AMERICAN PSYCHOSOMATIC SOCIETY www.psychosomatic.org/
The American Psychosomatic Society is one of the major organizations involved in understanding the relationship between mind, body and spirit. It was founded in 1942 for the scientific understanding of the whole human system and promoting improved health. The original effort was to assemble the psychosomatic medical literature to examine the relationship of religion to health. Their first volume was Emotions and Bodily Changes published in 1935.
Also called Mind-Body Science, it is the focal point for research into the mind-body connection. In a March 2006 article in the Wall Street Journal entitled "All In Your Head? Yes, and Scientists Are Figuring Out Why," association president, Richard Lane said "With the explosion in neuroscience, mind-body medicine can now bring the brain in. That holds out the possibility of moving from correlation to mechanism" showing how the mind is related to the body.
The article went on to explain that everyone is aware at an almost instinctive level that how you think and feel affects your body but because scientists haven't found the mechanisms, the medical community hasn't taken the concept seriously. New research offers brain-based explanations which give greater credibility to the concept so doctors will be more likely to recognize the importance of the mind to the health of the body.
ANTHROPOSOPHICALLY EXTENDED MEDICINE (AEM) www.artemisia.net
Anthroposophically Extended Medicine was developed by Rudolf Steiner and Ita Wegman, M.D. as a holistic approach to medicine. The name describes the fact that all practitioners must first be licensed medical doctors before taking additional training in therapy, alchemy and the spiritual scientific studies outlined by Rudolf Steiner. While it recognizes the accomplishments of Western medicine, it goes further by adding knowledge in the areas of the psyche and spiritual. The synergy from this combination provides for an integrated view of the human being as a living organism.
There are four integrated parts in each human being. First is the Physical Body which is the focus of Western medicine. The second part is called the Etheric Body, which is the higher power that directs the body's growth and regeneration. The third part is the Astral Body, which is what gives us our instincts and the qualities of our soul. The fourth is the unique human concept of Ego, which gives us the power to shape our own destiny. Together they form a framework for diagnosis and therapy.
The major principles of AEM include that Spirit manifests both within human beings and outside in the substances of nature. That wisdom which created nature also works in people. Every substance or process in nature corresponds directly to the inner workings of man.
Art is an indispensable part of life and artistic therapies can strongly affect the disease processes. Every AEM treatment aims to enhance the life force of the patient. This personal power is the basis for improved health along with deepened self-knowledge.
Mistletoe is an example of the use of natural plants and substances. It has been used as a medicine for cancer patients in Europe since 1917. Patients widely use the prescription product in many countries including Germany. The substance is said to support the immune system and improve the quality of life of cancer patients.
The Anthroposophical Spiritual Science is a fundamental part of this approach. Centuries of this knowledge have been developed by monastics, alchemists, Rosicrucians, Auroleus Phillipus Theostratus Bombastus von Hohenheim (known as "Paracelsus") and Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (the founder of homeopathic medicine) among others. Out of Anthroposophical Medicine, specialized disciplines of Therapeutic Eurythmy, Rhythmical Massage, clay modeling, painting and music therapy have evolved.
In the U.S., the Physicians' Association for Anthroposophical Medicine was founded in 1981. AEM is a leader in the holistic health movement in Europe. (Also see listing for Therapeutic Eurythmy.)
Ayurveda in Sanskrit means "The Science of Life" and it's believed to be more than 5,000 years old making it one of the oldest health systems in the world. Developed in India, Ayurvedic medicine focuses on developing a balance of mind, body and spirit to maintain health and prevent illness. Each person is unique, with an individual energy signature, their own mix of physical, mental and emotional characteristics. Proper thinking, lifestyle, diet and herbs are used to achieve proper balance for each person. There are many similarities between Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The vital energy of a person is called Prana which is centered around the energy centers in the body called Chakras. Unlike the Chinese system of Yin/Yang, the Indian energy system has three separate elements or doshas:
Vata Dosha - composed of space and air, it is the energy of movement.
Patta Dosha - is made of fire and water, it's the body's metabolic processes.
Kapha Dosha - is the glue that holds it together, the body's structure represented by earth and water.
Ayurveda uses a holistic approach with therapies that appeal to all of the senses to treat each individual. Practitioners may use Taste (herbs and nutrition); Touch (massage, yoga, exercise); Smell (aromatherapy); Sight (color therapy); Hearing (music therapy, mantra meditation, chanting) and Spiritual therapy. The system is about more than health, it's about living.
