Bonita Springs — Medical practices outside the mainstream of Western medicine are often classified as alternative. They range from the simplest nutritional guidance and supplements to acupuncture, homeopathic remedies and chiropractic as examples that have been accepted in other parts of the world, though acceptance varies. Some countries include payments for alternative solutions in their universal healthcare plans.
Research to support alternative remedies is often anecdotal and attempts at scientific research studies are often hampered by the difficulty in measuring the placebo effect. Even physicians who emphasize nutrition in their standard medical practice often prefer a clear distinction to separate them from any reference to alternative medicine. However, interest is growing.
Michelle Brown, owner of Alternative Natural Healthcare in Bonita Springs, has a master’s degree in oriental medicine and a bachelor’s degree in health science and arts. Brown is taking seven doctors to Suzhou, China in April to study traditional Chinese medicine as part of her passion to share with others the alternative therapies that changed her life.
“I was taking six medicines a day, and my doctor’s response to all of my asthma and allergy symptoms was to prescribe more meds,” explained Brown, “… it wasn’t until I started seeing an acupuncture physician (while living in China) and received a variety of treatments that I got better.”
Brown studied Chinese medicine at the local school in Suzhou and attended the Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida after returning to the U.S.
“Most acupuncture physicians graduating in the last few years are required to have 3000 hours of education including seeing over 450 patients at the student clinic,” said Brown. “Alternative medical studies emphasize diet and nutrition whereas mainline physicians study more about pharmaceuticals.
“I have treated many people successfully with acupuncture, herbal medicine and homeopathy, but my most memorable story is being able to help a woman get her hearing restored after being told …there was nothing that could be done for her.”
Acupuncture originates in ancient China and treats patients by manipulating thin, sterilized solid needles which have been inserted into acupuncture points in the skin for the relief of certain types of pain and illness.
“With people being so conscious of their health and fitness here in Southwest Florida,” Alex Szecsodi, a chiropractic physician, suggests, “chiropractic can be a great adjunct to maintain daily activities.
“Chiropractic adjustments focus on keeping the joints mobile; and combined with therapeutic exercises and physical rehabilitation, an individual can enjoy a natural and effective treatment along with their regular health program.”
Szecsodi introduces people to chiropractic benefits Saturday mornings at the Bonita Lions Club sponsored Farm Fresh Market at the Promenade.
“Tight, stiff muscles and improper spinal alignment play an integral part in your overall health due to the irritation it can place on the surrounding nerves,” explained Szecsodi. “This is what makes chiropractic different from other types of health care in which chiropractic focuses on correcting these issues in a safe and conservative manner.
“From taking walks on the beach in search of that perfect unique shell, to gaining a few more yards on your drive down the fairway, chiropractic care offers relief from not only just pain, but many other health related conditions.
Silvia Casabianca, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, author and owner of Eyes Wide Open of Bonita Springs says their practice “attracts people who want to step out of the ‘pop a pill culture’ and have decided to take responsibility for their own health by leading healthier lifestyles.”
They emphasize massage therapies, exercise, yoga, nutrition, meditation and counseling. They begin with a holistic evaluation of needs. Eyes Wide Open is approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education approved provider.
Alternative medicine therapies remain a personal choice. Bonita Springs offers multiple options. Consulting with a family physician is recommended. Physicians also offer patients nutritional guidance. Dr. Anthony Williamitis’ web site includes a plan to add sprouts, vegetables and fruits to the diet. Recommendations and credentials are an important consideration in any medical decisions. While opinions differ regarding specific therapies associated with alternative and mainline medical practice, they both encourage proper diet, exercise and nutrition.