"REVERSING CHRONIC HEALTH DISORDERS VIA COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES"
Dato' Steve Yap
Board certified in nutritional medicine (France) and anti-aging medicine (USA & France); Fellowship in Integrative Cancer Therapies (USA); Fellow, Royal Society of Medicine (UK); and President, Federation of Complementary & Natural Medical Associations, Malaysia.
While Western drugs and surgical medicine have dominated healthcare in Malaysia for the past fifty years or so, there is now growing demand for traditional (Malay, Chinese, and Indian) and complementary medicine (known as 'T&CM' in this country). Reasons for the popularity of T&CM include (1)the provision of more evidence-based treatments; (2) the availability of highly trained practitioners who deliver personalized services to meet their clientsí expectations; (3) targeting treatment on the causes rather than just the symptoms of chronic health disorders; and (4) the far fewer adverse side-effects resulting from natural and holistic therapies compared to conventional (allopathic) medicine. WHO estimates that some 69% of Malaysians visit T&CM practitioners and the figures in some major countries such as France, China, and India are even higher.
Most chronic diseases are strongly linked to dietary deficiencies, poor lifestyles, poor mental health, and toxicity in foods and environment. These health disorders are preventable, and even reversible, by natural non-evasive therapies administered by competent nutritional therapists: inflammation, obesity, hormonal imbalance, accelerated aging, heart disease, hypertension, insulin resistance, diabetes type II, allergies, anaemia, heavy metal poisoning, chronic fatigue, tumor growth, skin disorders, renal stones/damage, gall stones, and most types of cancer. Even the incidence of epileptic fit could be reduced by some 50% just through dietary modification. Besides these chronic problems, the therapist is trained to offer expert advice on sports, pre-natal, post-natal nutrition, and nutritional needs for the infirm. Itís emphasized that nutritionists and dietetics aren't nutritional therapists since they belong to separate professional bodies. To practise nutritional medicine, the therapists must be accredited by the Association of Nutritional Medicine Practitioners Malaysia (www.anmp.org.my) which is professional body recognised by the Ministry of Health, T&CM Division. Qualifying programs and clinical training are delivered at the post-graduate level over three to four years.
Practitioners who are accredited by the MOH-recognised Association of Hypnotherapy Practitioners Malaysia (www.ahpm.org.my) can help enhance the treatment outcome for weight management and various other health disorders linked to the mind. Meta-analysis studies shown hypnotherapy improved treatment outcome for obesity by some 97% when it was added to the main therapy and it generated 146% better post-treatment results compared to controls (Allison et al, 1996). Even when therapies have ceased, the positive results could last for another two years (Bolocofsky et al, 1985). Training and examination by the AHPM are conducted at the post-graduate levels.
There's much misinformation on many of the major chronic health disorders that plague mankind. Heart disease, for instance, remains the number one killer around the world despite decades of research showing inflammation, elevated serum ferritin, hyperhomocysteinemia, diabetes, dental amalgam, and even chronic allergies as being more serious risk factors than merely elevated cholesterol (Yu and Rifai, 2000). Indeed, seven regression studies found nutritional interventions more effective at reversing plaques in heart arteries compared to cholesterol-lowering drugs (Roussauw et al 1990). The fact that heart disease is reversible has been known since the 1950s (Willis, 1957). Recent research suggests that cholesterol is unlikely to stick to arteries unless itís oxidized. This means the lack of anti-oxidant nutrients contribute significantly to heart disease. Major literature review by ex-cardiologist Levy (2006) shown that the presence of dental amalgam and the lack of vitamin C to be major risk factors for heart disease.
There's confusion on how to manage osteoporosis. Mainstream medicine thinks this chronic problem could be treated by just supplementing on the mineral calcium or consuming food rich in calcium. However, nutritional medicine is of the view that acidosis and consuming high-calcium food or beverages or calcium supplementation actually contribute to osteoporosis. Consider these University of California statistics for the Asian Continent by Frassetto et al and published in the Journal of Gerontology, 2000:
|Per 100,000 Women in||Hip Fracture Rate|
|New Zealand (white)||220|
It's evident that countries whose population consumed the highest amount of milk-related products suffer the highest incidence of hip fracture, whereas countries consuming the least have the lowest incidence. Research shows that we need some 17 nutrients plus exercise to build strong bones (Lanou and Castleman, 2009).
