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December Issue Of Natural Alternatives
December 01, 2008
Hello, and welcome to this edition of my Natural Alternatives Newsletter!
I hope you will enjoy reading this issue.
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“The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” ~Hippocrates
Nature is the Physician of all Disease ~ Hippocrates
IN THIS ISSUE:
1) MASSAGE THERAPY: JUST WHAT YOU NEED THIS WINTER
2) NATURAL FIBROMYALGIA RELIEF
3) ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE
A few weeks ago I fell down the three wooden stairs that separate the kitchen from the family room. In the brief moments it took me to slip and brace myself for impact, my lower back locked up and I had pulled a muscle in my neck. Over the next few nights as I tossed and turned, any slight twist of my neck would wake me up in searing pain. While I should have gone to the chiropractor to crack me back into shape, I instead booked a massage in order to help relax my body in anticipation of the upcoming holiday stress. In addition to feeling limber and whole again after my hour-long massage, I found out there is more to massage than just pleasure.
Besides helping relieve tension and the effects of reflexology—the art of healing internal organs, calming the mind, and promoting general bodily health through pressure points all over your body especially the feet and hands—massage is a big part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
Also known as bodywork, the art of massage therapy (massage for short) is helpful for a lot of what ails you from a migraine to back pain like mine, lessening anxiety and depression, improving blood circulation, and increased immunity by stimulating the body’s natural defenses among many others. Professional athletes use massage therapy to ease tired muscles and to help with joint flexibility. Many health clubs offer massage in order to help stretch sore and injured muscles post-workout while simultaneously putting the client in a relaxed environment in order for peace to be invited into the body.
Even though massage is usually associated with spa treatments like pedicures, facials and body waxing, bodywork is far from a completely frivolous expense. Although there are pricier massages that use anything from chocolate, mud, hot stones, all organic materials, and promise out-of-body experiences, you can usually find relief without spending your entire paycheck. The main aggravator that leads to damaged skin, muscle spasms and cramps, depression, overused muscle groups, migraines, and lack of sleep just to name a few is stress.
Stress is to blame for the growing numbers of patients seeking medical help for any number of conditions and is the number one reason people search out a professional massage to pamper their worries away. That is, if you can turn off your mind. For at least forty minutes of my fifty-minute massage, I couldn’t stop the wheels inside my brain and although I was relaxed and happy, my to-do list was piling up in my head while my body fell asleep on the heated table.
Research shows that massage is credited as an acceptable form of CAM and a few of the main insurance companies do offer massage services as part of their coverage plans. Children with asthma have been recorded to have increased circulation and better airflow due to massage work, arthritis sufferers had less complaints of stiff joints and overall pain after completing treatments, bodywork has been proven to lower blood pressure, reduce symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome), as well as promoting weight gain in premature babies through the often overlooked power of touch.
Most recently the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has been researching the benefits of massage and how it affects chronic neck pain versus western procedures, quality of normal life with regular treatments, cancer patients nearing the end of their life to see if massage can ease the transition, and whether home massage is helpful in pain reduction for sickle cell anemia patients.
Whether treating neurological or sleep disorders, stress cases, or just plain used as “me time” to get away from rambunctious kids, holiday crowds, working overtime, or to get an energy boost, massage therapy has shown to be more than just an extra life expense. An added benefit is the pleasurable feeling of rest and rejuvenation you encounter upon leaving a session, which is why massage is recommended as often as you can afford it.
Clients are often encouraged to drink lots of water following a treatment as your muscles will be tired and dehydrated, as it is also important for anyone scheduling a massage to fill out any medical history accurately (there are some conditions like pregnancy or deep vein thrombosis in which you should use caution and ask a doctor prior to treatment) so the technician can cater to your specific needs and make sure nothing they are planning to do on the table could hurt your health.
So next time you book an appointment with a masseur or masseuse, try to shut your brain off, take some deep breaths, close your eyes to the dime lights, listen to the methodic drums beating out of the speakers, and tune into your body’s needs.
2) NATURAL FIBROMYALGIA RELIEF
Natural fibromyalgia relief is progressively being used in addition to mainstream medical treatments for the syndrome. There are multiple symptoms that have to be addressed with fibromyalgia syndrome. Each of these symptoms can be debilitating in its own way to the patient's life, either completely hindering his ability to participate in the activity or making it miserable to him, thus reducing his quality of life.
The main symptom that must be dealt with in natural fibromyalgia relief is pain. Natural fibromyalgia relief help would be of no use if this most prominent of symptoms is not addressed. Acupuncture is one method of alternative medicine that provides pain relief to some fibromyalgia patients. Acupuncture is an ancient art and has provided relief of various symptoms for many individuals, including pain.
