Alternative & Complementary Medicine

Alternative & Complementary Medicine Articles

You can practice mindfulness in as little as 15 minutes a day

By Marlynn Wei, MD, JD, for more information on this study, see my blog post. In the research conducted by Dr. James E. Stahl and his team of Harvard researchers, study volunteers participated in an 8-week mind-body relaxation program offered through the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. The program taught a range of mind-body skills. More »

Could hypnotherapy help you?

Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis to treat any number of mental or physical health problems. Hypnosis turns your attention inward. Usually, you enter a trance-like state and, with the guidance of a hypnotherapist, you can start to control or alter your thoughts, feelings, and physical state.   (Locked) More »

When medications make you sensitive to sunlight

Sunlight can cause a reaction when a person is taking certain prescription drugs, such as some diuretics, antibiotics, antihistamines, anti-arrhythmics, antiseizure medicines, and antidepressants. These medications, known as photosensitizers, can make the skin especially sensitive to the sun’s radiation. Exposure to that radiation can cause overly reddened “sunburned” skin, hives, swelling, and itchy, scaly skin. When taking these mediations, it’s best to limit the amount of time spent out in the sun and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. (Locked) More »

Cardiovascular consequences of hormone therapy

Hormone therapy after menopause does not shield women from heart disease and may slightly increase their risk of a stroke. Women who take hormones to treat menopause symptoms should use the lowest possible dose for a short time only. (Locked) More »

Heat therapy for rheumatoid arthritis

Heat helps improve your pain tolerance and relaxes muscles, both of which can reduce the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. Heat treatment remains a standard part of the physical therapist's practice. But you don't need to visit a physical therapist to reap the benefits of heat therapy. Here are some techniques you can use at home. Warm bath or shower. A hot tub or a bathtub equipped with water jets can closely duplicate the warm-water massage of whirlpool baths used by professionals—for most people, the bathtub works nearly as well. Soaking for 15 to 20 minutes in a warm bath allows the weight-bearing muscles to relax. A warm shower can also help lessen the stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis. You can upgrade your shower with an adjustable shower-head massager that's inexpensive and easy to install. It should deliver a steady, fine spray or a pulsing stream, usually with a few options in between. More »

Acupuncture for rheumatoid arthritis

Acupuncture has been a staple of Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. Acupuncturists insert hair-thin needles into the skin at points on the body. It is virtually painless when done by an experienced practitioner. Inserting the needles is thought to correct imbalances in the flow of energy in the body, called qi (pronounced "chee"). In Western scientific terms, the effect of acupuncture is to adjust the body's neurotransmitters, hormone levels, or immune system. There is not a lot of definitive research on acupuncture and rheumatoid arthritis although some data suggest it can be helpful. If you want to try acupuncture, be sure to choose a licensed practitioner. Most states require a license to practice acupuncture. The requirements, education, and training standards for licensure vary from state to state. If your state does not require a license, choose a practitioner who is licensed in another state or is certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. More »

8 pill-free ways to lower your blood pressure

There are many ways to try to lower blood pressure without medication. Aerobic activity improves the blood vessels’ ability to open and close, which improves blood flow. Losing weight reduces the workload on the heart. Getting rid of refined grains, sugary foods, and saturated fats and replacing them with fresh vegetables and fruits, fiber, whole grains, and lean meats can reduce inflammation and damage to the blood vessel walls. Other ways to reduce blood pressure include smoking cessation, controlling underlying conditions, limiting alcohol intake, and meditation. (Locked) More »