In many cases, a practitioner will begin by recommending a Panchakarma or cleansing process to eliminate the accumulated toxins in the body. Basti refers to giving medications rectally to treat vata dosha, or problems related to Vata by cleansing the colon. Nasya means giving medications nasally and may be either wet or dry. Virechana means cleansing of the pitta through the lower pathways.
In the U.S. today, Ayurveda positions itself as a complement to Western medicine, a way to prevent illness by reducing stress and maintaining balance so the body's own defenses can function effectively.
USER COMMENTS: "This healing system is completely individualized and comprehensive. It's about what type of body you have and the healthiest lifestyle for you. Imbalance in the body leads to disease and malfunction so everything is about maintaining balance. Since I'm a "patta" or fire, I have to cut down on spicy foods in the summer. Ayurveda isn't interested in putting a particular name on a disease, they want to know the cause of the problem. They realize that the same set of symptoms can come from a variety of imbalances depending on each individual, which is why they're so focused on each person. They'll check your tongue, fingernails, all sorts of tests and talk with you about your life and lifestyle to completely learn who you are before trying to determine what the source of the problem really is. Individual differences also make a huge difference in their prescriptions to improve your health depending on your body.
"This process focuses on the body's normal functions which are so often stymied in America. We have air conditioning so we don't sweat toxins from our body. We go to the bathroom on breaks, not when we want to, frustrating the body's attempt to eliminate waste and toxins in a timely manner which leads to plaque build up in the colon. You can see how it's not hard to let toxins build up to the point that there is a problem.
"There is even balance for the mind and spirit as well since too much media can cause imbalance in that part of your total body system. They believe in a media fast to create balance since many diseases (smoking, alcoholism, etc.) can result from mental imbalances. They also use a head massage with oils to cool the head so the body can function properly. Massage, especially with oils, is a big part of their process because it helps them move toxins around and out of the body."
"These herbs are an organic part of my 'medicine cabinet' and many have gained respect from other Western scientists."
"As a limo driver I never leave my car. I drive and eat in the seat and get no exercise. My stomach was hurting and not digesting any foods. The Fire Harmony has improved my digestion and I get out stretching once in awhile."
"I have been giving my children Water Harmony during the winter months and they are the only ones in their class not to get the flu."
ENERGY MEDICINE (EChT) www.iabc.readywebsites.com/page/page/623957.htm
The new science of Energy Medicine is based on the scientific discovery of a new circulatory system in the human body for electrical energy. This process is remarkably similar to the meridian concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
This new physiologic concept was discovered by internationally renowned Swedish radiologist and surgeon Dr. Bjorn E. W. Nordenstrom and published in Biologically Closed Electrical Circuits (1983). Beginning in the mid-1950s Dr. Nordenstrom noticed radiating patterns around cancer tumors on chest X-rays which he called corona structures because they reminded him of the sun's corona. Additional study revealed fluctuating electrical charges within the tumors. This led to the discovery of a new type of system, an electrical circuit that involves the transportation of ions and electrons throughout the body. This circulating current helps maintain the body's equilibrium and healing processes by influencing cellular structure and function.
Blood plasma and interstitial fluid are examples of media capable of conducting current while blood vessel walls, cells and membranes surrounding interstitial spaces provide insulation to the surroundings. In other words, they're insulated electric cables providing communication within the body through electromagnetic signaling. These flowing electrical charges found in the body resemble the "yin and yang" concepts and the flow of Chi discovered 5,000 years ago in ancient China.
The editor of The American Institute of Stress, Paul J. Rosch, M.D., F.A.C.P. wrote in his review of the book that "... he has demonstrated how specific DC microcurrents that restore ion electricity balance can be utilized to treat metastic lung cancer and other malignancies with amazing success, and his therapeutic triumphs have now been replicated by others in thousands of patients." Following a report by Dr. Tim Johnson on ABC's 20/20 program, host Barbara Walters expressed amazement at this medical breakthrough. Thousands of cancer patients around the world have now successfully been treated with electrochemical therapy (EChT) using Dr. Nordenstrom's BCEC concepts.
