Saturday, April 17, 2010

Back Pain Can be Cured Using Alexander Technique

Back pain can be cured using Alexander Technique

Alexander Technique has been used as a part of acting and modelling education. People learn with this method to research their body and get a good performance out of it. Artists, politicans and teachers have used it in order to do their profession in a better way.

Important researchers like Nikko Tinbergen, on being awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1973 recommended it for autism and stress disease. One of the major stress illnesses is back pain. The new British randomly controlled ATEAM - Study had proved that the Alexander Technique is more effective than massage methods.

The leader of the study was Professor Dr. Paul Little Faculty, Medicine, Health and Life Sciences of the University of Southampton. He and his colleques inspected 579 patients with chronical back pains or with recidivism for this illness by consulting rooms in England. The patients had had a value of four or more on the so-called Roland-Morris scale. The Roland-Morris Disability Questionaire (RDQ) was used because this form of test is regarded as useful. The patients were divided in four groups. The first control group was treated with general medical standard methods. The second group got six classical lessons with therapeutical massages. The third group received six hours in teaching Alexander Technique. The last group received a 24 - hour training in Alexander Technique.

After that all groups were divided up in two parts. Four groups were taught sports by the Doctor and advised by a nurse in rules and behaviour of back pains. The rest four groups did not get any advice.
The back pains were proved by the RQD after three and twelve months. Patients of the first group complained about back pains on 21 of 28 days, after the study was finished twelve month before.
The second group had reported that the massage lessons and movements had reduced the days of pains about 33 percent. At the first test they were able to do their movements better than before. At the second test this improvement was lost. The third group managed a 72 per cent improvement of that of the fourth group.

The fourth group had the best results. The patients said that they had back pains only three days in a month. The days of pain were reduced about 86 percent. 42 percent of the third group explained that the movements of their actions were less borded. The result was not improved by sports. This study shows that the Alexander technique is helpful to prevent back pains for a long-term.
The patients learnt how they can help themselves and gain control over their body.
The massages showed a short- term effect. There were no results about a mix of massages and Alexander Technique in order to treat acute forms of back pains. Furthermore it is not stated by the researchers on which massage was used for the study. So the results of the study cannot used to claim effects of massages, if any. But it proves that back pains can be cured by Alexander Technique.

The roots of Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique is based on the Australian Shakespeare actor Frederick Matthias Alexander. He had chronic vocal troubles. No practioner was able to help him. It resulted in years of pain taking self-observation and experiementation. During the time he recognized that while acting he tended to stiffen his neck and pull his head back and down. Thereby he had depressed his vocal cords and had shortened his spine. The correct movement pattern could only be achieved by consciously allowing the head to assume its correct orientation in relation to the neck and torso. He had to practise it every day in order to break with his wrong habitual patterns. He began to teach his experiences and discoveries about this new method in Australia.

Encouraged by doctors, he came to London at the turn of the century and taught his technique both in England and America until 1955.

The instruction

The exercises are taught in individual lessons. The pupil is made aware of what he is doing, and how this interferes with the head-neck-torso relationship in rest and acitivity. The teacher conveys through his hands the fact and sense of a new manner of use, and the student is encouraged to think with the teacher so that he learns increasingly to create this co-ordination for himself. There is an experience of lengthening, expansion, and ease in movement, although it almost certainly feels strange at first. A slight touch may be all that is necessary to allow an effortless change from sitting to standing, such being the extraordinary freedom and lightness when the head is allowed to lead the body.

The teacher needs to be careful about correcting specific defects and postural faults.These generally arises out of poor general conditions which must be put in order first. Alexander deprecated breathing exercises, relaxation and other specific cures. He was very concerned about the integrity of psychophysical organism and therefore did not give treatment or promise any instant relief. The range and the application of the Alexander technique is as wide as human activity itself. It has a great potential in all manners of psychosomatic and mechanical disorders, particulary back and neck problems, and in rehabilitation following accidents or injury. The study shows that the Alexander Techniques work at back pain. Alexander Technique can be learnt by all and prevent and cure illnesses and improve body performance.

Prof. Dr. Eva - Maria Vogel ( Germany )

Visiting Professor
Indian Board of Alternative Medicines
80, Chowringhee Road
Kolkata - 700020
Website -

Ten Golden Rules of Health

Ten Golden Rules of Health

Eat healthy, fresh and nutritious food. Seasonal fruits and vegetables, wholesome food and germinated grains. Avoid over cooking. Chew your food well. Organically grown foods should be given preference. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of fresh and pure water daily.

