This week, our blogger is Regina Hucks. See the x blog to learn more about this very knowlegable woman.
Medicine is traditionally considered a healing profession, and modern medicine claims legitimacy to heal through its scientific approach to medicine.
The marriage of science and medicine has empowered physicians to intervene actively in the course of disease, to affect cures, to prevent illness, and to eradicate disease. In the wake of such success, physicians, trained as biomedical scientists, have focused on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. In the process, cure, not care, became the primary purpose of medicine, and the physician’s role became “curer of disease” rather than “healer of the sick.” 
The medical definition of ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE is : any of various systems of healing or treating disease (as homeopathy, chiropractic, naturopathy, Ayurveda, or faith healing) that are not included in the traditional curricula taught in medical schools of the United States and Britain.
There is an enormity of evidence that Alternative Therapies are becoming the norm rather than the rarity. Physicians across the globe are now integrating alternative therapies into their practices as pharmaceuticals become more dangerous to use, lessening the effect of traditional treatments.
When Alternative Therapies are used in combination with traditional medical practices, it is called complementary medicine, or more likely, INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE. Many Americans have never heard of Integrative Medicine, but this current movement has left its imprint on many of the nation's hospitals, universities, and medical schools in recent years yet has been common practice in many European countries.
The Duke University Center for Integrative Medicine is a classic model of integrative care. It combines conventional Western medicine with alternative or complementary therapies, such as herbal medicine, whole food nutrition therapy, acupuncture, massage and touch therapy, biofeedback, music – sound therapy, yoga, and stress reduction techniques -- all in the effort to treat the whole person. Proponents prefer the term "complementary or alternative" to emphasize that such therapies are used to complement mainstream medicine, and not used as replacements for standardized medical treatments.
With progressively degenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s, LBD or Alzheimer’s, the treatment goals are to alleviate pain, decrease stress and improving quality of life. Due to the serious issues with many of the drugs when normally used to meet these goals, traditional medicine has been only minimally effective.
Alternative therapies are often welcome additions to the traditional treatment regimen. These less conventional modes of treatment have the advantage of being much safer than traditional drug treatment while often being even more helpful. Caregivers can also benefit from incorporating these therapies into their daily care regimes.
One of the most important things I could ever say to you is this: Integrative medicine starts with and depends upon a partnership between the patient, caregiver and the doctor, where the goal is to treat the mind, body, and spirit , all at the same time. If you are reliant on your physician for traditional care, please discuss incorporating Alternative Therapies into a daily care regime before starting anything new.
While some of the therapies used may be non-conventional, a guiding principle within integrative medicine is to use therapies that have some high-quality evidence to support them.
Read more in Regina's blog, Alternative Therapies for Dementia, including:
TREATING THE WHOLE PERSON
WHAT ARE COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES?
HOW ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES WORK WITH CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE IN RELATION TO NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS:
The Problems with Conventional Medicine
Commonalities in Complementary and / or Alternative Therapies
SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE OF THE MIND, BODY, SPIRIT CONNECTION & YOUR HEALTH
References [1 through 5] can be found at the end of Regina's full blog.
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LBD: Lewy body dementia
PD: Parkinson's disease
PlwD: person living with dementia
DLB: dementia with Lewy bodies
PDD: Parkinson's disease with dementia
PlwD, PD, LBD, PDD, etc: person/people living with dementia
PlwPD, LBD, PDD, etc.: person/people living with PD, LBD, PDD, etc.
MCI: mild cognitive impairment
MCI-LB: the form of MCI that precedes LBD
BPSD: behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia
For information about Lewy body disorders, read our books:
A Caregivers’ Guide to Lewy Body Dementia
Managing Cognitive Issues in Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia
Helen and James Whitworth are not doctors, lawyers or social workers. As informed caregivers, they share the information here for educational purposes only. It should never be used instead of a professional's advice.