• What treatments do you recommend for addiction?
     • My brother is addicted to "Ganaja"--it's a Hindi (India) word. Kindly suggest me.

Alternative Medicine
     • 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...

     • Just wanted to know if you accept Medicaid?
     • Do you accept insurance?
     • Do you offer discounts?

     • I have a web site and would like to add a link to your site.
     • Would you mind adding a link to my site?

What treatments do you recommend for addiction?

     * 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.

     * Therapy 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 faster.

     * 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 The 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.

     * Ideally 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 believed.

My brother is addicted to "Ganaja"--it's a Hindi (India) word.  Kindly suggest me.


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.

Recent blood test showed that my mother who is 62 years old has a Hepatatis b.  If you could please let me know what could be done in order to cure it.  Sincerely yours:

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 blood 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…  On 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 information). 

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 experience.

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!



How do I locate a good alternative physician?

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:

     * "Where 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 their background.

     * "How 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:

     * "How 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:

     * "How 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.

On Chiropractors

This is a sticky issue.  Chiropractors advertise themselves as being Acupuncturists or using acupuncture, but they are not Acupuncturists in the traditional since.

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.

Alternative Systems

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.

I don't trust alternative medicine.

Some people don't and its not for everybody.

I live at the beach and in the mountains.  I've come to my beach house for the weather and fibromyalgia education.  Do you have experiance with coping with this kind of chronic pain??

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.  Good luck.


Just wanted to know if you accept Medicaid?


Do you offer discounts?

Sometimes.  Talk to me and we can probably work something out.

Do you accept insurance?

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."

Dear Eric,

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.

Would you mind adding a link to my site?

Maybe.  Send me the link, but I won't promise anything.  At this point my site is finished and I rarely add links.

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