Baby Boomers Use Alternative Medicine

According to a recent study conducted at Ohio State University, about 70 percent of the 50 Plus market use alternative medicine. Funded by the National Institute on Aging, Professor Gong-Soog Hong spearheaded a survey that included almost 900 participants aged 50 and above. 65 percent of seniors who described themselves in poor health said they used some form of alternative medicine they considered either curative or preventive–a higher percentage than any other group.

Baby boomers are searching for other ways to alleviate symptoms such as chronic pain and arthritis, as well as utilizing alternative therapies as preventive medicine. Chiropractic care topped the list with a whopping 43% of respondents, while acupuncture came in last.

Last fall, another survey of baby boomers was conducted by Sorelli B, a national research firm. This particular study showed than more than one third of those surveyed said that chiropractic care prevented the need for prescription drugs and physical therapy. The respondents also believed that chiropractic care helped them avoid back surgery and long, grueling, hospital stays. Close to 60 percent of those surveyed stated they would be willing to petition their insurance companies to include chiropractic as a component of their health care plan even though they were willing to pay for those services out-of-pocket.

The other most popular methods of alternative medicine include massage therapy, breathing exercises, herbal medicine and meditation.

The first study looking at alternative medicine use among seniors with depression finds that close to 20 percent are using gingko biloba, ginseng, St. John’s Wort and other herbal remedies. The surprising findings could cause concern with physicians who treat baby boomers as most patients were unaware of the risks of potential drug interactions.

Helen Kale, M.D., from the University of Michigan says, “The results merit further study and suggest that seniors may have entered the alternative medicine market ina big way, much bigger than we thought.”

Why alternative medicine? Older adults are searching for different kind of treatment to lessen the aches and pains that often come with age. Seniors are reporting problems with daily activities such as carrying groceries, eating or bathing. Moreover, many of them are simply not satisfied with mainstream health care and often have issues with the current state of conventional health care. “Older adults tend to have more chronic illnesses and conventional medicine doesn’t always solve their problems,” says Hong.

In addition, the survey showed that because the treatment of chronic pain is very difficult and demanding, people living in such pain will try everything possible to alleviate it.

According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), the percentage of the 50 plus market who received a massage from a massage therapist in the past five years has almost tripled. Why do baby boomers get massage? For health reasons, according to the survey. Seniors even indicated they seek massage for health reasons (other than stress relief and relaxation) more than any other age group (41 percent).

The least popular practice of alternative medicine surfaced in the U.S. in the 1970s, Acupuncture has gained acceptance as an alternative to traditional Western medicine for pain relief and for treating a variety of other health conditions. Studies show that baby boomers who sufffer from muscle and bone pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and other ranges of problems, are giving acupuncture a try to lessen their symptoms.

The health-minded baby boomer generation is also exercising. Being physically active is the solution to maintaining the quality of life for adults 50 years and older. 16 million seniors exercise at least three times per week. From 1987 to 1995, the number of 50-plus health club members jumped 199%, and the number of 65-plus who joined health clubs jumped a staggering 669%. According to the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), most active adult communities are responding to this need by including wellness centers within their planned communities. Plus, age-targeted programs have been shown to be quite popular with tremendous benefits to other types of senior housing, fitness facilities and publicly-sponsored community recreation programs.

Interestingly enough, day spas are quickly becoming a hot market for those aged 50 and better. Instead of the usual day spa fare of facials and waxing, now medical spas or MedSpas are cropping up in the market. MedSpas take all the comfort and care of day spas, yet add the latest in medical technology. Mud packs and cucumber slices have been replaced with high-tech advanced fluorescence technology, microdermabrasion, and ultrasound technologies–all designed to help the 50 plus market feel better about their appearance.

Although alternative medicine plays a huge role in the lives of baby boomers, when it comes to health, there is no comparison to preventive measures. The Southeastern Institute of Research found that the 50 plus market say some of the most important things to do to stay healthy are to get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet. It’s no wonder that life expectancy has increased by 30 years in the past century.

