Thursday, May 30, 2013

Alternative medicine reflexology: Therapeutic foot manipulation

• Reflexology is a therapeutic practice involving the application of pressure to the feet in an attempt to alleviate symptoms elsewhere in the body.

• Few objective data support reflexology, but many patients report benefits including pain relief.

History of use. 
The ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Native Americans all apparently practiced various types of therapeutic foot manipulation. The earliest record of foot massage is a wall painting in a tomb at Saqqara, Egypt, believed to date from approximately 2330 B.C. The contemporary practice of reflexology, in which manipulation of specific areas of the feet is thought to have therapeutic benefits on different areas of the body, is credited to one doctor of the ear, nose, and throat department of St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut. He termed the practice "zone therapy", co-authoring a text of the same name that was published in 1917. He conceptualized, the body was divided into 10 vertical zones; organs within the different zones corresponded to analogous "reflex zones" on the feet. For example, the thoracic and abdominal organs and structures relate to the zones occupied by the five metatarsal bones.

For reasons that are unclear, reflexology is today the most popular form of alternative medicine in Denmark, and it is generally more popular in Europe than in the United States. Its practice is not regulated, although many professional organizations exist. The Reflexology Association of America has published standards of practice and a code of ethics. The association officially defines reflexology as "a science based on the premise that there are zones and reflex areas in the feet and hands which correspond to all glands, organs, parts, and systems of the body. The physical act of applying specific pressure using the thumb, finger, and hand techniques to these reflex areas results in the reduction of stress that promotes physiological changes in the body.

Clinical studies. 
Conditions treated by reflexologies range from asthma to back pain to cancer. Studies have shown mixed results, particularly when objective and subjective data are compared:

• Asthma. 
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that included 40 adults with bronchial asthma found no significant differences in therapeutic effect between active and simulated reflexology.

The participants kept diary cards throughout the study, which included 10 treatments during a period of approximately 9-10 weeks. Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) were recorded at each visit. Patients were allowed to follow their normal regimen of inhaled corticosteriod ad B-agonists. There were no statistically significant changes in FEV1 or FVC during the course of the study between the active and placebo groups, nor were there measurables differences in FEVI before and after individual treatment sessions. On a quality of life questionnaire, however, almost all parameters, including physical functioning, lack of physical limitations, and vitality, improved in both groups. The authors concluded that their study failed to demonstrate a "relevant clinical effect" for reflexology in bronchial asthma.

• Low back pain. 
In a poster session at a conference on complementary medicine held in Exeter, England, in December 2001, one doctor of Liverpool John Moores University reported on a randomized controlled trial that included 243 patients with chronic low back pain treated with reflexology, relaxation, or usual physician care.

This means age of the study participants was 47 years; 59 percent were female. The mean duration of back pain was 121 months. Pain, functioning, depression, coping strategies, and perceived social support were assessed at baseline, before treatment, after treatment, and after six months.

There were no statistically significant differences in pain and functioning among the three groups at the end of the study, although a larger proportion of the reflexology group reported less pain. Pain scores decreased in all groups during the study.

• Cancer. 
A pilot study of reflexology, presented at the first congress of the research network of the European Association for Palliative Care in Berlin in December 2000, found no difference between reflexology and foot massage among 17 patients with advanced cancer. Patients were evaluated by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and a 10-point symptom distress scale at baseline and after each of six weekly sessions.

While reflexology had no objectively demonstrated benefits, patients with advanced cancer "may greatly appreciate touch therapies," the authors noted.

The lead investigator of the cancer study, medical director of the Marie Curie Center, Edinburgh, Scotland, does not plan to employ reflexologists in his palliative care program. "As a medical manager with a responsibility to decide on the deployment of limited resources, I believe it is ethically and practically vital that the proponents of any new claim on those resources have evaluable evidence before time and money are spent.

