(Published in Detroit News, June 12, 2002, copied from http://detnews.com/2002/wayne/0206/12/c03-512574.htm)
doctors mix traditional medicine with therapeutics
Complementary methods among
fastest growing today
By Delores Patterson / The Detroit News
Elizabeth Pierce was destined to take antibiotics for the rest of her life to
treat a hair follicle problem she acquired as a result of radiation and chemotherapy
for breast cancer.
* Four out of 10 Americans used alternative medicine
therapies in 1997. Total visits to alternative medicine practitioners
increased by 50 percent from 1990 and exceeded the visits to all U.S.
primary-care physicians. By the year 2010, at least two-thirds of the
population is expected to use alternative methods.
* Eighty percent of medical students want training in
complementary and alternative medicine therapies.
* Seventy percent of family physicians want training
in alternative medicine.
* Sixty-nine percent of Americans use unconventional
* Sixty-seven percent of health maintenance organizations
offer at least one form of complementary alternative care.
* Sixty-four percent of U.S. medical schools offer courses
in alternative medicine.
* Sixty percent of physicians have referred patients
to alternative medicine.
Sources: Foundation for the Advancement of Innovative
Medicine; the Health Education Alliance for Life and Longevity
Here are local medical practices, spas and businesses
that offer anthroposophical medicine, homeopathic remedies and other therapeutic
West Village Ob/Gyn
22074 Michigan Ave., Dearborn
Oakwood Healthcare Center-North Westland
Complementary & Alternative Medicine Center
36555 W. Warren Road, Westland
Patricia's Wellness Room
400 N. Liberty No. 2, Belleville
The Fruit Cellar
23822 Ford Road, Dearborn Heights
Zerbo's Health Food
34164 Plymouth Road, Livonia
Conventional doctors suggested that the 61-year-old Wyandotte
resident also have her gallbladder removed to relieve the pain she was experiencing.
Worried about side effects, she instead turned to alternative medicine.
Pierce's problems ceased when a physician at Oakwood Healthcare
Center-North in Westland prescribed homeopathic remedies that included herbal
treatments based on anthroposophical medicine -- an internal medicine practice
that focuses on the mind, spirit as well as the body.
"I love and respect my regular doctors, but they are not tuned
into anything except the normal everyday treatment. I think more doctors should
explore alternative and complementary medicines. It really does work, and the
focus is on treating the whole person. I'd recommend it to anyone," said Pierce,
who has used alternative medicines for more than a year.
More local physicians are blending non-traditional healing
methods with traditional medicine.
Two Dearborn doctors recently opened West Village -- a medical
spa that uses therapeutic treatments as a part of obstetrics and gynecology
And two Ann Arbor physicians are working on plans to build
the first anthroposophical clinic in North America. The proposed $5-million
clinic will be run by Drs. Molly McMullen-Laird and her husband, Quentin McMullen.
The couple have operated an outpatient anthroposophical practice for four years.
The new clinic will offer in-patient care.
Anthroposophical medicine combines traditional medicine with
a range of alternative treatments, including homeopathic remedies, nutrition,
artistic and massage therapies. It was founded in the early 20th century by
"Conventional medicine looks at people as merely biochemical
machines that happen to have consciousness," said Dr. Leo Greenstone of Oakwood's
Complementary and Alternative Medicine Center in Westland. "This model believes
people are more. Everyone has a body, mind, spirit that work with the physiological
and all these things have a connection to nature."
For example, a cancer patient may receive normal surgery,
radiation and chemotherapy, but their fear, anxiety, or feelings of non-control
also need to be addressed. Anthroposophical medicine focuses the emotions in
a positive and constructive way, Greenstone said. Treatments could include artistic
therapy such as painting, drawing or visual arts to allow patients to express
"It helps ease some of the concerns and allows people to carry
on," Greenstone said.
Some patients also are treated with a mistletoe preparation
called Iscar, a liquid injection. Some studies have shown that Iscar helps to
boost the immune system, inhibit cancer cell growth and replication and generally
enhances the patient's mood.
According to the Health Education Alliance for Life and Longevity,
complementary and alternative approaches to health and medicine are among the
fastest-growing in health care. Approximately one-third of the U.S population
used alternative care in 1990. And the organization predicts that by the year
2010, the number will increase to at least two-thirds.
Oakwood's three-year-old center sees about 2,500 patients
annually, according to practitioners.
"People are interested in trying to be and stay healthy. And
alternative medicines allow people to take a more active role in their health
and not be passive in a way that honors whatever their beliefs might be," said
Greenstone, who has practiced internal medicine for 12 years and alternative
medicine since 1995.
"I'm not saying that you'll be cured but it helps. ... It's
holistic rather than merely putting a bandage on things."
Patricia Gray, owner of Patricia's Wellness Room in Belleville,
also believes alternative methods are more cost effective with the rising costs
of health insurance.
Non-traditional medicines are typically out-of-pocket expenses
that range from $55 an hour for acupuncture to $30 for a massage.
"It takes a little bit of reading and understanding, but (alternative
medicine) allows you to get at the root of the problem and clears up symptoms
that some traditional drugs just seem to suppress," said Gray, who has been
using herbal remedies since the 1970s.
Currently, many doctors receive their training overseas in
Switzerland and Germany, which have hospitals that specialize in alternative
medicines. Only a few places in the United States, mostly on the East Coast
and in the Midwest, provide training, said Diana Clark, an administrator with
the Physicians Association for Anthroposophical Medicine in Ann Arbor.
"The future of treating the entire human being is unlimited,"
said Dr. Bruce Rochefort of Dearborn's West Village Ob/Gyn. "If a person comes
in with discomfort during their pregnancy, we want to be able to help them in
whatever ways they feel most comfortable and sometimes that goes beyond medicine."
You can reach Delores Patterson at (313) 561-8146 or
Click here for the page of Anthroposophical Medicine
and Therapies (in Portuguese)
Click here for the home page of the Anthroposophical
Society in Brazil (bilingual)