As health care costs continue to rise, baby boomers will continue to seek alternative medicine and transform into “health boomers.” They have defined health care because they’re strong, vocal, and know what they want. Boomers are healthier than any generation of seniors in history and live longer, happier lives.

Traditional Chinese Medicine: Acupuncture Points and Charts

What Are the Acupuncture Points?

The English translation of ‘acupuncture points’ is not very accurate. Acupuncture is one of the many healing methods used in traditional Chinese Medicine. It inserts fine needles into the sensitive points on the body to stimulate Jingluos (meridians) to cure diseases. These sensitive points are called ‘Shuxue’ or ‘Xuewei’ in Chinese Medicine, meaning ‘the transmitting points’. However, this name has been so widely used, there is no point to change it now for our discussion.

Acupuncture points are the responsive points or sensitive points on the meridians and other parts of the body. They are the special locations where energy is transmitted between the inner structures and the surface of the body. These spots can reflect disease or unhealthy conditions by giving forth painful sensations when touched or pressed. These points are (but not limited to) where the therapists apply treatments. When the body is deficient of positive energy, negative or harmful energy will be able to invade the body through these spots, causing illness. Stimulating the related points can boost and mobilize the positive energy, balance Yin/Yang energy and cure the disease. There are three types of points:

1. 14-main-meridian points

2. Extraordinary points

3.’Yes’ points.

The 14-main-meridian points are the spots on the 12 main meridians plus the spots on the governor and conception vessels. Each spot has a unique name and a fixed location. They are the main acupuncture points. The extraordinary points are the points that have names and fixed locations. These locations are not on a particular meridian. ‘Yes’ points are also called pain points, but they don’t have names or fixed locations. They are the sensitive points related to the diseases. The ‘yes ‘name came from a story. When treating a patient, the doctor pressed a spot unintentionally, and the patient uttered ‘oh yes’.

There are approximately 360 acupuncture points in total on the human body. With so many tiny points to remember, one can easily be intimidated. As a matter of fact, for self -healing and caring purposes, we don’t have to memorize all these points. We only need to remember roughly 20 most used and effective points. If you need to use more points, just look for them using the meridian and acupuncture point charts. Each point has a unique and meaningful name, which gives some key information about this particular point, such as main function, usage, location, or other. In English, the English spelling of the Chinese names are directly used. For people who don’t understand Chinese, it is hard to comprehend the significance of each name and, therefore hard to remember all the foreign sounding names.The format of the international symbols for acupuncture points is fairly easy. Since most of the points belong to one specific meridian (Jing), it only makes sense that their symbols are associated with those meridians. You can take two abbreviation letters of that meridian’s name and number all the points along the way, from the starting point to the end point. For example: the name of the Xue-hai point means ‘the sea of blood’ in Chinese and can be used for blood-related issues. Its English symbol is SP10, because it belongs to the spleen meridian and is the 10thpoint from the start.

How to Find an Acupuncture Point?

When considering an acupuncture point as a tiny point, it might be really difficult to find it. However, if you think of it as a small precise area, it becomes quite easy. To locate a subject on a 2D plane, you need 2 coordinates. To locate an sensitive point, we use a reference point and a distance. The reference point is a known location on the body, such as ‘the tip of the nose’, ‘the highest point of the ankle bone’ etc. The distance is measured by your own hand. The unit is ‘cun’. The width of your thumb at the mid joint is one ‘cun’, the width of middle three fingers at the mid joints is two ‘cun’, the width of the four fingers (without the thumb) at mid joints is three ‘cun’. How do you know if you have found the right point? When you press on it, if you feel kind of sore and sense a little pain (acute pain means you are not well somewhere), then you are on the right spot. Every main meridian has a primary point. That is the point where the primary energy of this meridian originates. Stimulating this point is one of the most effective ways to boost the positive energy found in this meridian.

