The 'Voodoo' Eastern Medicine Vs. The Tested (And FDA Approved) Western Medicine

The Huffington Post—New York, NY—January 14, 2010

by Helene Pavlov, M.D., FACR, Radiologist in Chief at Hospital for Special Surgery

The medical field changes daily. Medical researchers are continually introducing new technologies, pharmaceuticals and breakthrough treatment options that are changing the way we diagnose and treat patients. Over the last century we have come a long way and patients are living longer and recovering more quickly, and have a better quality of life, longer, than they did in the past.

Over the last years however, physicians trained in Western medical practices are beginning to embrace some Eastern methods as complementary to the traditional course of treatment. For example, in the Department of Radiology and Imaging at Hospital for Special Surgery we now offer complimentary chair massages prior to imaging examinations to help calm and relax patients. Some oncologists recommend that patients with cancer undergo reiki after they've had a course of chemotherapy and alternative treatments such as acupuncture and meridian stretching are also being used for everything from smoking cessation to helping relieve lower back pain.

While not fully subscribing to Eastern medical philosophies for which I am not trained or familiar, I do believe that they have a place in Western medicine and in many ways can complement scientifically tested and proven treatments. My biggest piece of advice for anyone looking closely at Eastern medical practices is to do research, keep an open mind and consult with your physician. Always make sure your physician knows exactly what you are doing in addition to his or her recommended treatments to ensure that there will not be any harmful interactions or other negative effects.

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