Tag: complementary and alternative medicine

Poorna Sreekumar Poorna Sreekumar (3 Posts)

Contributing Writer

University of Maryland School of Medicine

Poorna is a Class of 2019 medical student at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Before attending medical school, she studied chemistry at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her interests include health policy, health tech, and health journalism. When she's not studying, she's probably reading, writing, hiking, or indulging in the occasional Netflix.

A New Era for New-Age Medicine

Coming from an Indian-American background, yoga and Ayurveda were a part of my life even before yoga pants and juice cleanses became popular. As a child, my parents had all kinds of alternative remedies for common childhood afflictions. Instead of taking Tums for an upset stomach, I drank a concoction of ginger, cumin and lemon to relieve my discomfort. And I still do.


A True Story About Contrast: When Allopaths and Naturopaths Collide

I had plenty of time to board the plane, so I casually lounged around in the airport, waiting for the last call to board. He, on the other hand, was frantic because he thought he was going to miss his connecting flight. He barely made it onto the plane, and this is when two worlds collided. I had plenty of time to spare, while he was in a time crunch — this represents the first contrast in a story about contrast.

Doctoring: Who Is it Really For?

In Chinese, the term for doctor is yi sheng, which roughly translates into “medicate to life.” From this interpretation, the mission of a physician is to restore livelihood to patients, whether in the literal or in the metaphorical “wholesomeness of life” sense. While this may seem intuitive, the ingredients of “quality of life” and “satisfactory care” are much less clear and much more complex.



How can doctors-in-training allow their personal experiences with the health care system shape their own practice? Kalla, a second-year medical student in New York, describes how witnessing her father benefit from the addition of meditation and acupuncture to his cancer treatment inspired her to incorporate an integrative approach to her own self-care and future practice.

A Mind Based Approach to Addiction Treatment

Addiction is a chronic illness characterized by the use of a psychogenic substance despite negative consequences associated with its use. Biological dependence is marked by cravings, increased dose and/or frequency of use due to tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of substance abuse. Addicts gain pleasure via the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is released from the ventral tegmental area of the brain and into the nucleus accumbens. This reward encourages and solidifies the addictive behavior and …


My Journey into Integrative Medicine

“Integrative Medicine is the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.” —Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine The following is a brief summary of some insights from the path I traveled to come to an understanding of the type …


Yoga and Medicine: What Med Students Should Know About this Ancient Health Practice

Why should future physicians know about yoga? Yoga is an ancient health science based on the experimental and experiential. The physical postures and meditative practices of yoga developed through thousands of years of intent study of the body’s responses to particular postures and meditations. Many patients have already caught on to yoga as a form of mental and physical self-care and preventive health. If we adequately understand yoga, we can seize an opportunity to encourage the …


Recommendations for Referral to CAM Practitioners

The sister of a woman recently diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) came to the neurology clinic while I was on rotation there and asked the physician if there was anything else besides riluzole that her sister could use for treatment. Essentially, the doctor responded that there were no other treatments. This sister was inquisitive, though, and pressed further–“I had heard acupuncture might be useful. What do you think?” It couldn’t hurt, the physician replied. She then …


Ego or Confidence? Reflections from a Tentative Heart

A 77-year-old retired schoolteacher presented to the neurosurgery outpatient clinic to go over her lumbar spine MRI results. After looking at the computer screen for a matter a seconds, one of the leading spinal surgeons in the country turned to me and declared the diagnosis: “Spinal stenosis. There is nothing I can do for her. She is elderly, has a weak heart, and a smoking history. The risks are too great.” We went into the …

Vincent Minichiello Vincent Minichiello (4 Posts)

Columnist Emeritus

University of Massachusetts Medical School

Vinny is a Class of 2013 student at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, applying to family medicine residency programs. Passionate about strengthening the body's own healing mechanism, he is invested in learning more about integrative medicine and hopes to practice family medicine in combination with Chinese medicine and osteopathic manipulation therapy in the future. He loves his fiancée dearly and is looking forward to their marriage in May 2013!