15 minutes of regular exercise for at least 4 days a week is essential. Brisk walking, yoga, surya namaskar etc are good practices. Deep breathing exercises such as prayanam should be practiced daily. Body weight should be maintained through proper diet and regular exercise.

At least 7-8 hours sleep per night is essential for invigorating and refreshing health.

Regular bath and regular habit of defecation should be maintained. Fasting once a week helps the body to recuperate and rejuvenate. Liquids such as warm water, citric fruits juices, fresh buttermilk, coconut water etc can be taken during fasting.

Avoid alcohol, tobacco, drugs, tea, coffee, aerated water, sugar, fatty foods, junks food, processed, canned and frozen foods etc as far as practical.

Laugh, play and have fun often. Avoid negative mental attitudes.

Maintain strong and harmonious relationships with family and friends.

Meditate, pray, contemplate, relax or find time for yourself everyday.

Be thankful to HIGHER POWER who has created the universe.

Love, forgiveness and compassion lead to happiness


Dr. Suresh Kumar Agarwal
Indian Board of Alternative Medicines
80, Chowringhee Road
Kolkata - 700020

Alternative Medicine to the rescue - Alternative Medicine and Indian Health Care

Alternative Medicine and Indian Healthcare:
“Alternative medicine should be embraced as an essential part of healthcare in India”

Alternative medicine is a major enterprise in India. In November 2009, the government’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced the steps it would be taking to promote ‘Indian Systems of Medicine’ in the country, including spending Rs. 922 crore on the promotion of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy). Major claims have recently been made for alternative medicine – such as that Ayurveda can be used for anaemia or ano-rectal ailments, and that homeopathy can be used to prevent or cure swine flu, or to treat Aids and malaria.

In an era characterised by evidence-based science and politics, should official endorsement be given to remedies that cannot be scientifically proven? Is alternative medicine a form of quackery, which puts patients at risk? Or is the interest in alternative medicine a positive sign that we are beginning to move beyond a too-narrow approach to disease, towards recognising the more subtle relationship between mind and body and the need to find holistic cures? Do traditional medicines play an important role in preventive medicine, contributing to a more affordable and effective healthcare system than the Western medical model?

The debate in context:

What is complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)?
Many discussions about alternative medicine today take place under the umbrella term ‘complementary and alternative medicine’ (CAM). This implies that alternative medicine should not be seen solely as something that can be used instead of conventional medicine, but can and should be used alongside it. CAM refers to treatments that differ from conventional, or ‘allopathic’, medicine – medicine based on scientific testing that is taught to medical professionals. Systems of CAM have often evolved apart from and earlier than the conventional medical approach used in the Western world. Some such systems, such as homeopathy and naturopathy, have developed in Western cultures; others, such as traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, have developed outside of the West.

Does CAM work – and if so, how?

Critics of CAM argue that the very term is problematic, giving mysticism more scientific credence than it deserves. As the editors of the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) have argued: ‘there is no alternative medicine. There is only scientifically proven, evidence-based medicine supported by solid data or unproven medicine’. Advocates of CAM, however, argue that the lack of scientific evidence about the efficacy of CAM betrays too narrow an approach to the understanding and treatment of illness. They point to the failure of conventional medicine to cure certain serious diseases, such as cancer, and the extent to which patients suffering from these diseases can be helped by therapies like Ayurveda. They note that conventional medicine has itself moved towards a more holistic appreciation of the treatment of disease, and that some natural remedies or techniques, such as the use of quinine to treat malaria, have been adopted and accepted by practitioners of conventional medicine.

Even critics of CAM do not dispute that in many cases, alternative remedies can make patients feel better, despite not curing the disease – so isn’t this a worthwhile goal in itself? The importance of preventive medicine, including lifestyle modification, has been globally acknowledged: it is seen as better and more cost-effective to enable people to avoid physical or mental illnesses in the first place, rather than simply trying to treat the disease when it emerges. Alternative medicine, it is argued, has a crucial role to play in this. Furthermore, in a society like India, for which the affordability of healthcare is a major challenge, different models need to be sought that make the most of the country’s experience and expertise, including in the field of alternative medicine. Advocates argue that the orientation of CAM ‘towards self-healing and health promotion (salutogenesis rather than pathogenesis)’ make ‘alternative medicine approaches to chronic diseases especially attractive and affordable for the developing countries’.

The rise of CAM

One of the key aims of the government scheme the National Rural Health Mission is to ‘encourage a healthy lifestyle and alternative systems of medicine through AYUSH’. In November 2009, Chief Minister, BS Yedyurappa, told a conference that access and awareness of alternative medicines should be spread in rural areas. The officially-recognised status of alternative medicine in India is also indicated by the reach of the Indian Board of Alternative Medicine, established in 1991 by Dr.Suresh Kumar Agarwal; and the appointment of Smt. S. Jalaja IAS as secretary to the Department of AYUSH.

