Alternative Medicine News
Alternative Medicine News and Insights - from AVMA 2007 Convention Sessions
The American Veterinary Medical Association notes that interest in complementary and alternative medicine has quadrupled in the last decade. In response, the association's 2007 conference featured sessions on acupuncture, chiropractic, medicinal herbs, and holistic medicine principles led by leaders in the field.
Technique? Check out the schools and associations listed in the Resources section. Some fundamentals? Read on.
* Electromedicine: The Wave of the Future?
Dr. Ava Frick is an expert in this alternative to "chemical medicine," which uses micro-currents to treat behavioral problems, relieve chronic pain, mediate storm phobias, alleviate phantom limb pain, restore function to paralyzed animals, sterilize wounds, speed up tissue growth, and heal wounds. All at levels too low enough to sense.
Electromedicine is based on the proposition that biological processes are electromagnetic. Publicized by Robert Becker in his book "The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life," the modality was used to treat surface wounds over 300 years ago when charged gold leaf was found to prevent smallpox scars. Work in 1960s demonstrated its use for accelerated skin healing; Becker maintained electrical activity is what enables salamanders to regenerate the cells of lost limbs.
Dr. Frick explained that all of the senses are based on pulse transmissions. Mircocurrent application helps the body's hard and soft tissue "regain its capacitance so healing can begin." She cited success with golden retrievers, horses and cats suffering from gaping wounds, fears and pain.
Derived from the Greek words for "hand" and "practice," chiropractic employs the hands to diagnose and treat disease. Dr. Gene Giggleman explained how correcting vertebral subluxations that create imbalance helps the body heal itself. When nervous interference disturbs biomechanical and neurological function, the chiropractor releases nervous energy to flow to the tissues.
What causes disease? According to D.D. Palmer, who pioneered chiropractic in 1895: toxins (in air, water, food), trauma and thought.
A chiropractic adjustment is a specific force applied in a specific direction to a specific vertebra. On a neurological level, it affects both mechanoreceptors (movement impulses) and nociceptors (pain receptors). The goals: reduce pain, restore normal joint motion, stimulate neurological reflexes and relax muscles, improve range of motion, and " affect extracellular and extravascular fluid flow."
Chiropractic care offers another treatment avenue; the practitioner mechanically corrects a structural problem without drug therapy and surgery. Leave animal chiropractic in the right hands, said Dr. Giggleman: licensed professionals who are fully trained and experienced with its use on nonhuman animals.
Animals hold adjustments longer than humans, he said; there is not as much mental interference. Sometimes a dog will feel sore the day after a treatment, but clients typically express joy over getting their happy, active dogs back.
Dr. Joseph Kincaid discussed acupuncture techniques that could be used with or without needles. The ancient practice stimulates points on the body to release and disperse blocked energy within the body. "This is real science, not hocus-pocus," he said.
Every vet and owner can help animals by conducting the 4 Examinations, based on the principles that history-taking is not enough; you must ask the animal how he feels:
1. Looking - assess physical health: skin, fur, weight, bloodshot eyes, coated tongue.
2. Listening - breathing (depth, cadence), etc.
3. Smelling -:bad breath suggests stomach enzyme imbalance that probiotics can help.
4. Asking and touching - check the rotation and motility of joints.
Awareness should take precedence over tests. Bloodwork, he said, is the last measure uncover a problem. Once blood reflects a problem, there's already tissue damage and loss of homeostatis (body chemical balance).
He described Qi as "matter on the verge of becoming energy," the life force that manifests signs of health. Science has revealed life-sustaining electrical currents within the body. Stagnant Qi means pathology: edema, inflammation. Needles are used to get the energy flowing and restore healthy balance. Balance, for example, within the cells is critical to life.
He gave examples of food nutrition translating to energy and through energy, supporting immune function and healing the body. Disrputions of electromagnetic patterns throw off bird navigation and are largely responsible, he explained, for colony collapse disorder (CCD) imperiling bee survival.
Pathogens, parasites and predators can sense disruptions in a body's healthy electromagnetic fields. This may sound like junk science - until realizing the reliance of even Western medicine on energy fields, such as in diagnosis. Example: the EEG, a picture of composite radiation of the energy put out by brain cells.
"There is no treatment for cancer because it is not a disease," maintained Dr. Kincaid, before launching into descriptions of meridians, ridges and needle points and patterns. "There's cancer in healthy cells, so we want to return the cell to optimal function."
Uses of canine and equine acupuncture include treating pain, gastrointestinal and cardiac disease, seizures, endocrine disorders and infections, and lameness.
Notable quote: "Literature shows that when you put a needle in a dog's butt to open up a flow, the dog feels great."
Caveat: Good nutrition is a prerequisite for these therapies. The same surely goes for traditional therapies.
Dr. Robert Silver explained how concerns over overvaccination, processed pet food, increased incidence of cancers, dead-ends with allopathic (Western) medicine) and other factors are spurring more and more veterinarians nationwide to learn about and integrate holistic treatments into their practices.
Areas of increased interest include Ayruveda, which is Hindu Indian traditional holistic medicine based on body balance, integrating diet, herbal treatment, and yoga exercise. And herbal therapies, which were covered in detail by Dr. Stephanie Schwartz.
Related Reading and Resources:
* American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association
* Holistic Veterinary Info
* American Veterinary Chiropractic Association
* International Veterinary Acupuncture Society
American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture
http://www.aava.org * Parker College of Chiropractic
* Veterinary Acupuncture: Ancient Art to Modern Medicine by Allen M. Schoen -- needling patterns and point locations.
* Organic-related health news and food/farming
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