Episode 71: A Western Perspective on PD: Understanding Complementary Medicine

When we think of medicine from a Western perspective, we often think of treatments including things such as drugs, surgical operations, or rehabilitation therapies like physical, occupational, or speech therapy. While these treatments may be coordinated by a neurology or movement disorders office, most often they are not.

However, in many Eastern cultures, medicine exists as integrated systems. For example, there is traditional Chinese medicine that considers a vital energy (“ch’i”) circulating in channels throughout the body, with disease seen as disharmony of the complementary aspects of yin and yang. This is addressed with the use of herbs, acupuncture, massage, exercise, dietary therapy, and other techniques aimed at restoring a healthy balance. Similarly, Indian Ayurvedic medicine is a holistic healing system based on the concept that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance among the mind, body, and spirit.

However, most if not all of the herbs, supplements, and other compounds that are sold in the West for use in traditional Ayurveda or Chinese medicine and alternative/complementary medicine in general are not tested by the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, to be determined as safe, and they may not even contain what they are purported to be. In this episode, Dr. Benzi Kluger, Professor and neuropalliative care specialist at the University of Rochester, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, discusses complementary/alternative medicine from a Western perspective, with an eye on what may be safe to try, as well as some cautions.

Released: December 31, 2019

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