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Alternative Medicine

Combining Chinese and Western medicine could lead to new cancer treatments

Alternative Medicine • • Chinese MedicineSep 27 13

Combining traditional forms of Chinese and Western medicine could offer new hope for developing new treatments for liver, lung, colorectal cancers and osteosarcoma of the bones.

Experts from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine have joined forces with Peking University in China to test the health benefits of a traditional Chinese medicine.

The team also set-out to examine how by combining it with more traditional methods like Chemotherapy could improve patient outcomes and potentially lead to the development of new cancer treatments and therapies.

“Traditional Chinese medicine where compounds are extracted from natural products or herbs has been practised for centuries in China, Korea, Japan and other countries in Asia,” according to Professor Wen Jiang from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, who is the director of the Cardiff University-Peking University Joint Cancer Institute at Cardiff and led the research as part of a collaboration between Cardiff University and Peking University.

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Can aromatherapy produce harmful indoor air pollutants?

Alternative MedicineOct 21 11

Spas that offer massage therapy using fragrant essential oils, called aromatherapy, may have elevated levels of potentially harmful indoor air pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ultrafine particles, according to an article in Environmental Engineering Science, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.. The article is available free online at http://www.liebertpub.com/ees

Fragrant essential oils, derived from plants, may release various VOCs into the air. VOC degradation caused by the reaction of these compounds with ozone present in the air can produce small, ultrafine byproducts called secondary organic aerosols (SOAs), which may cause eye and airway irritation.

Taiwanese researchers Der-Jen Hsu (National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology), Hsiao-Lin Huang (Chia-Nan University of Pharmacy and Science, Tainan), and Shiann-Cherng Sheu (Chang-Jung Christian University, Tainan) tested both fragrant and Chinese herbal essential oils for SOA formation in a controlled-environment study chamber under different test conditions. They also performed air sampling and analysis in spa centers that offer massage therapy using essential oils.

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Workout music: give me the beat boys

Alternative Medicine • • HeartJun 16 10

Rock, hip hop or R&B, if it has a pounding tempo music can really rock your cardio workout.

Fitness experts say boosted by that backbeat you might not even notice that youre working harder.

“Higher tempo certainly seems to drive the intensity of exercise performance,” said Dr. Cedric Bryant, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

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Herbs, supplements often sold deceptively: US report

Alternative Medicine • • Public HealthMay 26 10

Sellers of ginseng, echinacea and other herbal and dietary supplements often cross the line in marketing their products, going as far as telling consumers the pills can cure cancer or replace prescription medications, a U.S. government probe found.

In an undercover probe, investigators at the Government Accountability Office also found that labels for some supplements claim to prevent or cure ailments like diabetes or heart disease - a clear violation of U.S. law.

GAO staff targeted supplements most popular with older consumers and posed as elderly buyers in stores or over the telephone.

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Research confirms that some forms of massage help against low-back pain

Alternative Medicine • • BackacheMar 29 10

Most people have experienced back pain – and many hope that massage will relieve it. But not all forms of massage have been scientifically proven to help against low back pain. That is what the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) pointed out in information published on informedhealthonline.org today.

Back pain often affects the lower back and can be a big physical and psychological burden. “The cause of back pain is not always immediately clear,” explains Professor Peter Sawicki, the Institute’s Director. “But low back pain usually gets better on its own within a few weeks.” Back pain is only rarely caused by a more serious health problem.

Classic massage, Thai massage and acupressure could help against low back pain

If low back pain does not get better on its own, massage therapy could be a worthwhile option.

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Homeopathy is useless and unethical

Alternative MedicineMar 13 10

Homeopaths are evoking grand conspiracies to explain the Science and Technology Committee’s brutal report, but in reality they were undone by their own bizarre pronouncements

Today the Science and Technology Select Committee delivered its verdict on homeopathy and it was devastating. The committee has called for the complete withdrawal of NHS funding and official licensing of homeopathy.

This should come as no surprise to anyone who witnessed the almost farcical nature of the proceedings, with the elite of homeopathy mocked by their own testimony. Peter Fisher, director of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, spewed forth the sort of dialogue that wouldn’t look out of place in a Terry Pratchett novel. As the report drily observes:

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Herbal supplements may raise blood lead levels

Alternative Medicine • • Gender: FemaleNov 27 09

Some herbal supplements may boost the levels of lead in the blood of women, new research shows.

Among 12,807 men and women age 20 and older, Dr. Catherine Buettner, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues found blood lead levels about 10 percent higher in women, but not men, who used specific herbal supplements.

When they examined herbal supplement use among women of reproductive age (age 16 to 45 years old), “the relationship with lead levels was even stronger, with lead levels 20 percent higher overall, and up to 40 percent higher among users of select herbal supplements compared to non-users,” they report in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

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Research shows Tai Chi exercise reduces knee osteoarthritis pain in the elderly

Alternative Medicine • • Arthritis • • PainOct 29 09

Researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine have determined that patients over 65 years of age with knee osteoarthritis (OA) who engage in regular Tai Chi exercise improve physical function and experience less pain. Tai Chi (Chuan) is a traditional style of Chinese martial arts that features slow, rhythmic movements to induce mental relaxation and enhance balance, strength, flexibility, and self-efficacy. Full findings of the study are published in the November issue of Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

The elderly population is at most risk for developing knee OA, which results in pain, functional limitations or disabilities and a reduced quality of life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are 4.3 million U.S. adults over age 60 diagnosed with knee OA, a common form of arthritis that causes wearing of joint cartilage. A recent CDC report further explains that half of American adults may develop symptoms of OA in at least one knee by age 85.

