I often get questions about the use of natural therapies to aid in the treatment of serious medical conditions, such as cancer and the increasingly common group of conditions known as autoimmune diseases. The information available to people suffering from these diseases is very confusing, and there is little help available from mainstream medicine to help patients to sift through this information, particularly in these very stressful times after their initial diagnosis of serious illness.
There is an abundance of evidence in research to support the use of natural therapies in cancer. Unfortunately the clinical trials on the non-drug treatments are small, and not financially supported by the billion dollar pharmaceutical industry. The information is not widely disseminated to doctors. To access this information requires time, an open mind and access to the Internet.
Another hurdle to accessing information is that most research done on natural therapies is based on the medical model, which attempts to extract the active ingredient from the therapy and try to prove or disprove its value. Often the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Natural therapies work in synastry with good nutrition and lifestyle changes. The package deal is what can make the difference between survival and succumbing to a life threatening disease. The science-based medical profession has difficulty with this concept.
The role of good nutrition in the fight against cancer is well documented. Adequate selenium, zinc and co enzyme Q10 levels in the body can help prevent cancer and also be used in the holistic management of these illnesses. The body’s biochemistry works in synastry with the various vitamins and minerals required for proper manufacture of our body’s building blocks. Balance is important for the optimal efficiency of our immune system. More is not necessarily better!
Accessing an experienced holistic health practitioner, and doing your own research via the net is the key to determining which information is valuable and which to discard. Also remember that there are many sites on the Internet, which are based on anecdotal stories, often claiming a panacea for all illnesses and costing an arm and a leg. Often, if a particular course of therapy is helpful, it will have significant references to its use and a variety of different sources will confirm its validity. If in doubt check with your health practitioner.
For those keen to find a holistic and open-minded medical practitioner, there are two organisations which provide contact details for doctors who have completed postgraduate studies in integrative medicine. These are the Australian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM) and the Australasian Integrative Medical Association (AIMA). Both of these organisations can be contacted via the Web. This is a good starting point for those asking questions about the use of alternative therapies and the appropriate integration of these with mainstream medicine.