Vail Natural Path: Complementing conventional medicine
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado –Most people in the Vail Valley think of naturopathic medicine as preventive medicine. Using nutrition, herbal medicine and homeopathy is without a doubt the best way to stay healthy, avoid disease, and slow the aging process. Chinese medicine and acupuncture, on the other hand, are most commonly thought of as a means to treat pain, and more recently is recognized as an effective treatment for addictions, migraines and stress. While this is a good start to understanding these complex systems of medicine, that is all that it is: a start.
In reality, both naturopathic medicine and Chinese medicine are systems of primary care medicine, which means that they can be used effectively for any mental or physical symptom. This is a relief to those who don’t want to use conventional medicine and an even bigger relief for those that do use it and get negative effects from it. Case in point is in the treatment of cancer.
Both naturopathic and Chinese medicine are slowly gaining ground as an effective adjuvant to conventional cancer therapies. Simply put, this means that nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy and acupuncture are great at improving the outcomes of chemotherapy and even better at improving quality of life during conventional cancer treatment.
According to the National Cancer Institute, acupuncture is effective for:
• Nausea and vomiting
• Dry Mouth, night sweats, and hot flashes
• Stress, anxiety and fatigue
• Improving white blood cell counts
• Pain management
Evidenced-based guidelines recently published by the American college of Chest Physicians officially recommended acupuncture for lung cancer patients. Especially those that experience nausea and vomiting, fatigue, shortness of breath, pain and chemotherapy-induced neuropathy. These guidelines have been reviewed and endorsed by a multitude of oncology boards and associations.
These findings are excellent recognition for the medical art of acupuncture. Hopefully, this will encourage oncologists to refer patients to qualified acupuncturists, giving them a chance to experience the benefits of acupuncture in treating the complications of cancer treatments.
Acupuncture alone can do wonders for people, but I find that when I combine acupuncture and naturopathic medicine, I get even better results. Naturopathic medicine encompasses such a wide array of natural therapeutics that it is difficult to separate one form of therapy for all people with cancer. In essence, the use of certain nutrients and herbs make people healthier, and everyone wants to be healthier!
Contrary to popular thought, Naturopathic medicine is good for more than boosting the immune system and providing anti-oxidant support. Many, many nutrients and herbs enhance the effects of chemotherapy, heal healthy tissue that is damaged by chemo and radiation, control the side effects of such treatment, decrease the rate of recurrence, and help patients live more healthily during their illness. Essentially, naturopathic medicine is a wonderful modality to use in conjunction with conventional cancer therapy.
Research shows that nearly 69 percent of all cancer patients use some kind of complementary medicine (not including prayer) and that 81 percent use dietary supplements. Unfortunately, many of these therapies go unreported to oncologists and are self prescribed.
A licensed Naturopathic doctor protects the patients from drug-nutrient and drug-herb interactions as well as ineffective “cures” marketed over the internet. The goal of the Naturopathic doctor is not to affect a cure for cancer, rather to provide complementary support, or adjunctive care, to conventional cancer treatment. Working together in an integrative approach will only provide what every cancer patient wants; the best, most comprehensive care possible.
There is nothing more frightening the diagnosis of cancer for yourself or someone you love. Grasping for every possible cure is purely instinctual when faced with something life threatening. I would therefore encourage the pursuit of a licensed Naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist, who works with cancer patients and has good rapport with your oncologist; one who can guide you to make smart decisions in nutrition and supplementation and help you through this difficult time. Every cancer patient deserves a team.
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