Chiropractic treatment is another natural fibromyalgia relief treatment that has helped many patients. The chiropractor provides minor adjustments, especially to the C-1 vertebrae, thus relieving pressure that can contribute to fibromyalgia pain symptoms.
In addition, guided exercise has helped some patients to relieve pain symptoms. Exercise releases endorphins which provide that 'feel good' release in the body, which not only relieves pain but also gives the patient the feeling of having more energy. Coping skills and support groups are also helpful to patients in dealing with the syndrome.
Fatigue is another overwhelmingly common symptom for fibromyalgia patients. Because of the pain, the patient gets worn down and feels that she does not have the energy to perform everyday tasks. One natural fibromyalgia relief method to combat fatigue was mentioned above, exercise.
Besides exercise, dietary changes can also help with fatigue as well as irritable bowel syndrome, which also can be a symptom of fibromyalgia. Patients are tested for food allergies that might be exacerbating the problem. They are also encouraged to remove all sugar and additives from their diet so that they begin eating whole foods. Increasing magnesium rich foods has also been found to help provide natural fibromyalgia relief in terms of fatigue. Some of these foods are legumes, seeds, nuts, and green leafy vegetables.
Vitamins and supplements are two other ways of providing fibromyalgia relief. Vitamins B12 and D have been found to have an affect on patients suffering from fatigue. Magnesium supplements have also been found to be effective. Herbal supplements, such as ginseng, licorice and rhodiola increase energy in fibromyalgia patients. In some cases, an intravenous supplement called a Myer's Cocktail is used to increase energy.
3) ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE
DOCTORS UNDER FIRE: Handing out antibiotics like Smarties?
GPs are being told to resist patients’ demands for antibiotics after academics found that an over-reliance on the drugs is undermining our ability to fight infections and superbugs such as MRSA.
Ireland is one of only three countries in Europe where use of antibiotics rises every year and, as a result, the level of resistance is higher than the EU average. Commonly prescribed antibiotics are no longer able to kill bugs such as E.coli and even meningitis.
Up to 20% of pneumococcal infections are now resistant to penicillin, claims Robert Cunney, a consultant microbiologist. “Taking antibiotics when they are not needed may mean they will not work when you do [need them],” he said. “We risk squandering one of the most important medical advances of the past 100 years.”
JUST IN CASE: GPs need to be more sparing with antibiotics
GPs need to prescribe antibiotics sparingly instead of handing them out “just in case” when they are unsure whether their patient has a viral or bacterial infection, says Colin Bradley, a professor at University College Cork. Antibiotics only tackle bacterial infections.
Antibiotic prescriptions to medical-card patients jumped 25% between 2000 and 2005. There was a doubling in the prescription of quinolone antibiotics, the use of which has been linked to the development of life-threatening bugs such as MRSA and C difficile in hospitals.
GPs are to receive guidelines about the type of antibiotics they prescribe, duration of prescription and dosage strength.
RISING COSTS: Misuse is target for cost-cutting government
Even Brendan Drumm, chief executive of the Health Service Executive, has conceded that the problem of over-prescribing is “huge”. Cutting down on antibiotics for medical-card patients would help towards Mary Harney’s goal of saving €64m from the national drugs bill. The reversal of a decision to means-test all over-70s means the health minister is searching for new savings.
The authors of the Irish Medical Journal research said up to half of all prescriptions for antimicrobials, including penicillin, could be inappropriate. A survey cited by the Irish Pharmacy Union, meanwhile, suggests that older patients are risking their health and wasting drugs because one in four people aged over 50 does not finish their course of antibiotics.
GO AU NATURELLE: Grin and bear it instead
It’s not just doctors who are responsible for the over-use of antibiotics — a splutter sends many people rushing to their GP demanding a dose of penicillin. Instead, they could treat minor ailments themselves or use homeopathic remedies.
The use of antibiotics in France has declined steadily since 2001, partly because the French are reluctant to take them unless absolutely necessary. And while homeopathic medicine is often knocked as unscientific, the proportion of American hospitals offering some form of complementary alternative medicine grew from 7.7% in 1998 to 18.3% in 2004.
If the alternative fails to cure the sniffles, it might still be worth considering just grinning and bearing it.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!
Thank you for reading.
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This newsletter is for educational purposes only. It is your right to educate yourself in health and medical knowledge, to seek helpful information and make use of it for your own benefit, and for that of your family. You are the one responsible for your health. You must educate yourself in order to make decisions in all health matters. My views and advices are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medicine, but simply a help you to make educated changes in order to help your body heal itself. If you have a medical condition or concern you should consult your physician.
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