Recent blood tests showed that my mother who is 62 years old has Hepatitis B...
How do I locate a good alternative physician?
I don't trust alternative medicine.
I live at the beach and in the mountains. I've come to my beach house for the weather and fibromyalgia education...
Twelve-step programs are a good choice. I have seen many
people recover, often for free, through 12-step
programs. If 12-step programs are not your path a few
other resources are available on the Recovery
from Addictions page.
is also an excellent resource, ideally as an adjunct to a
support or 12-step group; occasionally, therapy is used in
lieu of a support group. Therapy can help one recover
Meditation and yoga are also excellent resources. I
suggest the traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism or Taoism.
Or, if you are looking for something more "psychological" try
Silva Method or Neuro
Linguistic Programming (NLP)
for internal centering. You can check your local
alternative newspaper or health food store for meditation
resources in your area.
* A good
medical checkup by a Western or an alternative physician is
always advised, ideally go to both. Health departments
are very inexpensive and staffed by good physicians.
Alternative physicians can often cost much less, and be just
as effective, as Western ones. The medicine is also
milder on the body.
your check up should contain a good blood workup. I
strongly recommend you specifically get checked for HIV (which
leads to AIDS) and Hepatatis B and C. Despite what some
doctors believe, Hepatatis C can be transferred through genital/anal (and maybe
oral) sex; needle use is not necessary as was once commonly
Are you in India? If
so, I would suggest Narcotics Anonymous
in India. You can go
there yourself and ask for advice also ask about Nar-Anon
meetings, this is a fellowship for families of addicts--they
often counsel family members on how to help a loved one.
Another option would be the Kripa
Foundation. This is a
treatment center in India. They will send your brother
to Narcotics Anonymous meetings after treating him. Many
friends of mine got clean at Kripa and followed up with NA
meetings. It works well.
Hi! Thanks for writing!
I assume you live in the
United States? If so, your mother can take the
alternative medical path route, the traditional western
medical path, or a combination of the two. It really
depends on what your mother wants to do. If you don't
live in the US you might have to take whatever you can find.
First off, I would suggest that you get a second test done to confirm that your mother has Hepatatis B. Being that she is 62, I am skeptical that she could contract this disease; more often than not Hepatatis B is found in a younger "wilder-type" of population.
The only way for a person to
contract Hepatatis B is through receiving an infected persons
blood (infection via other bodily fluids is thought highly
unlikely). For example one could become infected by: (1)
sharing needles with an infected person; (2) having sex
without a condom with an infected person; (3) getting an
injection from a dentist or doctor that didn't clean their
needles; and (4) getting a transfusion with Hepatatis B
infected blood. Any route which lets an infected persons
mingle with yours is a chance to get infected. You can
find more information at: Hepatitis B Foundation and the Centers
for Disease Control
(CDC). Quite honestly, if she can't think of a way that
"blood", not saliva, entered her system it is doubtful that
she has Hepatatis B. In fact, you may have already ruled
this out; I don't know.
If she is sure that she has
Hepatatis B she will want to have livers tests done to see how
progressed her disease is. In fact, your mother's doctor
has probably already done this. Now at this point your
mother has a choice to make: (1) If her liver enzymes are
"within normal limits" (a medical term meaning everything is
"OK") she may want to do nothing. Your mother is 62 and
taking care of this medically may be too much. In fact,
because of her age it may be more of a hassle than it is worth
if everything is functioning fine. This is her
decision. It also costs money to treat this disease, but
insurance pays in many cases. (2) If her liver enzymes
are not within normal limits or if she is having pains she
needs to consult with her doctor. I am not a doctor, I
am a therapist, but I regularly work with people who have
Hepatatis so I give away freely what little I know about the
subject. I also advise people on alternative treatments
to supplement and/or replace traditional ones.
Traditional medicine treats
Hepatatis with adefovir dipivoxil, alpha interferon, and
lamivudine according to the CDC's
website and your
mother's doctor will have information on these
treatments. Contact him. I only have experience
treating patients psychologically who are on interferon, but I
suspect the side effects of the other drugs are similar.
At least with interferon some people experience lots of
depression and generally feel bad--I mean really bad
the other hand some people don't have too many side
effects. Its a crap shoot. You really don't know
what side effects you will have until you try the drug.
If she does try this route I recommend Acupuncture or
Ayurvedic Medicine, as detailed below, if she has side
effects. These two cures can do wonders for the side
effects of Western drugs and they do not normally interfere
with Western medicines effectiveness. Talk to your
alternative physician. Also, many good Western doctors
are leary or downright against (afraid) of anything Eastern or
alternative. Trust YOUR gut. The percentages for success
with Western drugs varies by the drug and by the type of
Hepatatis a person has. Ask your doctor.
