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Alt meds go mainstream

June 8, 2009

Alternative medical treatments, once shunned by medical professionals as “mumbo jumbo,” have appeared to have gone mainstream.  An article in the Washington Post yesterday says that more and more big hospitals and clinics are offering alternative therapies.  While some offer stress reducers like meditation, yoga and massage, others are offering treatments to patients who are gravely ill.

The article notes that while conventional prescription meds have their share of risks, alternative medicines aren’t regulated by the FDA.  Still, more and more patients are looking for a more natural treatment for their medical woes.

 More and more hospitals are offering all-natural and alternative therapies like this mixture of the stems, seeds and leaves of the Marigold plant.

More and more hospitals are offering all-natural and alternative therapies like this mixture of the stems, seeds and leaves of the Marigold plant.

“There’s the case of the boy who fled the country with his mother after refusing chemo, because they wanted to try homeopathic methods,” says Tracey Vlahovic, an associate professor of podiatric medicine at Temple’s School of Podiatric Medicine.  “That’s an extreme case, of course, but it shows that more and more, patients want to at least hear about having a treatment with a more natural base.”

Vlahovic specializes in podiatric dermatology, the skin of the feet and legs, and offers several alternative therapies to her patients for a variety of foot maladies.  While she doesn’t reject Western medicines, she does offer complimentary medicines as an option for patients.

“For certain patients, I wait until traditional, Western medicines fail.  And if a patient is open to it, I’ll discuss it with them.  Some patients look for something that’s gentle and all-natural.  They don’t want to be cut right away, or go to the OR right away, so it’s  good to at least have that option.”

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