Smart Medicine for Healthier Living : Practical A-Z Reference to Natural and Conventional Treatments for Adults

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9780895298676: Smart Medicine for Healthier Living : Practical A-Z Reference to Natural and Conventional Treatments for Adults
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Written by a medical doctor, a naturopath, and a registered pharmacist, Smart Medicine for Healthier Living is a complete A-to-Z guide to the most common disorders and their treatments, using both alternative care and conventional medicine.
 
Comprehensive and easy-to-follow, Smart Medicine for Healthier Living is divided into three parts. Part one explains the full spectrum of approaches used to effectively treat common health problems. It provides an overview of the history, fundamentals, and uses of conventional medicine, herbal medicine, homeopathy, acupressure, aromatherapy, diet, and nutritional supplements. It also includes a helpful section on home and personal safety. Part two contains a comprehensive A-to-Z listing of various health problems. Each entry clearly explains the problem and offers specific advice using a variety of approaches.  Part three provides step-by-step guidance on using the many therapies and procedures suggested for each health problem.
 
Smart Medicine for Healthier Living is a reliable source that you and your family can turn to time and time again, whenever the need arises.

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About the Author:

Janet Zand, ND, OMD, LAc, is the cofounder and formulator of ZAND Herbal Formulas. She is a nationally respected author, lecturer, practitioner, and nutritional product developer whose work has helped thousands of people achieve better health. She is a naturopathic physician, a doctor of oriental medicine, and a board and nationally certified acupuncturist. Ms. Zand lectures across the country, speaking on natural medicine to both health-care professionals and the general public.
 
Allan N. Spreen, MD, CNC, received his medical degree from East Tennessee State University Medical School. Dr. Spreen later established a successful nutrition therapy practice in Jacksonville, Florida, where he provided alternatives for patients intolerant of or unsuccessful with conventional drug therapies. He then went on to found The Nutrition PhysicianTM, a nutrition therapy information service that offers guidance for those seeking drug-free nutritional alternatives. He now writes, speaks, and consults full time to disseminate nutrition therapy information.
 
Dr. James B. LaValle, RPh, DHM, ND, CCN, is a nationally recognized figure in the field of natural therapeutics. He served as an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Cincinnati College for fourteen years and currently serves as Adjunct Professor in Metabolic Medicine at the University of South Florida Medical School. He has written and developed hundreds of articles and seminars for health-care professionals and is the author of seventeen books.

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Preface

In the history of human thinking, the most fruitful developments frequently take place at those points where two different lines of thought meet.

Werner Heisenberg
1932 Winner, Nobel Prize for Physics

Some of the most important decisions we ever have to make concern health care. Yet often, people are not aware of the full range of choices available to them. The goal of this book is to offer information on a variety of approaches that will help you create and maintain vibrant good health. The authors believe in an integrated approach to health care that considers all treatment possibilities and draws on what works. Sometimes this will be an herb, sometimes an antibiotic, sometimes both. We believe it is just as significant that a particular therapy has been used effectively for hundreds or thousands of years as it is that a scientific paper substantiates a particular approach. Taking advantage of one form of knowledge does not necessarily preclude using another.

This book outlines and describes the application of conventional medicine, dietary modifications, nutritional supplements, herbal medicine, homeopathy, and acupressure. We believe that understanding and integrating the full range of health-care options offers the most complete and responsible way to a healthy life. We hope to foster an awareness that natural healing therapies and conventional medical treatment, two apparently divergent approaches, can—and should—work together.

Natural healing sciences (including herbal medicine, homeopathy, diet, nutritional supplements, and acupressure) are sometimes called “complementary” medicine. As that name implies, natural medicine and conventional medicine can be used to complement and support each other in helping to create health. Complementary medicine is gaining increasing acceptance in the United States, as evidenced by the many multidisciplinary clinics in which medical doctors, naturopathic physicians, acupuncturists, nutritionists, homeopaths, chiropractors, and counselors work together in an integrated manner, treating the patient as a whole person. Even the United States government has taken notice of these developments. In the fall of 1992, the Office of Alternative Medicine was established at the National Institutes of Health to study the effectiveness of various types of alternative health care. Among the subjects being studied there are homeopathy, acupuncture and acupressure, herbal medicine, reflexology, chiropractic, biofeedback, hypnosis, and relaxation and visualization techniques.

Natural healing systems are much more widely used than many people suppose. The World Health Organization, established in 1948 as a specialized agency of the United Nations, reports that 80 percent of the world’s population relies on natural healing as their primary form of health care. And in 1997, according to an article in The New York Times, 42 percent of Americans tried some form of alternative treatment. In fact, more visits were made to alternative-care practitioners in that year than to primary-care physicians, even though most of these visits were not covered by health insurance and had to be paid for out of pocket.

