Health: Natural forms of medicine

by Aaron Burns

The days of most women exclusively using traditional forms of medicine to solve their health issues may be coming to an end.

Natural and holistic medicines are more than non-conventional ways to combat conditions from depression and weight gain to menopause, cancer and infertility. They’re a mix of connecting the mind, body and spirit, according to a 1999 book by American Holistic Health Association President Suzan Walter.

What comprises natural and holistic medicine?

It’s a wide range of concepts, said Cristin Gregory, the owner of Wellbeing Natural Health in Cornelius.

Herbal supplements – used to solve illnesses – and acupuncture are popular ways to restore your health. They’ve become more known as women seek effective, affordable solutions to a variety of maladies.

Gregory uses supplements like “Free and Easy Wanderer Plus,” a mix of Chinese herbs used to combat female hormonal issues or depression. Other holistic medicines can have a greater effect.

“Holistic medicine can most certainly treat serious illnesses,” Gregory said. “I think the most effective strategy for patients facing a serious illness is to look at all of your options and come up with a plan that feels right to you. I always tell my patients to use their doctors and health practitioners as tools for gathering information.”

Gregory specializes in Chinese medicine, which includes acupuncture, herbal supplements, nutrition plans and medical Qigong.

Acupuncture, Gregory said, is the most commonly known Chinese medicinal method but it’s far from the only one.

Qigong is a healing, internal form of martial arts. Qigong’s process of aligning breath, exercise and movement borrows from philosophy, medicine and martial arts. Some consider it an exercise, but its roots are medicinal, like acupuncture.

Gregory cautions women to avoid drug-herb interactions and to consult a licensed health professional before seeking herbal medicine.

The two methods seek the same result: healing the person as quickly and efficiently as possible, but they are different.

“When a woman comes to see me for menopausal symptoms, I’m not just going to give her a pill and send her on her way,” Gregory said.

“Chinese medicine practitioners will ask about stress, sleep, diet, a woman’s support network (and) self esteem to get at the root of the problem and to treat the problem holistically.”

One aspect of natural and holistic medicines that sets it apart from traditional treatment, such as using pharmaceutical drugs, is its penchant for seeking solutions to illness by examining the person as much as the symptoms.

What has caused the increase in people using holistic medicines?

“(People are) researching the effect of pharmaceutical drugs on the Internet,” Dr. Arthur Cushing, of the Holistic Wellness Center of Charlotte, said.

He said holistic medicine can complement and support other medical treatments for breast cancer. She suggests women go to an oncologist, acupuncturist, massage therapist and nutritionist in addition to seeking traditional medical help for cancer.

“Herbal medicine is very effective, safe and affordable,” Gregory said. “I think people like the idea of taking something natural that comes from the earth, that we can grow in our backyards, and that gently helps the body heal itself without creating other symptoms.”

Want to try a new form of medication?

Wellbeing Natural Health, 21121 Catawba Ave. in Cornelius, offers thousands of Chinese herbal supplements. They also offer community acupuncture, where you can receive treatment with up to three other people. Call 704-655-7324 for more information.

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