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Magazine: health, april 1998 - старонка 6


extremely thin and flexible. So while they may sting a bit, they don't

really hurt. Treatment lasts 15 to 60 minutes, and the acupuncturist may

twirl the needles for greater effect. You should always insist that the

practitioner use disposable needles to avoid infection.
Vital stats
Qualifications: Look for certification by the National Commission for

the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCAOM) or an MD

with 200 hours of acupuncture training.
Licensure: Most states provide licensing and/or certification. States

without regulations on acupuncture as of publication of this article

include ID, OK, SD, and WY.
Number in US: About 15,000 certified and/or licensed practitioners.
Cost: $35-$125 per session.
Insurance coverage: Increasingly covered; check withyour company. Last

November, the NIH con sensus panel on acupuncture recommended that it

be covered by Medicare.
For more information: American Association of Oriental Medicine, 433

Front St., Catasauqua, PA 18032; 610-266-1433.
Ayurveda
Dubbed the "science of life" 5,000 years ago in India, ayurveda may be

the oldest medical system in existence today. Its premise is that your

body's biological intelligence (or ability to heal itself) acts through

three forces called doshas. These are vata (space and air), pitta (fire

and water), and kapha (water and earth).
All of us are made of a combination of these doshas, giving us a special

metabolic type-or pakruti, as it's known in ayurveda. Most folks have

one dosha that dominates and gives them characteristics associated with

their primary elements. Vata people, for instance, are thin and

energetic. Pittas tend to be hot tempered. And kaphas are slow and

solid.
So long as your doshas remain balanced, your health is fine, say

ayurvedic doctors. But a diet of Big Macs, high stress, and even

changing seasons can throw them off balance. And that's what causes the

symptoms of disease. Generally, ayurvedic practitioners will use herbs,

meditation, exercise, diet, and other treatments to restore your dosha's

balance and make you well.
Ayurveda is best known for disease prevention, and 5,000 years of

anecdotal evidence suggests that it can also treat many chronic

diseases. Unfortunately, there are few clinical studies to verify it,

though some research has shown that meditation, exercise, and many of

the herbs used in ayurveda will help lower blood pressure, cholesterol,

and stress.
If you go, expect to spend 45 to 90 minutes answering all kinds of

questions about your interests, emotions, and lifestyle.The practitioner

will also take your pulse and may take urine, blood, or stool samples as

part of the diagnosis. He or she may even ask you to stick out your

tongue.
Vital stats
Qualifications: A Bachelor of Ayurvedic
Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) degree from India, which equals 51/2 years

of medical school there. No schools in the US offer that degree, though

some offer courses on ayurveda as a specialty.
Licensure: None in US.
Number in US: Unknown, but there are 10 clinics in North America.
Cost: $40-$100 for initial consultation.
Insurance coverage: Generally limited
to MDs or other licensed practitioners who specialize in ayurveda.
For more information: The Ayurvedic Institute, 11311 Menaul N.E.,

Albuquerque, NM 87112; 505-291-9698, or call the Maharishi Ayur-Veda

clinics system at 800-255-8332 for a list of practitioners closest to

you.
Chiropractic
If there is strength in numbers, chiropractors are one of the strongest

alternative medicine groups going. With more than 45,000 practitioners

in the US, they are second only to physicians in providing primary care.

Though some chiropractors have been criticized in the past for trying to

treat everything through spinal adjustments, today's chiropractors

generally use adjustments to treat mechanical problems that you expect

to respond to mechanical manipulation-headaches, neck pain, back pain,

and pain from musculoskeletal injuries.
We probably don't have to tell you how common back pain is. It strikes

about 80% of us at some point in our lives, which may explain why one in

three of us have tried chiropractic care. But now the Agency for Health

Care Policy Research agrees that spinal manipulation is indeed a help

for low back pain. However, there are no well-controlled studies to

support manipulation for gastrointestinal, breathing, and other

nonmechanical problems.
Chiropractors are not permitted to prescribe drugs, but do expect them

to use x-rays. Finally, you may want to avoid chiropractic manipulation

of your neck, since the American Academy of Neurology warns that in rare

cases it can damage the arteries running through the back of the neck,

which can lead to stroke.
If you go, expect a very physical experience. The chiropractor will push

and pull on your joints and spine to correct your alignment. You should

give it 5 to 10 treatments before you expect to see results.
Vital stats
Qualifications: Look for a licensed
Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) who has passed the National Board of

Chiropractic Examiners board exam.
Licensure: Chiropractors are licensed
in every state.
Number in US: Between 45,000 and 50,000.
Cost: $50-$100 for an initial visit and $25-$65 for follow-ups.
Insurance coverage: Most insurance, including Medicare and many state

Medicaid programs, cover chiropractic.
For more information: American Chiropractic Association, 1701 Clarendon

Blvd., Arlington, VA 22209; 703-276-8800.
Homeopathy
Homeopathy is based on the idea that what causes your illness will cure

it. And if that sounds strange, well, keep in mind that doctors use

Ritalin-a stimulant-to keep hyperactive children calm.
How does it work?Let's say you have the flu. A homeopathic doctor would

give you minute amounts of a potent homeopathic remedy, such as arsenic,

that causes flulike symptoms such as diarrhea, cramping, and chills to

kick your immune system into high gear. Only the arsenic remedy itself

won't make you sick, because homeopathic remedies, which include a wide

array of poisons, are diluted so many times that not one molecule of the

original substance should remain.
Homeopaths will be the first to admit that they don't know how their

remedies work, but studies show they do. However, these studies, the

majority of which are foreign, have been criticized for poor design.
Right now, the most convincing evidence for homeopathy is for problems

like diarrhea, flu, hay fever, recovery from surgery, headache, and

menstrual and menopausal discomfort-and perhaps arthritis and pain.