More and more medical doctors are recognizing the safety and effectiveness of natural medicines. There are physicians who prescribe herbal medicines and homeopathic remedies; many more recommend dietary changes for their patients. By now, a clear link has been established between diet and health. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, and the United States government have all published dietary guidelines to promote health. Conventional and complementary health-care practitioners alike emphasize the role of nutrition as fundamental to the healing process. Indeed, a 1988 report of the Surgeon General of the United States found that two-thirds of all deaths in this country are nutrition related.

Homeopathy is an accepted form of medical practice in many parts of the world. Generation after generation of Asian families have turned to acupuncture and acupressure for relief of illness. Even modern pharmacology has deep roots in herbal medicine. The use of the herb ma huang (ephedra), for example, dates back several thousand years; ephedrine, one of its primary ingredients (and pseudoephedrine, a synthetic version of it) is used by pharmaceutical companies today in many over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines.

“The physician treats, but nature heals.” This is an often-quoted saying from Hippocrates—known as the “Father of Medicine”—who recognized that the body has a natural tendency toward health and vitality. To nurture this tendency, we need to treat illness in ways that support and strengthen the body’s natural processes. Using a complementary approach to health care, we can draw on modern conventional medicine, natural medicine, and ancient healing traditions to find what is most effective and supportive in curing and preventing illness.

Conventional medicine generally works with drugs or surgery to suppress or correct a specific condition. And sometimes, that is exactly what is needed. At other times, however, a natural medical approach makes more sense. Natural medicine works by supporting the body in healing itself. While antibiotics can be used to kill harmful bacteria, for example, the herbs echinacea and goldenseal boost the immune system so that the body is better able to resist or fight infection on its own. These herbs strengthen and support the body in its ability to defend itself against bacterial invasion.

When you are suffering from a cold, you can choose to take over-the-counter or prescription medications, such as decongestants or cough medicines, to suppress the symptoms. However, cold medicines can cause side effects, and they do little to strengthen the immune system or address the underlying reason for the cold. Some commonly used ingredients in cold medications can cause restlessness, insomnia, drowsiness, or headaches. And there is nothing in these products that can actually cure the cold. In contrast, when a cold is treated with herbs to soothe the respiratory tract and boost the immune system, homeopathy to ease the discomforts and prevent recurrences, acupressure to open blocked energy channels, and soups and teas to maintain adequate hydration, the body is supported and strengthened as it works to restore health. For many of the illnesses that afflict us, natural medicine is gentle, effective, and safe. It is an important way to work with the body’s ability to heal itself.

In his book Health and Healing (Houghton Mifflin, 1988), Dr. Andrew Weil wrote, “The only prerequisite for learning to take responsibility for one’s own health is to discard concepts that stand in the way and adopt more useful ones. . . . Anyone who comes to see healing as an innate capacity of the body, rather than something to be sought outside, will gain greater power over the fluctuations of health and illness.”

Being willing to accept responsibility is central to taking an integrated approach to health care. Develop greater faith in your body’s ability to heal itself, when supported and nourished by natural medicines. When faced with illness, use this book to learn and understand the many options for care and healing. Observe how the natural and conventional medical treatments you choose affect your health and well-being. Be both responsible and willing to explore health-care options.

With the information in this book, you can learn to be an active participant in your health care. As you gain confidence and understanding in the use of natural healing systems, in concert with conventional medicine when necessary, you will gain greater confidence in optimizing health and minimizing illness. We invite you to discard the concept that health care is an either-or proposition. It’s not. Integrated health care is a remarkably effective and exciting hands-on endeavor.

Using an integrated approach to health care will strengthen your capabilities. Taking care of yourself in this way will promote a healthy and responsible relationship between you and your health-care practitioner. Learn to pay attention to your body, and to appreciate your own uniqueness and vitality.

The human body is wonderfully responsive. When the body is supported with thoughtful integrated care, the best of natural and conventional medicine, it works quickly to attain full health. By giving nature a nudge—by supporting, nurturing, and nourishing the body’s capacity to heal itself—you can help yourself achieve vibrant good health.

How to Use This Book

This is an in-home guide that will help you maintain your health through a unique approach that seeks to combine the best of conventional medicine, herbal medicine, homeopathy, acupressure, diet, and nutritional supplementation. Written by a naturopathic physician, a medical doctor, and a registered pharmacist and naturopath, it offers advice and explanations of the full spectrum of options available today.