There are only a few limited trials being conducted in America today. In what may be one of the most fundamental paradigm shifts in medicine since William Harvey discovered blood circulation 350 years ago, America is taking a back seat in research. Unable to secure funding and support in America, Dr. Nordenstrom was welcomed by China to continue his research. The current five year survival rates for liver cancer are reported to be about 15% in China compared to 5% in the U.S. where they're treated with conventional therapies. In 2001, Dr. Nordenstrom received the International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Award from the People's Republic of China for his work.
EChT treatment is available in Germany, China and other countries. Costs are reported to be in the $7,500 (U.S.) range with treatment taking up to two weeks.
The International Association for Biologically Closed Electric Circuits (BCEC) in Medicine and Biology was founded in 1993 for the development of electrotherapeutic, thermotherapeutic and magnetotherapeutic techniques, along with conventional therapies, for the treatment of health problems including cancer.
ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE Website: www.aaem.com, www.aehf.com. www.niehs.nih.gov
Environmental Medicine is a new perspective and approach that decreases the focus on the disease and increases the awareness of the causes, frequently the environment of the person. It is a comprehensive, proactive, patient-centric approach to medical care dedicated to the management and prevention of environmental problems. In contrast, Western medicine often treats the environment and diet as benign factors in the health equation even though there continues to be explosive growth in the occurrence of more complex and chronic diseases in America.
The new model of environmental medicine employs both Western and Eastern concepts with an appreciation that human beings are constantly coping and adapting to a dynamic environment. Homeodynamic functioning refers to the maintenance of health as an active process with optimal health being a balance of physical, neuro-cognitive, psychological and social wellbeing. Stressors to this balance range from organic substances like molds and pollens to man-made chemicals and physical factors like heat, cold, noise and various types of radiation. Treatments for each patient must be customized because each person is a unique organism.
Treatment begins with patient education about the nature of the illness. Therapies may include customized diets, nutritional supplements, immunotherapies, psychotherapies, detoxification therapies, drugs and possibly even surgery.
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine was formed in 1965. It provides the only comprehensive continuing education and training program for MDs and DOs in environmental medicine. The American and International Boards of Environmental Medicine are independent groups which grant board certification and establish educational and training criteria. As with all therapies, it is recommended that customers research and review the training and qualifications of their providers.
HOLISTIC MEDICINE www.ahha.org, www.holisticmedicine.org
Holistic Medicine is an approach of healing that encompasses the whole person-body, mind and spirit. It involves both conventional and complimentary therapies for greater health and to prevent disease.
Holistic healthcare providers see people as the sum of body, mind, spirit and the systems in which they live. Imbalances in the physical, emotional, spiritual or social environments can result in a loss of health. Healing takes place naturally when these elements are brought into proper balance. Practitioners of Holistic Medicine actively promote health with the goal of preventing illness rather than dealing with symptoms.
Everyone has the power to heal their own body, mind and spirit and the holistic medicine approach is to help patients discover and use these powers. While practitioners believe that love is the most powerful healer in life, they also utilize a variety of resources and approaches to meet the unique needs of each individual. They work with the latest developments of conventional medicine, but they also use options from a variety of healing traditions.
Insurance coverage varies so it is best to discuss your options with your carrier before visiting the holistic doctor's office. In many cases, there is no reimbursement but one option may be for you to increase the amount of deductible in your plan and use the savings for the cost of preventative holistic healthcare. After all, preventing illness and focusing on wellness are the most cost effective form of healthcare in the long run.
The American Holistic Medical Association was created in 1978. Membership is open to medical doctors, doctors of osteopathic medicine and medical students. Board certification in holistic medicine is by certification exam from the American Board of Holistic Medicine.
HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINE or Homeotherapeutics www.homeopathyusa.org, homeopathic.org
Homeopathy or homeotherapeutics is a system of medicine based on the Law of Similars, or "let likes be cured by likes". It takes a holistic perspective of people and illness with the goal of promoting optimal health. According to the World Health Organization, it is the second most practiced form of medicine in the world today. The U.S. survey on complementary and alternative medicine (2002) reported that 1.7% of those questioned said they'd used homeopathy in the prior 12 months and 3.6% said they'd used it at some time in their lives.
Excerpted from Unbreak your Healthby Alan E. Smith Copyright © 2007 by Alan E. Smith & Co.. Excerpted by permission.
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