THE BLOG
01/18/2013 05:06 pm ET Updated May 23, 2014

Avoid the Knife (and Drugs) With Alternative Therapy

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Six years ago my husband had stem cells injected into his heart (injured during a routine medical procedure) to strengthen it and to possibly avert any future deterioration; this was performed in Bangkok, by physicians trained and associated with U.S. stem cell professionals. He was the 35th patient to ever receive stem cells derived from his own blood through this newly-patented procedure. Today, with stem cells and nutritional therapy, he is more vibrant than ever. The procedure had strengthened his heart muscle by 50 percent. Back then, stem cell therapy was considered a Star Wars concept, and still is in many minds, but today this alternative therapy seems to be snowballing into becoming mainstream.

It's unfortunate that the majority of Americans still equate all stem cell therapy with embryos, but what's not as prominently known is that there are adult stem cells, which includes those derived from bone marrow, personal blood, fat cells, and donated cells of brain and skin tissue.

Today there are reported and verified cases of remarkable reversal of debilitating physical ailments such as stroke, pain, bone and ligament injuries by the injection of stem cells. It's unfortunate that Americans are still pressed to travel overseas for most stem cell treatments for the heart, but there are centers throughout the U.S. that offer options for various conditions that stem cells can benefit. A person does not have to be fearful of this any longer. The stigmas that were once attached to these precarious alternatives are now disappearing. The stigma of stem cells per se as only coming from embryos is slowly eradicating with the growing awareness that stem cells can be extracted from other sources.

John Brodie, once a dynamic NFL football quarterback, experienced a significant stroke in 2000 that left him debilitated, bedridden, without control of his bodily functions. Now, after stem cell therapy in Europe, he is walking, talking and now has a better quality of life. I personally know a woman who had been in a horrific automobile accident many, many years ago that left her legs in constant pain, recently had injections of her own stem cells derived from her own fat. Within days, her pain was gone, and walking was no longer agonizing; for the last year there has been no pain since the two treatments. Also, Peyton Manning, another notable quarterback, has reportedly undergone stem cell injections in Europe, using his own fat cells, for his recent neck injury.

Yes, stem cell therapy is costly, and like all breakthrough procedures, in time the price will go down. But stem cell therapy is just one of many alternative therapies that anyone can be offered to relieve myriad conditions; here are just a few:
  • Stem cell therapy
  • EECP therapy
  • Hyperbaric chamber therapy
  • Glutathione/chelation therapy
  • Medical marijuana

Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) is a little-known therapy that actually is Harvard-produced, FDA-approved, and Medicare-approved (for certain medical problems). This is a non-invasive procedure of electrodes applied to the chest, and attached to an electrocardiograph machine to monitor heart rhythm, while cuffs are wrapped around the ankles, thighs and buttocks to gently compress the blood vessels in the lower limbs, increasing blood flow to the heart. The completed therapy aids in restoring circulation to a functional level. Success stories include relief from angina, obstructed circulation, and congestive heart failure, yet the average patient is rarely told about this option. In fact, it does not become an option with doctors because for them there is no major financial benefit, it is a hindrance to their office structure, and not conducive with their cardiological acumen, says Dr. Richard N. Fogoros, former professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. And because of this, it is hard to find a center to go to. A series of 35 sessions is the standard allowable therapy that has been determined to achieve the optimum benefit. This is a treatment that more and more people should request in order to bring it to light. As the FDA and Medicare have approved this procedure, it makes sense to give it a try.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be the most efficient method of transporting oxygen to every cell of the body. And oxygen is what the body needs for recuperation from trauma. Hyperbaric therapy for stroke and brain injury have not had enough trials and studies to determine their degrees of efficacy, but personal successes have been continually reported over the years, since the public became aware of this after President Kennedy authorized it for his ailing baby. Successes and continual use have proven that it does warrant an option for anyone in dire need of improvement after such trauma. It is FDA- and Medicare-approved for such things as severe wound healing, carbon monoxide poisoning, smoke inhalation, and diabetic foot ulcers. In knowing this, it shows that it is deemed safe, and does have merit. And for anyone wishing to try oxygen therapy for improvement after a stroke, there are centers throughout the country that offer this, where they strongly believe in beneficial results. The necessary amount of sessions is usually at least 20 to see signs of improvement.