This book is intended to help you make informed health-care decisions. The information and suggestions presented here are meant to be used in conjunction with the services of a physician or other qualified health-care providers. This book is not meant to replace appropriate consultation with health-care practitioners, medical investigation or treatment, or emergency first-aid training by qualified professionals. In fact, we strongly suggest that everyone who is able to do so complete an emergency first-aid course that includes instruction in artificial respiration and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Then, should you ever be called upon to practice these techniques, the emergency instructions we provide will help you through the procedure.

The subjects in this book have been divided into three parts. Part One, The Elements of Health Care, discusses the basic history, theories, and practices of conventional medicine, herbal medicine, homeopathy, Bach flower remedies, acupressure, and aromatherapy. It also covers issues in diet and nutrition, nutritional supplementation, and exercise.

Part Two, Common Health Problems, contains an alphabetic directory of common illnesses, and outlines the different kinds of treatments appropriate for each. Each entry begins with a discussion of the problem, its causes, and how to identify the signs and symptoms. Treatment options follow, including recommendations for emergency treatment, if appropriate, followed by information about conventional medical treatment, dietary guidelines, and information on nutritional supplementation, herbal treatment, homeopathy, Bach flower remedies, acupressure, and aromatherapy. Each entry also includes a section on general recommendations that gives a brief summary of the most commonly helpful natural treatments, plus a section on prevention.

Part Three, Therapies and Procedures, gives specific instructions to help you use the diagnostic and treatment procedures suggested in Part Two. The use of special diets, the preparation of herbal and aromatherapy treatments, the locations of acupressure points, and other techniques are explained and illustrated so that you will be able to take advantage of the various kinds of treatments available to you.

Also included, in an appendix, are a list of references; a glossary of some of the terms used in this book; a list of common medical abbreviations; a list of recommended suppliers of herbal, homeopathic, and nutritional products; a list of helpful resource organizations, with addresses and telephone numbers; and a bibliography for further reading.

Part One

The Elements of Health Care

The Nuts and Bolts of
Conventional and Natural Treatment

Introduction

Each of us plays an invaluable role in his or her wellness care. While you may rely on professionals to help you manage certain aspects of health care, the fact is that you yourself are the best judge of your own health. Building on the understanding you have of your body and how it functions, you can learn to move from general observation toward identifying the signs and symptoms that reveal an illness or other health problem. Even having a vague sense that something is just “not quite right” is valid and important. You know your body. You know when something is wrong.

When we are ill, we want to ease the discomfort quickly and effectively. But conventional and natural therapies alike can seem confusing and overwhelming, just when they are needed most. The approaches to medicine covered in this book include conventional medicine, herbal medicine, homeopathy, acupressure, nutritional supplements, and diet. In Part One you will find historical information, tables, diagrams, and guidelines to help you understand each system of medicine from a conceptual and practical perspective.

Each of the healing systems offers advantages and benefits. Each has drawbacks. This section provides a clear, unbiased look at all protocols. It will help you gain the insight you need to choose an effective course of action and become confident in your ability to provide yourself with effective, comforting, and gentle health care.

Conventional Medicine

When most Americans think of health care, they think of conventional medicine. It is without question the dominant approach to medicine in the United States today, and it permeates (often without our being aware of it) even our basic understanding of sickness and health. For example, many people think of health as being the absence of disease, and when they don’t feel well, they are apt to ask, “Is there something I can take for this?” Both of these ideas reflect the assumptions of modern conventional medicine, which tends to be oriented toward identifying diseases and prescribing cures, usually in the form of drugs.

THE HISTORY OF CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE

The story of the development of the conventional medical science we know today weaves through many centuries and many cultures. If we go back to the dawn of history, we find that the earliest doctors were shamans, and the first medicines were plants.

It is generally accepted that the history of today’s conventional medical science starts with Hippocrates, the Greek physician revered as the “Father of Medicine.” Up to the time of Hippocrates (c. 460–370 B.C.E.), illness was believed to be caused by supernatural forces. Hippocrates taught that all disease was of earthly origin, not visited upon the sufferer by some wrathful god.

It was Hippocrates who set the stage for the scientific procedures of today. He began the practice of bedside observation. He listened to and recorded each patient’s story—today, we would call it a case history—and considered the effects of diet, emotion, occupation, even climate, in his diagnosis and treatment. Through careful observation and logical reasoning, Hippocrates showed that it was possible to determine the cause of illness, and thereby discern the cure.

Hippocrates believed that health was the result of good balance between a person’s internal nature and external environment. Illness indicated an imbalance. To restore balance in his patients, Hippocrates designed special diets, mandated exercise, and prescribed botanical medicines, including an occasional purgative or emetic. For digestive troubles (possibly stomach ulcers), he ordered bland drinks. Hippocrates also recognized the importance of stress reduction. He was known to have recommended to certain patients that they relocate to calmer surroundings, or that they take a glass of wine with supper.

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