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It's no more about just the body or mind as complementary therapies begin appearing on doctor's prescriptions

THINK about trauma care wards, and the first thing which might come to your mind would be a grim scenario and routine check- ups by stoical doctors. However, things are changing, and for good. If the tidings are to go by, you could well be surprised by soothing music in the backdrop of a cancer ward or an anxious teenager sketching around to glory.

While complementary therapies like yoga, meditation, among others used to lurk on medicine's margins, now many hospitals in the city are incorporating them into everyday patient care.

The line between the conventional and complementary approach is finally blurring and integrative medicine is the new principle. " In my 22 years of clinical practice, I have seen that conventional and alternative therapies should complement each other. Neither mainstream medicine nor the alternative therapy can work as standalone.

There are no two ways about conventional treatment methods which are a must. Alternative therapies, meanwhile help healing become a positive experience," says Dr Dinesh Singh, senior radiation oncologist, Balaji Action Cancer Hospital.

This new take on healing has been welcomed by experts.

This is definitely the watershed in the evolution of integrative medicine as a holistic approach uses the best of conventional and alternative therapies such as meditation, yoga, music therapy," says Dr Madhusudan Solanki, consultant psychiatrist, Saket City Hospital.

Doctors vouch that these help the patient overcome physical, emotional and social challenges.

Complementary approach is both low cost and effective. It makes the treatment comprehensive as it involves body, mind and soul by considering the patient's social and spiritual factors, diet and activity levels," adds Dr Solanki.


These complementary therapies are primarily used for psychosomatic disorders. Psychosomatic disorders are those which concern both the mind and body.

They help support a wide range of disorders like diabetes, hypertension, cancer, obesity, among others," says Dr Singh. Choosing natural methods of healing used to be always the preventative resort or the last one but its different now.

For example, cancer treatment is not just about the body but one that lightens the mind as well the body. A holistic approach would help deal with the problems of depression, weight gain, or even emotional issues," says Dr Singh.

While conventional medicine used to focus on the treatment of just the ailing organ, the new age medical professionals are going full length in adopting ways to overall wellness.

" The mind- body connection is at the heart of complementary and alternative medicine. These therapies help access the mind body connection to improve health and recover from illness," says Dr Solanki.

These mind body therapies emphasise in using the mind in affiliation with physical treatment to aid the healing process.

" This new treatment module has been found to be effective in reducing post- traumatic stress, nausea, acute and chronic pain, and even lifestyle disorders like hypertension and diabetes," he says. In combinations, they work well.


Though complementary therapies hold promise, they are yet to be backed by solid scientific studies. Research on alternative medicine is said to be of low quality and methodologically flawed.

The mistake that most patients commit is to discontinue mainstream treatment and get lured by the promises complementary therapies offer. " It doesn't work like that. These therapies cannot cure, they only aid in the process. Complementary therapies are called so because they cannot stand on their own," says Dr Singhal. So for your own sake, be cautious of falling for the lure of quick fixes. Instead adopt an integrated approach and that too only with the doctor's recommendations.

nalini. ravichandran @ mailtoday. in

Integration of treatments is the new approach


Weight loss is no more just about dieting and sweating at the gym but more about the spirit. Spiritual weight loss is the new buzz word, and the whole focus is shifting from low calorie diets to mindful eating. Train your mind to eat right and you have cracked the formula to that dream figure, say health gurus. Pick up the bible of new age weight loss, A Course in Weight loss: 21 Spiritual lessons, written by Marianne Williamson to understand more.

Shedding emotional weight can help you shed physical weight as the more emotional baggage you have, the more weight you carry, says Williamson. This whole new spiritual, emotional and psychological outlook to weight loss makes the conventional approach to weight loss passe.


Meditation and yoga have indeed become popular and this is being reflected in medical settings too.

" They are not just recommended to bust stress but also for more serious issues like chronic illness and psychological disorders like depression and anxiety. Some scientific research studies have come up with explanations on what meditation does to the body and brain and what type of conditions it may be effective in treating," says Dr Solanki. A step ahead is the wellresearched method called mindfulness meditation, which helps train people to be more focused.

" While mindfulnessbased stress reduction( MBSR) is still a nascent concept, meditation and yoga are suggested for patients of hypertension and cardiovascular problems. It does help to incorporate these in the daily route apart from the regular medications, which are a must," says Dr Amar Singhal, head, cardiology, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute.


Back in the 20th century, community musicians went to hospitals around the country to play for the thousands for veterans who had suffered physical and emotional trauma from the world wars.

While the curative power of sound has been around for several centuries, the holistic healing that music aids in is being incorporated in practice only now." Music therapy is used in the treatment of many disorders ranging from mental health problems like depression to metabolic and lifestyle issues like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, among others," says Dr Arun Prasad, senior surgeon, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital. Music therapy does have an amazing ability to induce a deep state of peace. " For cancer patients, music helps in creating an optimal healing environment," says Dr Singh. Music therapy in certain patients can work wonders in doing away with sleeping pills and anti depressants.

" It can improve key factors like comfort, relaxation and pain control.

It has been seen to be helpful for children with special needs like those with autism," says Dr Samir Malhotra, head, department of mental health and behavioural sciences, Max Healthcare.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jul 23, 2013
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