Sadness, Grief, Anger, Resentment – How Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Help

In life there are many genuine reasons to grieve, to feel sad, to get angry or to feel resentful. The death of a loved one, the loss of a job, being disregarded in your work or personal life, the ongoing challenges of the material world that we live in, not feeling fulfilled, dysfunctional relationships, broken relationships, the loss of a pet… the list is almost endless.

What makes the situation even more difficult is that in today’s society we are often under so much stress that the emotion is not given permission to vent or surface properly, which can lead to other difficult emotions and stronger feelings of sadness, grief, anger etc. and it is a self perpetuating situation.

A Look At Sadness, Grieving & Western Medicine

If you are sad or grieving and you live in a "western civilised country" then you may consider going to a doctor. Friends and family may be supportive, but as the emotion/s persists you and your support group may feel there is no better option. In many cases, depending on how the patient expresses these emotions, the doctor may decide to prescribe anti-depressants to help them.

There may be some cases where as a temporary measure this can appear to help, and unfortunately many other cases where it is the slippery slope to a dependency on prescription drugs.

Of course there are also doctors who may recommend counselling or some form of talk therapy, to give the patient the opportunity to deal with and vent the emotion/s.

Regardless of the route that is chosen, Western medicine does not recognise that certain emotions are linked to specific organs, and can therefore have either a detrimental effect or a balancing effect, depending on the degree and type of emotion experienced.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Recognises Relationships Between Emotions And Organs

However traditional Chinese medicine does recognise the relationship between emotions and organs, and it is an integral aspect of how both traditional Chinese acupuncturists and herbalists practice.

Even if you have no interest in going to a traditional Chinese medical practitioner, I have found that even by observing shifts in general well being, when you understand the inter-relationships between emotions and organs, can give some helpful indications of how to begin re-balancing these imbalances.

For example, doing something creative that you enjoy can give you these type of signals. Walking in nature can also do the same, as can reading something enriching. These are only a handful of examples of potentially balancing activities. Please note that although these are helpful, it would be highly recommended to visit a good practitioner who will help you re-balance thoroughly.

In traditional Chinese Medicine there are 7 emotions which are:

1. Anger

2. Anxiety

3. Fear

4. Fright

5. Grief

6. Joy

7. Pensiveness

Each of these is associated to a different organ or organs. Let’s look very briefly at what these are.

1. Anger which encompasses anger as we know it, as well as resentment, frustration and irritability is linked to the liver.

2. Anxiety is connected to the lungs.

3. Fear or perceived fear is linked to the kidneys.

4. Fright is a sudden experience that will initially affect the heart but over time as the fright converts into a conscious fear, then it will also affect the kidneys.

5. Grief has a direct connection to the lungs and if it passes the stage of normal initial grief and manifests into chronic grief, then it may weaken the lungs.

6. Joy is related to the heart. In traditional Chinese medicine the emotion of joy refers to an agitated overexcited state.

7. Pensiveness in TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) refers to over thinking or too much mental stimulation, which relates to the spleen.

These short snippets barely touch on the relationships, which are rather complex and also encompass the five elements (wood, earth, fire, metal and water). However my intention is to introduce the subject at this time, and to examine it in terms of the difficult emotions of sadness and grief, which is illustrated in the following case study.

A Case Study – Grief, Sadness, Stress, Anger And Resentment

A patient of Dr. Jingduan Yang, who is a fourth generation doctor of Chinese medicine, a board certified psychiatrist and a contributor to the Huffington post, is a good case study of grief, sadness, anger, resentment and stress.

This patient, whom he calls "Nancy", a woman of 30, had been suffering with lower abdomen pain for 3 months, which got worse after drinking cold drinks or eating oily food. A doctor she had attended had prescribed her medication which attacked the symptoms but not the cause, after not being able to discover any physical signs of infection, cancer, inflammation or other tangible condition.

However upon attending Dr. Jingduan Yang, it became apparent that her symptoms were indeed her friends and were desperately trying to tell her something important. "Nancy" had been ignoring the grief of losing a long term friend, which was combined with five years of stress of almost constant relocation and professional pressure.

