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Thumbs up for holistic medicine in the West.

Dubai: The Western attitude towards complementary and alternative medicine has been, to put it mildly, far from complimentary.

Observably, a visit from a Western authority at Dubai's popular wellness centre -- the Dubai Herbal and Treatment Centre (DHTC), belies that notion right away.

Visiting doctor Christine Stossier from Austrian Viva Mayr, recognised as Europe's Best Medical Resort, and directly associated with the Viva Mayr Diet -- touted to effectively purge toxins from the body -- believes that mainstream medicine needs alternative medicine.

Pointing to a document on allopathic medicine on her desk, she told Gulf News that the scientists in the report have recommended a combination of allopathic medicine and supplements.

"The supplements like minerals and vitamins help the body deal with some of the side effects of allopathic medicine. Complementary medicine practitioners have been pushing for healing through nutrition in food all along," she said.

Her belief is in preventative health action, she said, "While mainstream medicine works with scans, complementary medicine uses symptoms as guidance."

Dr Christine said that people are increasingly adopting a holistic philosophy. Whether through testimonials or through the growing body of research on the benefits of complementary medicine, people are more open to the idea of integrated medicine.

"We have a new generation of doctors and patients who are open about complementary medicine," she said.

According to the US-based National Library of Medicine, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) includes therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic and herbal. Studies are underway to determine the safety and usefulness of many CAM practices.

Dr Christine believes that the negative labels are finally being peeled off from the image of complementary medicine.

"People used to call it rubbish, hocus-pocus, even a placebo effect. The wisdom passed down the generations from healers is gradually being supported by medical science and research," she said.

Speaking of the Viva Mayr philosophy that is based on a direct link between digestive health and overall health, she said that the aim is to enhance the natural digestive processes.

She strongly recommends chewing food well to increase absorption. "Illness and disease are often the result of overburdening the digestive tract," she said. At the DHTC, clients, who have been to the Viva Mayr clinic in Austria as well as regular patients, consult Dr Christine who visits four times a year.

"Through the collaboration with the Centre, we are promoting wellness together," said Dr Christine, whose next visit is expected to be in October this year.

Having said that, in the consciousness of western medicine users, complementary medicine is a few years away from being the cornerstone of healing and wellness, she said.

"Yet there is no more the case of aACAyeither' aACAyor' -- it is about integration."

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:May 25, 2013
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