If you want to go the
alternative medicine only route there are a number of good
choices: Homeopathy, Acupuncture (Traditional Chinese
Medicine), and Ayurvedic Medicine (see the question below this
one, "How do I locate a good alternative physician?," for more
Homeopathy is an excellent
system which relies on the body's own healing defenses to help
it heal itself. Unfortunately, homeopathy can be a
little frustrating, because the practitioner may not choose
the "correct cure" initially. It may take a few tries
before the practitioner hits upon the correct remedy for your
mother's bodily constitution. I am not sure what the
success percentages are for this system. Interestingly
enough the actress Pamela Anderson is treating her Hepatatis C
with Homeopathy and reports that it has been working:
"Anderson, 36, who announced she had the chronic liver
disease in March 2002, is doing well. But she decided against
using interferon after extensive research. Instead, she's
taking a homeopathic approach, which has been working.
Anderson says she encourages others to do their own research,
then follow their hearts in choosing treatment options."
The next system I have a
great deal of experience with: Acupuncture or Traditional
Chinese Medicine. I cured my liver condition, a
non-viral form of Hepatatis, with acupuncture and herbs from
my doctor. He really saved my life. I never had
Hepatatis C or B or even A. I got my condition through
over-using Tylenol, marijuana, and alcohol for many
years. My liver is now cured. I recommend this
method highly. In talking with my doc about Hepatatis C
in particular, he has cured people with this disorder. I
don't know about B though, but generally Hepatatis C is more
debilitating and more difficult to treat than B. You
might want to try him if you are local. His name is Phil
Ricker at the Acupuncture Center of Asheville Ph. (828)
232-1002. If not, look around for a person in your home
town. I recommend someone with 10-15+ years of
The last method I will write about is Ayurvedic Medicine. What Acupuncture is to China, Ayurvedic Medicine is to India. A good Ayurvedic physician, in fact one of the best in the world, is Vasant Lad in Albuquerque New Mexico. You can find him at The Ayurvedic Institute. Quite honestly, if I had a terminal disease, or if my regular doctor could not cure my condition within a few months, I would be flying to Albuquerque to get treated by Dr. Vasant Lad. He is the best!
Thats it. Enough of my writing. Send your mother my love!
To find an alternative
physician look in your phone book under Physicians,
Naturopathic Doctors (ND), Ayurvedic Medicine, Acupuncture
(Traditional Chinese Medicine), or Homeopathic Medicine.
Find one you like then check out their credentials. To
do this I recommend that you ask them some poignant questions:
did you go to school?" Write down their answer then go
look it up on the net or in the phone book. Most schools
have websites these days. Is it a real college or was it
just a "correspondence course?" Ask questions.
Many alternative practitioners will be happy to tell you about
many years did you go to school?" I wouldn't work with
an alternative physician who hadn't been in school at least
two or more years.
Many Western doctors advertise themselves
as practicing "alternative medicine," but check out their
credentials. Physicians who practice alternative
medicine might not be well trained in the alternative medical
field they claim to know. If you run into a Western
doctor claiming to practice complimentary (often herbology in
a Western vein) or alternative medicine ask this question:
many years did you attend alternative
medical college in addition to your
Western medical schooling?" (they might get angry when you ask
them this) If they give you an answer you will often find
that they "took a few classes" or have "studied the subject."
However, a true alternative medical doctor such as a
Homeopath, Acupuncturist, Ayurvedic Physician, Tibetan Medical
Doctor, Naturopathic Physician (ND) or Herbalist will have
spent 2-3 years, at least, in college plus an internship,
often 6 months to 1 year or more.
Next ask all of them:
many months (ideally 1 year or more) did you intern under a
doctor who was trained in your alternative field." (Thus, a Western physician will
have done two separate internships and probably been to two completely
different medical schools: one for Western medicine and the
other for alternative medicine.) Note: many of the
complimentary doctors will not have done an internship in
their "complimentary" or "alternative" field. I do not recommend that you use an alternative
medical doctor who has not done an internship.
* And finally, use someone who has already been practicing for 10+ years.
This is a sticky issue.
Chiropractors advertise themselves as being Acupuncturists or
using acupuncture, but they are not Acupuncturists in the
Chiropractic schools usually do not train
their students in the intricacies of Chinese Medicine (often
2-3 years of study). They are taught very little about
diagnosing diseases and fully using the acupuncture points and
meridians to treat diseases like an Acupuncturist would
be. Chinese Medicine is a completely different field from Chiropractic. So I
recommend, and most Acupuncturists would too, that you avoid
using Chiropractors to treat diseases with Acupuncture.
If the Chiropractor says that they are qualified to treat
diseases with acupuncture make them tell you where they went
to "Chinese Medical College," how long they were there, and
how many months or years they interned with a Chinese
Medical Doctor. It is possible that they, like a
complimentary physician, may have done the extra schooling,
but this is usually not the case.