The department of complementary medicine, University of Exeter (England), offered a different perspective. "The idea that organs are represented on the soles of the feet seems fanciful to orthodox trained scientists, since there is no known anatomical or physiological pathway for this representation. Of course, reflexology might have a useful clinical effect, even if its ‘representative zones’ basis is not correct: Massage of tender areas in the feet could have generalized health benefits. Patients report favorable effects of reflexology, and it must be a safe therapy. Further studies are certainly warranted.


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Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

Today, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) are everywhere: in the media, at the mall, in the drug store, and even in medical journals. It’s taken a while for the world of conventional Western medicine to catch on, but as more people, young and old, turn to the realm of holistic, herbal, and spiritual healing, major medical institutions are stepping up to the plate. They are beginning to investigate the effectiveness and safety of these therapies, and have even begun integrating some of these techniques into their own medical approach.

What is CAM? The US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine defines it as "medical practices that are not commonly used, accepted, or available in conventional medicine." At present, this umbrella term includes many therapies. Among these are herbal medicine, homeopathy, hypnosis, ayurvedic medicine from India, traditional Chinese medicine, chiropractic, faith healing, and others. Currently, medical science is trying to distinguish among those therapies that are safe and effective, those that are effective but may carry health risks, those that are ineffective, and those that are both ineffective and unsafe.

In recent years, the popularity of alternative and complementary therapies has increased dramatically. Studies published by Eisenberg and colleagues at Harvard Medical School documented that 42 percent of adults in the United States (82 million people) routinely use complementary medical therapies to treat their most common medical conditions. In 1997, Americans made an estimated 629 million office visits to complementary therapy providers and spent an estimated $27 billion out-of-pocket on complementary care. Harvard researchers have also documented that most Americans use complementary and alternative therapies as adjuncts to – rather than as replacement for – conventional medical care.

Despite the growing popularity of such approaches, many people do not seek out alternatives to conventional medical care. In a survey in 2000 of its readers, Consumer Reports found that 65percent of the 46,000 respondents did not use alternative therapies, saying they were satisfied with standard medical treatment. This survey was not a scientific sampling of the population at large. But it did reveal an interesting, positive result: a majority of respondents said they tell their doctors about their use of alternative therapies – 60 percent according to the survey.
That’s good news because, as late as 1998, a national survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reported that many patients were reluctant to discuss complementary therapies with their doctors as many physicians were unsympathetic toward – or just plain uninformed about – complementary therapies. But that is changing. Most doctors now acknowledge the widespread use of complementary medicine. And it is important for patients to keep their doctors informed so that they can stay alert for possible drug-herb interactions and even learn from patients who have found a beneficial therapy.

What else is happening? Employers are jumping on the bandwagon, although not in the numbers expected. A survey in 2000 of 30 large US national employers revealed that 76 percent offer insurance coverage for at least one form of complementary therapy. But 75 percent of employers said that the main obstacle to adding or expanding such coverage was the lack of evidence-based clinical research into the effectiveness of complementary therapies.

That criticism is right on the mark. It’s true that in many cases, there is not enough research concerning either the effectiveness or safety of CAM therapies. But that is changing. The US government agencies and major medical institutions are beginning to fund education and long-overdue research.By 1998, 64 percent of US mainstream medical schools were offering elective or required courses in alternative medicine.


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Low-cost, high-benefit alternative medicine

Rx: Low-cost, high-benefit alternative medicine

It’s been around longer than probably our doctors and soon, licensed and board-certified medical doctors are offering it to their patients. We’re talking about alternative and natural medicine, which was the talk of the town when the Philippine College for the Advancement in Medicine Foundation Inc. (PCAM) held its fourth national conference last week.

At the conference, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III dished out this prescription: "The poor and the rich should be able to access the same quality and level of care. Alternative health care modalities are safe, effective, but most importantly are accessible to all."

It’s a bitter pill to swallow that many a Filipino family can’t afford the cost of mainstream conventional medicine/health care, also called western medicine. That is, even if health care costs locally are much lower vis-a-vis those in the US and other countries of the First World.

"Under the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act of 1997, it is the clear policy of the state to accelerate the development of traditional and alternative health and to integrate it into the national health care delivery system," Duque noted.