The growing interest in, and promotion of, alternative medicine by the political and medical authorities is not confined to India. Despite being at the forefront of advances in conventional, ‘Western’ medicine, the USA provides a significant market for traditionally Indian and Chinese remedies. Organisations such as the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine contribute to the official status of alternative medicine in the USA. In the UK, a major debate took place in 2006 about whether CAM should be provided by the National Health Service (NHS). In the USA and UK, affordability of healthcare is also a key issue, raising questions about whether attachment to the Western model of medicine is appropriate even for Western societies, let alone other cultures.

A different kind of medicine?

These developments show that CAM is not an unregulated, maverick market, but is fast becoming subject to official and scientific research and regulation. Advocates of CAM argue that quacks can be weeded out by better training and standard-setting. Some also argue that criticism of alternative medicine arises from a Western bias, which distorts the facts about CAM and refuses to countenance its effectiveness. Critics, however, point to concerns about the safety of certain forms of alternative medicine. Discussions about the affordability of alternative compared to allopathic medicine lead to concerns that patients are being duped by irrational treatments that will not make them better. Shouldn’t a universal healthcare system ultimately seek to provide proven cures for illnesses, rather than taking the cheaper but less effective route of alternative medicine?

Courtesy : British Council

Indian Board of Alternative Medicine
80, Chowringhee Road
Kolkata - 700020

Alternative Medicine - Emerging Career Opportunities

If we look at the current scenario, the method of treating different diseases by making the best use of alternative medical science has greatly increased. In recent times, very large populations of people have started using alternative medicine for curing their disease. Here we explain about the various fields of alternative medicine and career opportunities available for study in alternative medicine through different distance learning or correspondence education programs.

The use of plants for healing and curing different diseases is not new. It is an ancient medical science, popularly known as complementary medicine and counted among the most widely known therapies. Today alternative medicine is considered safer, natural, and inexpensive. It is one of its own kinds of medical science that is primarily based on the medical traditions and focus on curing based on capabilities of herbs and different other natural elements. In addition to this, the key feature that makes this medical science different is that it empowers a patient to prevent diseases through the Whole Healing, instead of having to rely exclusively on medical professionals for treatment of specified diseases. Alternative Medicine emphasizes on the patient's entire internal condition, along with the state of mind and emotional balance.

Today if we look at the current scenario the methods of treating different diseases by making the best use of alternative medicine science has increased. In recent times, many people have started using alternative medicine for curing their disease. In fact, as per the recent survey conducted by the National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine of the United States, it has been revealed that near about 36% of Americans are using alternative medicine science for healing and treatment. As a result, in the last few years many career fields in alternative medicine science have emerged at a phenomenal pace. Today there are many fields of alternative medicine and career opportunities available for study in alternative medicine through distance learning or correspondence education programs. These mainly include:

Acupuncture - In alternative medicine science acupuncture is truly a very rewarding career. Its effectiveness has been proved in many treatments and today it is practiced in many parts of the world. It is a thousand year old treatment procedure and has a very good career growth potential. In fact, today it is one of the most requested forms of treatment in the fast-growing field of alternative medicine science and holds promise as one of the key modalities to be used in current and future integrative medical settings.
Massage therapy - Massage therapy is another field of alternative medicine science that too offers enormous growth opportunities. It is one of the few professions in alternative medicine science that too offers lucrative income and rewarding career growth opportunities. This career field is expected to grow at a faster than average rate over the next several years.
Herbal medicine - With the demand for alternative medicine on the rise, herbal medicine is another field that further provides a variety of opportunities in different professional fields including positions such as herbalists, natural healing practitioners, Ayurvedic practitioners, and related fields in iridology.
Naturopathic medicine - Naturopathic medicine covers every aspects of family health from prenatal to geriatric care, with a special focus on whole-patient wellness. The prospect for making a prosperous living in this field is extremely very excellent for the foreseeable future. The key feature is that making a career in this field is different from others as is it focuses on getting at the cause of diseases, instead of merely treating the symptoms of disease.
Traditional Chinese medicine - Careers in Chinese medicine are much diverse and include various healing arts professions like Chinese medical massage therapists, acupuncturists and Chinese herbalists.

These are some of the top emerging career options in alternative medicine science that have gained wide popularity and in the next few years each of them are going to gain more reputation and open new doors for career development.

Indian Board of Alternative Medicines
80, Chowringhee Road
Calcutta ( Kolkata ) - 700020.