Moxibustion Therapy

Traditional Eastern medicine has been practiced the world over for thousands of years. These natural healing procedures have become increasingly popular for those seeking relief from physical and emotional ailments.

The main types of traditional Eastern medicine include acupuncture, moxibustion or heat therapy, herbal medicine, Chinese therapeutic massage, Tai Chi and lifestyle counseling.

Greg Lane, director of Clinical Services at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego, said these complementary and alternative procedures are sometimes the first choice for patients searching for help on a wide variety of health issues.

The origins of traditional Eastern medicine date back to archaeological discoveries of stone needles thousands of years ago in the Neolithic era, Lane said. Since then, scholars and physicians have spent considerable time understanding and educating themselves and others on the foundations for the practices.

Advocates said the benefits of traditional Eastern medicine are plentiful, including pain relief. And many people report better sleep, less stress and a general feeling of peacefulness after experiencing an Eastern medicine modality, Lane said.

Many traditional medicines involve the use of natural substances.

Moxibustion, for example, involves the burning of the herb mugwort, and has been used to treat cancers. The American Cancer Society, while not endorsing its use, said a 2010 review of studies of moxibustion use during chemo “suggested that it might help reduce the [associated] nausea and vomiting,” but cautioned that the research methods were not rigorous enough to be certain.

Ayurveda is another traditional Eastern medicine that began in India. It includes using herbs, nutrition, acupressure massage and yoga. Ayurveda seeks to restore an individual’s balance and harmony, contributing to a healthy, long life.

Ayurveda is based on three basic principles: diet, sleep and exercise. In Ayurveda, food is the No. 1 preventative medicine.

According to Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, Ayurveda connects weight gain or loss to how balanced a person’s mind, emotions, diet, digestion, metabolism and appetite are. When all are in balance, weight, too, is balanced.

Naturopathic medicine is another type of traditional Eastern medicine. David Powell, a naturopathic doctor, or ND, with Chaparral Naturopathic Medicine in San Diego said that NDs are licensed medical professionals who perform physical exams, blood work and other testing just like conventional doctors. The treatment provided, however, is based on a holistic perspective.

“These treatments can include diet and lifestyle counseling, nutritional and herbal supplements as well as bio-identical hormones, homeopathy, etc.,” Powell said.

Rather than use medications to control or alleviate ailments, Powell said naturopathic medicine uses alternative therapies to rebalance the body so it is in a position to heal itself. For example, specific exercise, herbal supplements and removing or identifying foods to reduce high blood pressure or cholesterol levels is the approach taken by an ND.

“Of course, there are times where conventional medicine excels,” Powell said. “But there are times that chronic conditions, anti-aging therapies and hormone replacement and other non-life threatening conditions may be better treated using alternative therapies.”

While traditional medicines have firm roots in the past, the field is constantly innovating, practitioners said.

“Today we no longer use stone needles and have replaced them with single-use sterilized surgical-grade stainless steel,” Lane said. “We continue to use the classic herbal formulas and have modern modifications to fit the specific needs of today’s population.”


Source : San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Aug 2013

Eastern Medicine Seeks To Balance

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