Likewise, under the Act, licensed doctors are allowed to practice affordable, safe, effective, and evidence-based alternative medicine using natural remedies without fear of government persecution.

Secretary Duque pointed out that the law encourages the development of the country’s medicinal plant resources and the establishment of well-being clinics and health spas. Today, the government runs four herbal processing plants located in Tuguegarao, Tacloban, Davao, and Cotabato. The plants churn out a wide assortment of herbal products: herbal tablets, herbal teas, herbal soaps, and herbal ointment. Name it, they probably herb it.

These herbal plants are in the thick of producing sambong and lagundi. Sambong, an excellent diuretic, helps in dissolving kidney stones and curing urinary tract infection. On the other hand, lagundi is used to treat fever, asthma, cough, and bronchitis.

"Sometimes, you don’t have to look far to cure an illness," said Dr. Carmencita Yap, PCAM president. "Like, there’s garlic to help lower high blood pressure."

Duque elaborated, "Alternative medicine is not limited to acupuncture, massage or meditation. Rather, it is a comprehensive, holistic form of treatment."

Preventive alternative care options include Lamaze Birthing to prevent complications during childbirth. This method has been adopted by hospital-based medical practitioners. Then there are diagnostic options like the Navarro Beta hCG Urine Cancer Test, which can detect the presence of cancer three to four years before any physical symptom appears.

However, Secretary Duque was quick to add, "The law does not mean or intend to replace conventional medicine with alternative medicine. "

It is meant to allow alternative and conventional medicine to co-exist, and offer patients – especially the poor – a ray of hope in these seemingly hopeless times.
* * *
Some hearty tips
A long-time friend of mine was recently admitted to the hospital after complaining of chest pains. Fortunately, he got there on time and was spared from a heart attack. His wife thoughtfully e-mailed the following:

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within three hours, he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke – totally. He says the trick is getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and getting to the patient within three hours, which may be tough.
Recognizing A Stroke
Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster.

The stroke victim may suffer brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

Now, doctors say even a bystander can recognize a stroke through these three simple procedures:

• Ask the victim to SMILE.

• Ask him/her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

• Ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE. (Coherently – like, "It is sunny out today.") If he/she has any or all of these symptoms, call your city’s emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

After discovering that a group of non-medical volunteers could identify facial weakness, arm weakness, and speech problems, researchers urged the general public to learn the three questions. They presented their conclusions at the American Stroke Association’s annual meeting last February. Widespread use of this test could result in prompt diagnosis and treatment of a stroke, and prevent brain damage.


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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Alternatives Medicine: IBOTO TUCP PARTYLIST- Gigi M. Martinez Mathay

Alternatives Medicine: IBOTO TUCP PARTYLIST- Gigi M. Martinez Mathay: Bilang HR practitioner ng mahigit na 10taon, narinig ko na, naramdaman ko na at naidulog ko na ang mga hinaing at hirap ng uring mang...

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IBOTO TUCP PARTYLIST- Gigi M. Martinez Mathay

Bilang HR practitioner ng mahigit na 10taon, narinig ko na, naramdaman ko na at naidulog ko na ang mga hinaing at hirap ng uring manggagawa. Sa mga taong ako ay nangangalaga sa kapakanan ng mga empleyado at manggagawa, isa lang ang tunay na nanindigan sa kanila (at sa akin) - TUCP!
Isa lang ang labor organization na nag-iisip bago magprotesta, nag-aaral ng mga datos bago mag-press con at nakikipag dayalugo sa lahat ng sektor at stakeholders - manggagawa at mamumuhunan - TUCP!
Isa lang ang laging benchmark ng mga speakers, experts at guro para sa responsible unionism - TUCP!
Bigyan natin muli ng boses ang mga nagpapatakbo ng ekonomiya - ang mga manggagawa, ibalik sa Kongreso - #27 sa balota, TUCP party list!!!

By: Gigi M. Martinez Mathay

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