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

PD Library thumbnail

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.

Download This Episode

Related Resources

About This Episode

Released: December 31, 2019

Benzi Kluger, MD, MS, FAAN

BKlugerBenzi Kluger is a Professor of Neurology and Medicine and the founding Director of the Division of Neuropalliative Care and the Palliative Care Research Center at the University of Rochester in New York where he recently moved. He is internationally recognized for his pioneering efforts to bring a palliative care approach to improve outcomes for persons affected by neurologic illnesses. He also pursues research to improve therapies for nonmotor symptoms in Parkinson's disease, particularly fatigue and cognitive impairment. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the Michael J Fox Foundation, and the Department of Defense.

Want More?

Don't forget to subscribe! There are many ways to listen: Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayTuneIn (Amazon Echo), Spotify or RSS Feed. (Need help subscribing? See our quick guide.)

For all of our Substantial Matters podcast episodes, visit parkinson.org/podcast.


Sign Up for Our E-Newsletter

Get the latest news about PD research, resources and community initiatives – straight to your inbox.

Please enter a valid email

Skip step

Invalid year format. Eg: 2020
Skip step
Zip code is required for chapter communications
Skip step

*Please note that not all content is available in both languages. If you are interested in receiving Spanish communications, we recommend selecting “both" to stay best informed on the Foundation's work and the latest in PD news.

Skip step

Thanks for Signing Up

We are proud to have you as a part of our community. To ensure you receive the latest Parkinson’s news, research updates and more, please check your email for a message from us. If you do not see our email, it may be in your spam folder. Just mark as “not spam” and you should receive our emails as expected.

mail icon

Subscribe here to get the latest news on treatments, research and other updates.