A difficult routine, eating habits that were not conducive to a balanced life and health, married with grief, sadness, anger and resentment were brought back into balance by a combined holistic approach, which incorporated a course of acupuncture, herbal remedies, meditation, qi gong, and improved dietary and eating habits. This lady was helped to re-balance, as well as understanding the messages which her symptoms were giving and taking part in practices which gave her back more responsibility over her own health.

Grief and sadness are recognised in Chinese medicine to weaken the normal energy flow (qi) of the lungs as well as the large intestines.

Anger and resentment (a form of anger) are recognised to create blockages of energy (qi) and blood in the liver and gallbladder channels. In turn this can result in pain, mood swings, indigestion, insomnia and dysmenorrhea.

This is one case study of hundreds of thousands of studies that traditional Chinese practitioners have all around the world. Even if you feel sceptical about trying TCM, remember it has, and continues to help millions of people deal with the root cause of their imbalances and not just the symptoms. It is a great way to maintain a healthy body, mind and spirit. It can help you understand and deal with your emotions before they become chronic, and can help you re-discover parts of yourself that became drowned in pools of stress and chronic emotions.

If you have been feeling any or some of these emotions, it can be a great relief to deal with them with the aid of a good practitioner.

Korean Body Type Acupuncture – 8 Constitution Medicine

Eight Constitution Medicine is a completely new medical paradigm and has cured intractable and previously incurable diseases. It was first presented to the world in 1965 by Dowon Kuon, a world renowned acupuncturist that is currently treating cancer patients and conducting research at Jesun Acupuncture Clinic and Dawnting Cancer Research Institute in South Korea. His findings have stayed true after 47 years and 1 million plus clinical cases: all human beings regardless of gender or race can be classified into eight different human individualities or constitutions.

Each constitution has dynamic associations between internal organs. Some people are born with lungs that are strong but with a weaker liver. Others entered this world with weak lungs yet have strong functioning livers. Additional weak/strong pairs are: kidneys and pancreas, stomach and bladder, large intestine and gallbladder. Dr. Kuon refers to this state as ‘suitably unbalanced’. Maintaining this state optimizes the immune function of the human body. So when a person’s strong internal organ becomes overly strong or a weak one deteriorates, his body can succumb to illness.

If this person sought treatment in Eight Constitution Medicine for his illness, the state of their internal organs at birth would dictate their treatment. It would be completely personalized from someone else who may have the same illness because their constitutions would be totally different. By identifying the weaker internal organs at birth, it is also that much easier to understand the cause of an illness.

The idea is currently gaining ground of focusing on the cause of a disease rather than just treating the symptoms. While Oriental Medicine has operated under such theories for thousands of years, Eight Constitution Medicine elegantly connects the physiology and pathology of each constitution and its twelve internal organs (Liver, Lungs, Kidney, Large intestine, Small Intestine, Gallbladder, Stomach, Heart, Urinary Bladder, Pancreas, Pericardium, San Jiao). It is also complete in addressing what elements outside of the body such as the consumption of foods would optimize each constitution.

One easy to understand application of these findings is in the treatment high cholesterol. The typical one size fits all approach is reducing red meat consumption and increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables. However, over 90% of cholesterol is generated in the liver and so the impact of foods eaten is actually minimal. With Eight Constitution Medicine, the focus is in balancing the internal organ functions so that they are at optimal levels and performing appropriately for the body.

Introduction To Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) involves the use of Chinese herbal medicine, Acupuncture, Moxibustion, Qi gong, Tuina (Chinese massage), and a medicated diet, and is one of the world’s most ancient medical systems, with its own principles, diagnostic methods and therapies. It has become very popular in the west.

Meridians and Collaterals

TCM views the meridians and collaterals networks using Zang-Fu, which categorises tissues and organs in an organic whole. Each Zang and Fu organ transports Qi and blood, and regulates Yin and Yang, maintaining the functions and activities of all parts of the body. This system guides the diagnosis, treatment and application of all the branch subjects of TCM.

