapping (MLM) of the vessels is conducted to assess overall circulation and determine the best alternate pathways for draining body-fluid stagnations.

Massage - involves the restoration of proper joint function of the spine or extremities, and the strengthening of supporting muscles and soft tissues. Massage helps stimulate and close the so-called gate of pain messages. As a result, the intensity of the pain perceived by the brain is decreased.

Reiki - is Energy Healing which involves direct application of Chi for the purpose of strengthening the clients' energy system (aura). Chi is the term used by the Chinese mystics and martial artists for the underlying force the Universe is made of.

Reflexology - uses pressure applied to specific parts of the body to create an anaesthetizing effect on a related area allowing the body to heal itself. Following illness, stress, injury or disease, it is in a state of "imbalance", and vital energy pathways are blocked, reflexology is claimed to restore and maintain the body's natural equilibrium and encourage healing.

Visceral Release or Visceral Manipulation (VM) - is a hands-on therapy that works through the body's visceral system (the heart, liver, intestines and other internal organs) to locate and alleviate abnormal points of tension throughout the body.

Vitamin Therapy - calls for self-administered or prescribed vitamins, amino acids and herbs to be taken as dietary supplements and has now become an entire industry. Most of these products are still unregulated by the FDA. Since consumption of some of these supplements can interfere with the course of traditional medical treatment, patients should always disclose all information about their use to their medical practitioner.

Merln Hurd PhD; BCN, QEEGT

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