Glutathione and chelation therapies are nutritional, natural approaches to improving health and health conditions. Glutathione is considered "the mother of all antioxidants." We all have a natural stream of glutathione running through our system, and major trauma and disease will lower this supply. When our supply is low, our bodies suffer, and have difficulty in any recuperation process. This nutrient can get a boost by taking certain other supplements such as R-lipoic acid, milk thistle and N-acetyl cysteine, but through intravenous therapy (IV) this remarkable nutrient can be presented directly, in its purest form. IV glutathione is offered at nutritional centers all over the country. David Perlmutter, M.D., neurologist, has done research with this antioxidant and Parkinson's, and has found it to be "quite effective" in improving symptoms. It has had great results in treating fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, Alzheimer's, autoimmune diseases, liver and brain detoxification, and autism. A study in 2010 involving the Cleveland Clinic has shown marked improvement in treating male infertility.

Chelation is another natural approach to improving health. This IV procedure introduces EDTA into the body, a synthetic amino acid first introduced in the 1940s that draws out heavy metals and free radicals from the body naturally. It is a proven treatment for lead poisoning in hospitals. Doctors throughout the country offer chelation for detoxification purposes, and purport that it may also have the ability to dissolve plaque and calcium blockages. Larger studies are needed to show proof to the medical community, FDA and Medicare, that it can be a preventive measure in heart disease before approving it. Lead poisoning is something much more prevalent and harmful to children than adults. The symptoms can include:

• Abdominal pain and cramping
• Aggressive behavior
• Anemia
• Constipation
• Sleep disturbance
• Headaches
• Irritability
• Loss of previous developmental skills (in young children)
• Low appetite and energy
• Reduced sensations

Lead and other heavy metals accumulated in the body can cause health maladies at any age, like joint pain, circulation problems and autoimmune diseases. Length of treatment relates to each particular ailment.

Medical marijuana of course is a controversial treatment, legal in just 16 states at the present. But studies have shown its effectiveness in helping with chronic pain, especially in cancer patients, as well as helping with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. It has helped many with sleep disorders; those with major debilitating diseases, such as multiple sclerosis or HIV, use it to cope with side effects. For end-stage disease, medical marijuana could be considered for bettering the quality of remaining life.

There are suggestions that the beneficial substance in marijuana, THC, should be made into a drug instead of allowing the patient to smoke marijuana in its original form. Because it cannot be patented since it's not a drug, the FDA has yet to approve it. Several independent companies are currently in the process of producing pill-form marijuana by extracting certain compounds such as cannabidiol that seems to be effective on pain and inflammation but does not give the high effect.

"Marijuana contains anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and probably anticancer compounds in it," says Dr. Donald Abrams, an oncology physician and professor of clinical medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). "I'm a cancer doctor and I often suggest to my patients that they consider marijuana for their loss of appetite, nausea, pain, depression, and insomnia. That's one medicine they can use instead of five."

Too many times patients are not given the options of the preventive treatments that can save them from forthcoming surgeries, unnecessary harmful prescription drugs, and debilitating pain. With the onset of the increased awareness concerning alternative therapies, everyone now has more options to improve their health and well-being. Personal physicians should be queried about these options, but if they do not have the knowledge or do not approve, then, as patients, second opinions are warranted. We are in control of our health, and can and should be proactive. Without physician referral, it is imperative that we take upon ourselves the initiative to research and explore these and any natural therapeutic options.

For more by Linda Larrowe Bergersen, click here.

For more on natural health, click here.

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