Yin and Yang

TCM also holds as its central belief that health in all parts of body is due to the relationship between Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang theory is the general principle used to classify in TCM’s holistic approach to health and disease, and also offers a clinical guide to preventing and curing disease.

Diagnosis

TCM’s diagnosis depends merely on the doctor’s sense organs to acquire clinical data. It mainly consists of the four techniques of diagnosis, namely: interrogation, inspection, auscultation (listening) and olfaction (smelling), pulse feeling and palpation.

Treatment

TCM has three basic components: Chinese herbal therapy, Acupuncture and Tuina (Chinese massage) therapy, and Diet therapy.

Chinese herbal therapy

This is based on the principle that good health depends on achieving optimum vitality and balance – a balance described in terms of the polarity of Yin and Yang.

Chinese herbs come from nature, and include flowers, stems, leaves, roots and barks. Each herb has its own specific characteristics. Their different characteristics are employed to treat disease, rectify the hyperactivity or hypoactivity of Yin or Yang, and help the body restore its normal physiological functions – consequently, curing the disease and restoring health.

Chinese herbal administration (herbal dosages and powder forms) usually depends on your condition, your constitution and age. It should be larger for serious emergencies and stubborn problems with a young and strong patient, smaller for mild problems, and with the aged, the frail, and with children and pregnant women.

The doctor will carefully select different herbal dosages or powder forms to treat you as your treatment starts, and closely monitor your progress through regular consultations. As your condition change, the treatment will be altered accordingly.

Acupuncture and Tuina therapy

These are two practical therapies in TCM. They are to regulate the meridians or channels of the body, to unblock the stagnation of Qi and blood, and balance Yin and Yang, maintaining their function, via the extraordinary points, scalp points, auricular points, and other special points by needle (in the case of Acupuncture) or by the fingers, hands and limbs of the Tuina therapist.

When using Tuina for infant and prenatal care, some special points exist besides the acupoints on the 14 meridians and extra-points. Manipulation using pushing, kneading, rubbing is mostly used.

measuring the waistline

Diet Therapy

Each food (vegetable, fruit, meal, nut, etc.) has its own specific characteristics. We can guide you to the best foods to treat your condition, in accordance with the actual condition of disease, the characters and functions of the foods, and therapeutic requirements found through the doctor’s consultation.

Other treatments

Moxibustion, Cupping therapy, Ear authority, Electrolysis, Electrotherapy (without needle) are often used. All of them work by same principles of acupuncture therapy.

What does Chinese Medicine treat?

TCM treats your mind and body as a whole, not just the condition. Using the principles of TCM, a very wide variety of conditions, and any age can be helped, including:

1.Common Internal Diseases

Anaemia, Asthma, Arthritis, Cerebral Thrombosis, Cold, Colitis, Constipation, Constipation, Cholecystitis, Coronary Heart Disease, Digestive Ulcers, Diabetes, Diarrhoea, Oedema, Flu, Gout, Headaches, Hypertension, Hyperlipoproteinemia, Hay fever, Irritable bowel syndrome, Malabsorption, Nephritis, Neurosis, Neurasthenia, Thyroid, Pneumonia, Pancreatitis, etc.

2.Women’s problems

Pre-menstrual syndrome, Painful periods, Menopausal syndromes, endometriosis, Sterility, Morning sick, Pelvic Inflammation, etc.

3.Men’s problems

Ejaculation Praecox, Hypertrophy, Low Steam Court, Impotence, Prostitutes, Sex Drive Problems.

4.Skin problems

Herpes Zoster, Contact Dermatitis, Eczema, Urticaria, Neurodermatitis, Psoriasis, Acne Vulgaris, Alopecia Areata, Resaca, etc.

5.Muscular, neurological, skeletal and vascular problems

Arthritis, Back Pain, Frozen Shoulder, Gonitis, Hemiplegia, Lumbago (lower back pain), Neuralgia, Omalgia, Sciatica, Stiff Neck Stroke, Sprain, Sports Injury, Tennis Elbow, Trigeminal, Tendon Injury, etc.

