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VidaCura Newsletter VidaCura Newsletter: Taking Care of Ourselves: Health and Wellness Information You Can Use
Health and Wellness Information You Can Use
  doctor in house
  Doctors of Medicine (MDs) diagnose illnesses and diseases using examinations, lab tests and biopsies
Is There A Doctor in the House?

Most of us know only one system of medicine. It goes by many names: Traditional Medicine, Western Medicine, Conventional Medicine, Allopathic Medicine.

In this system, Doctors of Medicine (MDs) diagnose illnesses and diseases using examinations, lab tests, biopsies, and high-tech equipment and they treat with drugs and surgery, or a combination of both. Traditional Medicine’s aim, says Steadman’s Medical Dictionary, is “to produce a second condition that is incompatible with or antagonistic to the first” (in short, to produce a cure).

Traditional Medicine works well in emergency situations, for acute illnesses and for some physical rehabilitation. It’s less successful when it comes to wellness promotion, disease prevention, treating psychological illnesses, and management of chronic diseases or pain; which may be why the US has seen a boom in the number of physicians licensed in or using other systems of medicine.

Ayurvedic Medicine
India’s traditional system of natural medicine – practiced there for thousands of years – is an integrated system for maintaining health and preventing and treating illness through proper diet (based on body type); cleansing and detoxifying enemas and douches; vigorous exercise, massage, and yoga; and herbal remedies. Practitioners in the US are often licensed Naturopaths (NDs). For more information, click here.

Chiropractic Medicine
Chiropractic Medicine is a system of medicine based on the relationship between the structure and alignment of the spine, muscles and nervous system. Doctors of Chiropractic Medicine (DCs) earn a 4-year medical degree. While they often use standard techniques and technologies – i.e. physical exams, blood cultures, X-rays – to diagnose problems, they always use spinal manipulation and realignment in treatment. DCs are often the best option for those dealing with chronic back conditions and pain. For more information, click here.

Homeopathy was developed in Germany about 200 years ago by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, a traditionally trained physician. In Europe, training in homeopathy can lead to a Medical Doctor of Homeopathy (MDH) degree; in the US, most practitioners – physicians, nurses, therapists, and health and wellness consultants – are credentialed (DHt, CCH, etc.) in diploma or certificate programs.

Homeopathy is a system of medicine based on the theory that like cures like. Homeopaths use specially compounded “remedies” made of plant, animal, and mineral substances diluted in a water or alcohol “carrier.” For instance, to treat or prevent a cold, a homeopath will give a client a remedy that causes cold-like symptoms. The remedy forces the body’s natural defenses to mobilize, thus preventing or decreasing the appearance of the same symptoms when/if the client encounters cold germs. Increasingly, veterinarians are using homeopathic remedies to treat their “clients,” too. For more information, click here.

Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathy is a system of medicine that evolved in Europe about 200 years ago to provide preventive care and primary care for those dealing with the increasing number of chronic conditions people living longer lives were experiencing. Today, it integrates non-traditional therapies – diet and nutritional regimens, herbal medicine, and homeopathy; massage, acupuncture, and hydrotherapy; chiropractic adjustment, guided imagery and biofeedback counseling – with modern medical diagnostic science and standards of care. Like their counterparts, Doctors of Naturopathy (NDs) must be formally trained and licensed to practice as naturopaths. For more information, click here.

Osteopathic Medicine
Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs) have similar training to MDs. They must pass the same kind of rigorous licensing exam as MDs, and they practice in all medical specialties. While they are able to diagnose and treat all medical conditions, because of additional training focused on the body’s musculoskeletal system, their clients tend to be those with bone, muscle and joint problems – arthritis, back and neck pain, sports injuries, chronic headaches, etc. Due to their focus on these problems, DOs tend to take a holistic approach in both diagnosis and treatment. Currently, DOs make up about 20% of the US’s physician population. For more information, click here.

Traditional Chinese Medicine
In Asia, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a well-developed medical system that is over 4500 years old: in the US, it’s about 35 years old. TCM is a mind-body system of care aimed at keeping the body healthy and preventing illness by maintaining the body’s qi, or vital energy, and keeping the body’s yin and yang, the opposite states that make up all things, balanced. To do that, TCM practitioners use: natural and herbal remedies; acupuncture; diet and nutrition counseling; breathing, posture, and meditation exercises; and Asian massage.

Few US schools offer programs in TCM; their graduates practice as Oriental Medical Doctors (OMD) or Doctors of Oriental Medicine (DOM). However, many MDs, DCs, DOs, NDs, Nurse Practitioners and other health professionals are certified in many of TCM procedures, such as acupuncture, Chinese massage (often called acupressure) and/or Chinese herbal medicine. For more information, click here.

Reality Check:
Quackwatch is a no-holds barred site that has no love for non-traditional medicine. Which makes the site, managed by Dr. Stephen Barret, a retired psychiatrist, award-winning author, consumer health advocate, and vice-president of the National Council Against Health Fraud, an excellent source for gathering both-sides-of-the-issue-information related to non-traditional health and medical care. To stay up to date on consumer health issues, subscribe to the site’s weekly Consumer Health Digest.
August 2009
Newsletter Home
Hip & Knee Replacement
Doctor in the House?
Hearing Aid Primer
Chart Medical Genealogy
Resistance Bands
Get A $557 Tax Incentive
Bad Times = Better Health?
Issue 2: From the Editor
The VidaCura Blog
VidaCura Main Site
AARP Health Resources
New York Times Health
Making Home Safer
Tax Raise Health Plan
Longer Chemotherapy
NPR: On Health Podcast

NPR: Health Care
What if you don't have health insurance? VidaCura Co-founder Larry Berk offers some advice. Read more>

Do bad times equal better health? Read more>
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