For this study, Chenchen Wang, M.D., M.Sc., and colleagues recruited 40 patients from the greater Boston area with confirmed knee OA who were in otherwise good health. The mean age of participants was 65 years with a mean body mass index of 30.0 kg/m2. Patients were randomly selected and 20 were asked to participate in 60-minute Yang style Tai Chi sessions twice weekly for 12 weeks. Each session included: a 10-minute self-massage and a review of Tai Chi principles; 30 minutes of Tai Chi movement; 10 minutes of breathing technique; and 10 minutes of relaxation.

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Acupuncture reduces post-op nausea and vomiting

Alternative MedicineApr 15 09

Acupuncture or acupressure stimulation of Pericardium 6 (P6), a point on the wrist, is safe and effective for reducing postoperative nausea and vomiting, according to a review of studies appearing in The Cochrane Library for April 14.

The results show that compared with a sham treatment, P6 stimulation reduced nausea by 29 percent, vomiting by 30 percent, and the need for rescue antiemetics - drugs that suppress nausea—by 31 percent, study co-authors Dr. Anna Lee and Dr. Lawrence T. Y. Fan, from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, report.

In a search of two large databases, MEDLINE and EMBASE, and other sources through September 2008, the authors identified 40 trials with 4858 subjects that compared various forms of P6 stimulation with sham treatment in preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting.

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Homeopathy appears compatible with cancer therapy

Alternative Medicine • • CancerApr 14 09

There is limited evidence that homeopathic remedies ease the side effects of cancer treatments, but they at least seem to cause no serious adverse effects or drug interactions, according to a report published Tuesday.

In a review of eight clinical trials that included 664 cancer patients, researchers found preliminary evidence that certain homeopathic remedies may lessen some cancer therapy side effects. However, lead researcher Dr. Sosie Kassab, of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital in the UK, and co-investigators stress that these trials need to be replicated before any recommendations can be made.

One study found that topical calendula—an extract from marigolds—may be helpful for skin inflammation from radiation therapy for breast cancer. Another suggested that a mouthwash called Traumeel S—a mix of various plant extracts and minerals—can help ease treatment-related inflammation in the mouth.

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Women use acupuncture for “nonsurgical facelift”

Alternative MedicineJul 17 08

Tired of Botox? Can’t stand the thought of another chemical peel? Perhaps acupuncture is the answer.

Facial acupuncture treatment, dubbed the “nonsurgical face-lift” has grown in popularity over the past few years.

“Ten years ago, the alternative was Botox, fillers and all that stuff. Now, 10 years after, people are looking for alternatives to Botox and fillers. This is the only treatment that would be as effective,” said Shali Rassouli, a licensed practitioner of Chinese medicine and a specialist in cosmetic acupuncture.

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Acupuncture reduces pain after neck surgery

Alternative Medicine • • SurgeryJun 02 08

Acupuncture helped alleviate lingering pain and decreased shoulder mobility in people who had surgery for head and neck cancer, U.S. researchers said on Saturday.

The ancient Chinese therapy also resulted in significant improvements in extreme dry mouth or xerostomia, which often occurs in people who have had radiation treatment for head and neck cancer, they said at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York studied 70 patients who were at least three months past their surgery and radiation treatments.

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Traditional acupuncture may ease migraines

Alternative Medicine • • Headaches • • MigraineApr 11 08

Acupuncture, as practiced in traditional Chinese medicine, may offer some relief from migraine pain, a new study suggests.

Italian researchers found that regular treatments with “true” acupuncture helped improve symptoms in 32 patients whose migraines had been resistant to standard preventive medication.

Moreover, the therapy worked better than two forms of “sham” acupuncture used for comparison, the researchers report in the medical journal Headache.

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Yoga helps older women balance, stand taller

Alternative MedicineApr 11 08

Elderly women showed measurable improvements in their walking speed and balance after a nine-week yoga program—and they gained a centimeter in height, on average, Philadelphia researchers report.

“The only explanation may be that they are standing more upright, not so much crouching,” study chief Dr. Jinsup Song of Temple University told Reuters Health. Song presented the findings April 4 at the Gait and Clinical Movement Analysis Society’s Annual Meeting.

While past studies have investigated yoga for helping improve balance in elderly women, Song noted, they have typically used a relatively demanding form of the practice. In the current study, he and his colleague Marian Garfinkel, a certified yoga instructor, worked with B.K.S. Iyengar, the originator of Iyengar Yoga, to develop a program specifically designed for older people. “The poses were very basic—how to stand upward, how to bend forward, sideways,” said Song, who admitted he found some of the poses challenging himself.

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Tai chi shows promise for managing diabetes

Alternative Medicine • • DiabetesApr 08 08

The ancient art of tai chi may help in controlling or lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, two small studies suggest.

In one study, Taiwanese researchers found that tai chi helped lower long-term blood sugar levels in 30 middle-aged adults with type 2 diabetes. In the second, an Australian team found that a combination of tai chi and qigong benefited 11 adults at risk of type 2 diabetes.

Both tai chi and qigong (pronounced “chee-kung”) are ancient Chinese practices designed to promote good health. Qigong combines gentle movements, meditation and breathing techniques; tai chi involves slow, fluid movements combined with mental imagery and deep breathing.

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