Alternative & Complementary Medicine

Alternative & Complementary Medicine Articles

Dietary supplements: Dubious value, hidden dangers

Americans spend nearly $37 billion annually on dietary supplements. But they are not subject to the same regulations governing the quality and safety of prescription drugs, and most lack evidence of health benefits Many large clinical trials demonstrate that fish oil supplements do not prevent heart disease in healthy people. But these products can still include “may support heart health” claims on their labels. Other types of supplements include widely variable amounts of active ingredients, while others may contain a potentially harmful heart stimulant. (Locked) More »

A deeper look at psoriasis

Psoriasis, a common skin condition, affects more men than women. While it doesn’t affect everyone the same way, the approach to treatment and prevention is often similar. There is no cure yet for psoriasis. The optimal goal of treatment is to reduce affected areas to 1% or less of the body surface area within three months, and to manage triggers to help prevent future outbreaks. (Locked) More »

The drug-free approach to pain management

One of the main reasons for the growing addiction to pain medicine is the ease at which it is often prescribed. Yet, depending on a person’s type and severity of pain, there may be nondrug options available that can help control, manage, and perhaps treat the underlying cause of painful flare-ups. These include physical therapy, yoga, mind-body therapies, and complementary treatments, among others. More »

Managing your medications before a medical procedure

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), anticoagulants, and certain herbs and supplements can increase the risk of bleeding with surgery. They may need to be stopped before a procedure. However, some medications, such as those taken to manage blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, or type 2 diabetes, may need to be taken on the day of surgery. Instructions for stopping or restarting medications and supplements should come from one’s doctor, at least one week before the surgery. (Locked) More »

Yoga can help with low back pain relief

A 12-week yoga program that focused on strengthening the core and improving mobility helped reduce pain and improve quality of life among people who suffered from chronic low back pain. More »

Marijuana and heart health: What you need to know

More than half of the states in the United States have approved medical marijuana programs. Although the cannabis plant has been used for thousands of years, reliable scientific research on its medical benefits and potential risks has lagged behind. Limited evidence shows that smoked marijuana may trigger heart attacks in people who are vulnerable. More »

The finer points of acupuncture

The ancient practice of acupuncture has been used to help heal and manage ailments such as chronic pain, low back pain, and arthritis. The treatment involves inserting hair-thin needles into specific points on the body to help release energy that may be blocked because of illness or other imbalances. While the supporting research is ongoing and mixed, men may benefit from the treatment either by itself or as part of traditional pain therapy. (Locked) More »

The power of the placebo effect

The idea that the brain can convince the body a fake treatment is the real thing—the so-called placebo effect—and thus stimulate healing has been around for millennia. But research has shown that under the right circumstances, a placebo can be just as effective as traditional treatments. (Locked) More »