On Choosing an Acupuncturist
When choosing an
Acupuncturist it is important to know that some only treat
with needles and some treat with needles and herbs. It
is entirely up to you, but I suggest that you find an
Acupuncturist who uses needles and herbs. It has been said of the two
treatments that herbs account for 80% of the cure and the
needles only 20%. In fact, Ayurvedic Medicine and
Western Herbology use only herbs and both have similar success
rates for curing diseases as Acupuncture.
I usually recommend people to
alternative physicians who are skilled in "pulse diagnosis"
because this method of disease diagnosis is so accurate.
Pulse diagnosis is a system which involves feeling the
"nature" of the pulse to precisely pinpoint the nature of the
malady--it sounds a little weird, and Western medicine doesn't
understand it, but it works. Alternative medical schools
which use pulse diagnosis are: Acupuncture (a.k.a. Chinese
Medicine), Ayurvedic Medicine and Tibetan Medicine.
If none of these methods
suits your taste other choices which I recommend people to are
homeopaths. You can find a good homeopath in your area
by asking around or looking in the phone book.
Homeopathy is an excellent system which relies on your bodies
own healing defenses. I recommend that you stop smoking
and stop drinking coffee (two of the substances which
counteract the effectiveness of homeopathy) before choosing
this method. Also, homeopathy can take quite awhile to
cure some diseases, and it can be a little frustrating because
the practitioner may not choose the "correct cure"
initially. It may take them more than one try before
they hit upon the correct cure for your body's constitution.
Finally, two other choices
are Naturopathic medicine, an ND, and herbology. Look
around and ask questions. You can often find an
excellent herbologist or ND in your area.
Some people don't and its not
No I do not have experience
with fibromyalgia. I do however have experience with
other types of chronic pain. I had migraines for many
years. Here is how I coped with them:
I found great relief from pain through alternative medicine, yoga and therapy. I spoke with my alternative medical doctor, Phil Ricker, about fibromyalgia (I did not use your name) and he said Chinese Medicine (a.k.a. acupuncture) can be of great benefit to people suffering from this condition; he has treated many people with this syndrome.
Phil has treated me for headaches over the last few years and my chronic pain has slowly gotten better. Now my life is much more manageable and I feel sure that I will be cured in time. If you try this you will probably want to get treated, or at least start treatment at the beach, but when you come back this way I highly recommend Phil. His address is: The Acupuncture Center of Asheville; 12 Elk Mountain Road, Asheville, NC 28804 Ph. 828-232-1002.
Alternatively, you could also try Ayurvedic medicine (Indian herbology); especially if you have a needle phobia. Quite honestly, I am slightly needle phobic, but acupuncture needles are so uninvasive that I asked my doctor recently to teach me how to put in my own needles. Of course he would not since one must have specialized training to do this, but it does point out how easily I accepted the use of "acupuncture" needles for treatment.
As Chinese Medicine and
acupuncture are to Chi Gong and Tai Chi so Ayurvedic Medicine
is to Yoga. I highly recommend one of these disciplines, you
pick, to practice a few times a week or ideally a little every
day. You could shop around for a teacher and a practice to see
what suits you. Also ask the teacher if they know anything
about fibromyalgia and if they have any experience with it.
Some do. In Asheville, I recommend you look around or
you could try Lilah Schwartz at Lighten-Up Yoga; she is excellent at working with medical
conditions. Find someone that feels good to you.
If you want to go even
further within I recommend "sitting meditation." You
could try a person through the Mountain
Express or look for someone
who teaches Hindu, Buddhist, or Taoist meditation.
Meditation can help break up the pain of fibromyalgia. I
have a friend with fibromyalgia who practices meditation and
says that it helps a great deal. Once she noted to me that
being around people helped the most. Even "just having a dumb
conversation with someone" she said, helped to get her out of
herself and helped her to stop focusing on her pain. Staying
in isolation and not talking to people about what you are
feeling is not the way to recovery. Thus, I recommend
that you talk about what you are feeling. Either with a
friend, a therapist, a pastor. You can also find support
groups dealing with fibromyalgia in the phone book, newspaper,
your local mental health center, or the hospital.
Another option is hypnosis;
this is an ideal treatment for chronic pain conditions.
I found a great deal of help with my chronic pain through
therapy. It helped me take the lid off of my mental
ruminations upon the problem. Eventually I noticed after
a good cry my pain would get better.
I wish you the best.
Sometimes. Talk to me and we can probably work something out.
No, but I will give you a
"super bill" (a standard bill) and you can file your visits
with me with your insurance company; this is a standard
practice and is known as using an "out of network provider."
I have a web site and would like to add a link to your site. Please let me know if this is OK with you.
That's fine. Thanks for asking.
Maybe. Send me the link, but I won't promise anything. At this point my site is finished and I rarely add links.