Cancer is probably the most feared 'disease'. The fact that cells do turn malignant when deprived of oxygen for prolonged period was the basis of the Nobel Prize in Medicine, 1931. Thatís why cancer cells are anaerobic. They thrive on fermentation of sugar while their growth is promoted by a host of known factors including dietary habits, poor lifestyles, toxicity, acidosis, hormonal imbalances, low general immunity, and even poor attitudes. If the mind is irrelevant to healing, there cannot be any placebo in medicine.
There's little effort spent in preventing cancer and in reversing its known causes. For financial reasons, almost all current efforts are on 'attacking' cancers and little on prevention (Faguet, 2005). A recent study published in British Clinical Oncology states that "the overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA" (Morgan et al, 2004). In complementary medicine, cancer is viewed and treated as a metabolic disorder and not a disease. Anorexia (loss of appetite) hastens the course of cachexia, which is a progressive wasting syndrome evidenced by weakness and a significant loss of body weight, fat, and muscle. Cachexia is estimated to be the cause of death in up to 40% of cancer patients (US National Cancer Institute, 2011).
Consequently, there's desperate need for a more integrated and holistic treatment for cancers. Fortunately, several government hospitals are now using phytotherapy (herbal medicine) in cancer patients with impressive results. Nutritional therapy is able to offer equally impressive results to cancer patients.
Probably a most misleading dietary guide chart is that released by the US Department of Agriculture called the Food Pyramid. The public and many healthcare professionals are unaware that 'politics' rather than rational research evidence dictates the position of food within the Pyramid (Nestle, 2007).
Besides heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis, complementary medicine views almost all chronic 'diseases' - including diabetes, hypertension, allergies, and kidney disorder - as being partly or completely reversible since they're metabolic disorders linked mainly to dietary and lifestyle factors.
By definition, complementary therapies do not compete or conflict with conventional drug/surgical therapies since they complement each other. Currently, eight major government hospitals offer some forms of T&CM therapies for cancers and other chronic diseases. In the coming years after the proposed T&CM Act is passed by Parliament, initiatives towards integrated healthcare may go a long way in promoting the merits of non-evasive complementary medicine. Reputable wellness centers offering such a healthcare system could also be promoted by the Tourism Board as part of the country's health-tourism initiative overseas.
Allison, D. et al. Hypnosis as an adjunct to cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy for obesity: A meta-analysis reappraisal. J Consul Clin Psych. 1996;64(3):513-6.
Bolocofsky, D. et al. Effectiveness of Hypnosis as an Adjunct to Behavioral Weight Management. J Clin Psych. 1985; 41(1):35-41
Faguet, G. The War on Cancer: An Anatomy of Failure, A Blueprint for the Future. Springer, 2005. Netherlands.
Frassetto, L et al. Worldwide Incidence of Hip Fracture in Elderly Women: Relation to Consumption of Animal and Vegetable Foods. J Gerontol 2000(55):M585.
Lanou, A and Castlemen, M. Building Bone Vitality: A Revolutionary Diet Plan to Prevent Bone Loss and Reverse Osteoporosis. McGrawHill, 2009. New York.
Levy, T. Stop Americanís #1 Killer! Reversible Vitamin Deficiency Found to be Origin of All Coronary Heart Disease. Levon Books, 2006. USA.
Morgan, G et al. The Contribution of Cytotoxic Chemotherapy to 5-year Survival in Adult Malignancies. Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol) 2004 Dec;16(8):549-60.
Nestle, M. Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. University of California Press, 2007. Berkeley
US National Cancer Institute, http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/supportivecare/nutrition. Accessed March 5, 2011.
Willis, G. The Reversibility of Atherosclerosis. Canadian Medical Association Journal 1957; 77:106-109.
Yu, H and Rifai, N. High-sensitivity C-reactive Protein and Atherosclerosis: from Theory to Therapy. Clinical Biochemistry 2000; 38(8):601-610.
SHA: March 2011
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