Homeopathic remedies are regulated by the FDA and manufactured by drug

companies under strict guidelines. Sales are growing by more than 20%

each year.
One big downside to homeopathy is that everyone responds differently to

each remedy, so it may take several months of experimenting to find the

right treatment for chronic problems. If you visit a homeopathic doctor,

expect to get up close and personal with your homeopath. The average

initial visit lasts up to an hour and a half and is as much a

psychological profile about your fears and reactions to the environment

as it is a medical history.
Vital stats
Qualifications: Look for a physician who is a Diplomate in

Homeotherapeutics (DHt); a naturopath (ND) who is a Diplomate of the

Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians (DHANP), or other

practitioners who are Certified in Classic Homeopathy (CCH).
Licensure: Three states require licensure (AZ, CT, and NV). Other states

allow providers to practice homeopathy as a specialty under another

medical license, as is the case with MDs or DOs who practice homeopathy.

Number in US: About 3,000.
Cost: About $140 for initial visit and $55 for follow-ups.
Insurance coverage: Most insurance companies reimburse for homeopathy

that is prescribed by a medical doctor or osteopathic physician. Call

yours to find out.
For more information: The National Center for Homeopathy, 801 N. Fairfax

St., #306, Alexandria, VA 22314; 703-548-7790. For $7, they'll send you

an information packet that includes a list of practitioners.
Naturopathic Medicine
If alternative medicine were an art form, naturopathy would be its

mosaic. That's because its multi-faceted practitioners are trained in an

array of therapies including clinical nutrition, herbal medicine,

homeopathy, ayurveda, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, massage, and

conventional care.
Naturopathic physicians (naturopaths) pride themselves on first

preventing disease. That means replacing bad habits like smoking with

good ones like exercise. They also stress learning how to harness your

body's healing powers through herbs, healthy living, and natural foods.
What you won't find in most naturopath's offices are prescription pads

(although some states do give limited prescribing authority). So if you

should get sick, count on your naturopath to use every natural remedy at

his disposal to help your body heal: Acupuncture, herbs, diet,

nutritional supplements, exercise, homeopathy, massage, and spinal

manipulation may all be included in a naturopath's bag of tricks. All of

these individual remedies have evidence to back them up, but because

naturopathy incorporates such a vast array of therapies, there are no

studies to show how effective it is as a whole.
If you decide to try a naturopath, you may have to search a little for a

practitioner, since there are only about 1,500 in the US. Once you've

found one, however, expect to spend at least an hour at your initial

visit, talking about all the factors that can affect your health,

including exercise, diet, medical history, genetics, stress, exposure to

pollutants, and emotional status. You'll also find many tests you'll

recognize such as x-rays, blood tests, and urinalysis. But when

necessary, naturopathic physicians will refer you to MDs and other

health care professionals.
Vital stats
Qualifications: Look for a licensed doctor of naturopathy (ND).
Licensure: Licensing varies widely from state to state. Call the

American Association of Naturopathic Physicians to find out the rules in

your state.
Number in US: About 1,500.
Cost: $30-$175 for initial consultation.
Insurance coverage: Many companies will cover naturopathic services.

Call yours to be sure.
For more information: The American Association of Naturopathic

Physicians (AANP), 601 Valley St., Suite 105, Seattle, WA 98109; 206-298

0125. For $5, they'll send you a national directory; or see it on their

Web site: www.naturopathic.org.
Osteopathic Medicine
If you're basically comfortable with conventional care, but wish your

physician relied a little less on prescription drugs and a little more

on hands-on healing, a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) or osteopathy

may be the way to go. Osteopathic physicians (osteopaths) graduate

medical school, complete residencies, and pass certification exams just

like MDs. They can prescribe drugs and perform surgery. What DOs have

that MDs don't have is specialized training in osteopathic manipulation-

techniques for manipulating ligaments, muscles, and connective tissue,

which osteopaths say can help the healing process.
Osteopaths believe that when it comes to health and healing, our

musculoskeletal system gets short shrift. But by making sure all of your

bones, vertebrae, ligaments, and tendons are lined up and working

properly, say osteopaths, you can prevent and treat a host of

conditions.
There's evidence that osteopathy may be effective for treating back,

neck, and injury pain, headaches, and menstrual cramps. It may also help

other diseases like high blood pressure, arthritis, and digestive

problems, though we need more research.
Unfortunately, research on osteopathy's effectiveness against any one

specific ailment is in short supply. Osteopaths also admit that some

people have more success with osteopathic manipulation than others, so

you should be prepared to give it three to five treatments before you

decide whether or not it works for you.
Since DOs have the same training as MDs, you can see an osteopath for

any problem you would call your family doctor for. If you go, expect

your doctor to check the texture of your connective tissue, your posture

your range of motion, and other factors that reflect your skeletal

health, and take your medical history. And he or she may prescribe

anything from prescription drugs and manipulation to at-home exercise as

your treatment.
Vital stats
Qualifications: Look for a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO).
Licensure: Osteopathic physicians are licensed in all 50 states.
Number in US: About 42,000. Cost: $55-$95 per session.
Insurance coverage: Osteopathic medicine is generally reimbursed the

same as allopathic (MD) care.
For more information: American Osteopathic Association, 142 E. Ontario

St., Chicago, IL 60611; 800-621-1773.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
In the eyes of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), every person is a

miniature universe. You are yin and yang-two complementary forces like

day and night. And your body is the interaction of five universal

elements: water, fire, wood, metal, and earth.
Fortunately, a river of life-giving energy known as qi flows through you

pulling all these elements together. When it does its job and the
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