6.Mental and Emotional Problems

Anxiety, Depression, Stress, Panic Attack, Insomnia, Palpitation, etc.

7.Ear, Nose, Throat and Ophthalmic Problems

Conjunctivitis, Optic Neuritis, Myopia, Obits Media, Sore Throat, Hay Fever, Halitosis, Pharyngitis, Rhinitis, Sinusitis, etc.

8.Oncology

Liver Cancer, Lung Cancer, Gastric Cancer, etc.

How Is Naturopathic Medicine Helpful?

Naturopathic medicine is a medical movement and profession that has recently moved to the forefront of health-care innovation in North America and elsewhere in the world. Focusing on prevention and using natural substances and treatments, naturopathic doctors support and stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself. The naturopathic approach is comprehensive, integrating scientific knowledge with several well-established alternative therapeutic systems (modalities), including:

  • Lifestyle counseling
  • Nutrition
  • Herbal medicine
  • TimeWaver technology
  • Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
  • Chinese medicine and acupuncture
  • Manual therapies (i.e. massage, physiotherapy, chiropractic, etc.)

These naturopathic modalities can be divided into two categories:

1. Modalities that address the causes of disease: our interaction with the physical environment (what we eat, drink, and breathe), as well as the physical structure of our body. These are best addressed through holistic nutrition, herbal medicine, and Chinese medicine.

2. Modalities that address the underlying mental, emotional, spiritual, and constitutional causes of physical or psychological symptoms: these reflect the internal imbalance that persists even in an optimal environment and ideal lifestyle. These are best addressed through energy medicine, Chinese medicine, and psychotherapy.

By applying these two perspectives together, our clinic is able to offer a comprehensive array of solutions for preventing and treating virtually any health condition, including and especially those considered medically incurable.

Naturopathic Assessment and Treatment

Through an in-depth assessment your naturopathic doctor will strive to understand your complaints and symptoms at the deepest level and to offer you a treatment plan that will bring revolutionary results and promote personal growth. This assessment involves an understanding of the following factors:

  • Lifestyle and physical activity
  • Food intake
  • Psychological temperament (behavioural tendencies, strengths, weaknesses)
  • Childhood history and family relationships
  • Social environment
  • Past physical or psychological trauma and stressful life transitions
  • Past medical interventions
  • Body chemistry (laboratory tests)
  • Exposure to environmental toxins
  • Heredity

Virtually all chronic and most acute conditions can benefit from naturopathic treatment, offering safe options for all ages from infants to the elderly, and for pregnant women as well. Some of these include:

  • Endocrine (hormonal) and metabolic diseases such as diabetes, thyroidconditions, infertility, menstrual complaints, and menopause.
  • Gastrointestinal disease, from baby colic to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • Heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension.
  • Autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and interstitial cystitis.
  • Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.
  • Asthma, allergies, chronic sinusitis, recurrent infections.
  • Mental health conditions such as addictions, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and autism.
  • Chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and other stress-related (psychosomatic) conditions.
  • Personalized medicine for body, mind, and spirit

The primary goal of naturopathic treatment is to address the underlying causes of all illness rather than simply to treat individual symptoms. Naturopathic doctors take into account the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of an individual when diagnosing and devising a treatment plan, working from a mindset that emphasizes sustainable, long-term resolution of complaints as well as improvement in overall well-being. Although most patients first choose naturopathic treatment because of chronic concerns, naturopathic methods can also be used to bring relief in acute situations.

Naturopathic doctors complete a minimum of seven years post-secondary education. This training includes the study of medical sciences comparable to that of medical doctors, in addition to exposure to many alternative treatment modalities. Some naturopathic doctors work as general practitioners, utilizing a variety of modalities, whereas other specialize in a primary modality, using other modalities in a supportive role or by referring out to other specialized practitioners.