Tuesday, March 25, 2008

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: THE WAY TO THE FUTURE?

By Crysta Imperial Rara

Alaine Silan is a tall and pretty girl of 18 years. A BS Nursing freshman, she gushes like a teenager as she recounts her experiences which definitely set her apart from other girls her age – Alaine has acute leukemia.

Diagnosed last February 2005, her doctors wanted her to undergo a bone marrow transplant immediately. But the expenses it would entail led her parents, both schoolteachers, and siblings to opt for chemotherapy instead. Her first chemo session left her extremely traumatized and without improvement as she experienced the usual effects of the treatment – baldness, nausea and general weakness – and had to be hospitalized for a month. Her second chemo treatment about a month later almost killed her – she had to fight for her life in the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU). For four days, she had internal bleeding, three seizures and a 50-50 chance of survival. Once her condition was stable, the family decided to take her home despite the doctors’ insistence that she start a third chemo session immediately.

Her extremely adverse reactions to chemotherapy prompted her family to seek alternative treatments for her. Today, Alaine happily explains that she does not experience the usual symptoms of leukemia.

“My body no longer has a hard time, I feel strong and I can eat now. I don’t experience bleeding. It’s as if I have been reborn,” she says.


HIGH VITAMIN DOSAGE THERAPY

Alaine goes twice weekly to an alternative health clinic in Makati that offers non-invasive and natural remedies. Her treatments include a two-hour session of ascorbate (vitamin) therapy which consists of the intravenous administration of Vitamin C with other vitamins given in dosages deemed necessary to restore the body’s normal biological processes. She also undergoes ozone therapy which helps the body destroy cancer cells, virus, fungus, bacteria and pollutants through oxidation.

“It’s a bit expensive but we see the good results. Her loss of hair from the chemo treatments really affected her psychologically. She used to be cranky and aloof. Now, she has regained her self-confidence,” quips elder sister Donna Yalong, 29. “The family is quite happy that she is not suffering now.”

Dr. Marissa Torre, who runs the clinic, explains that Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) enhances our immune system, speeds the healing of wounds, helps insulin in the control of blood sugars and limits the occurrence of stroke as it prevents blood platelets from clumping readily in the body. It also helps convert cholesterol into bile for food digestion, disperses cholesterol in the bloodstream and prevents the formation of plaques in the arteries and veins. More importantly, Vitamin C detoxifies the body against drugs and poisons from the foods we eat.

Doctors believe that Alaine developed leukemia because of the high toxic levels of arsenic and mercury in her body. This was probably due to the air pollution she was exposed to during her daily travel to and from her home in Dasmarinas, Cavite and her school (Manila Doctors’ Hospital). Alaine has responded quite well to Dr. Torre’s treatments.

HOMEOPATHY

Alaine also takes homeopathic medicines flown in from Germany. Homeopathic remedies are taken mostly from natural sources

The term "homeopathy" was coined by European physician Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843). It is a system of medicine founded on the principles of: 1) “Like cures like” which means that if the symptoms of your disease are similar to poisoning by mercury, then mercury would be your homeopathic remedy, and 2) Minimal dose - the remedy is taken in an extremely dilute form, normally one part of the remedy to around 1,000,000,000,000 parts of water.

These principles are similar to those followed in conventional allergy treatment where patients are given the allergic substance in small doses and in vaccines where an impotent form of the virus is injected to boost the immune system against that virus. Homeopaths say unlike some conventional medicines which suppress the immune system (like cough medicines that suppress coughing which is the body’s way of clearing the lungs), homeopathic remedies work in harmony with the body’s healing mechanisms.

“With conventional drugs, the toxins just go into hiding because the body doesn’t want anything to disturb its normal processes. Homeopathic remedies treat a person on an energy level and according to his body constitution,” states Torre who has helped thousands of patients using alternative therapies. “It is really the body’s immune system that will heal you, not medicines. All the treatments in this clinic enhance the immune system.”

To date, more than 100,000 doctors all over the world prescribe homeopathic remedies to some 500 million people. Homeopathy is quite popular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland and India.


PHYSICIAN WITH A DIFFERENT VISION

Dr. Torre, 44, was first exposed to alternative medicine after graduation when she accompanied an aunt with gall bladder problems to a Western-trained doctor practicing homeopathy, naturopathy and iridology. The experience was an eye-opener and she was hooked. She then joined the “Doctors to the Barrio” volunteer program of the Department of Health and was assigned to Dinalungan in Aurora, Quezon for 9 months.

After her stint in Quezon, she flew to Nevada, Texas to attend a three-month course on alternative therapies. She is now listed in the directory of the American College for the Advancement of Medicine (ACAM). Later, she flew to Germany to further her studies in homeopathy and also took a Diplomate course from the British Institute of Homeopathy. Homeopathy must have been a natural extension of her interest in chemistry, her undergraduate degree.

As a child, she liked caring for people and was constantly exposed to natural cures. “My parents groomed me to be a doctor or a nurse. My mom was always into natural medicine. She discouraged us from eating fatty foods,” she recalls. “Now, my parents are happy that I’m practicing alternative medicine.”

Dr. Torre says she was the only one in her batch to take the road less traveled. “But my classmates have been impressed with my practice because they hear about me from patients who have gone to my clinic,” she avers. She began her alternative practice in 1996 and since then has not wavered in her resolve to use it on her patients. Even her family benefits from homeopathy. She says she has never given antibiotics or any kind of pharmaceutical drug to her husband Remigio Torre, Jr., a medical technician she met in Dinalungan and married after a 4-year courtship, and her children Bianca Alyssa, 7, Joshua Kyle, 5, and Regina Cassandra, 4.


THE OTHER THERAPIES

Many patients also go to the clinic for ion cleansing, a process where waste is extracted from the body through a unit placed in water with positive and negative electric current. To undergo this detoxification process, a person soaks his or her feet in water for 30 minutes and the negative ions in the water pull out the toxins from the body. The water changes color according to the part of the body from which the toxins come. If the water turns yellow green, for instance, that means that toxins were removed from the kidneys, bladder and urinary tract.

Ozone therapy, which inhibits the growth of new tissues like tumors, entails the intravenous administration of the gas. It is another treatment sought by the clinic’s regular patients. Ozone has the ability to kill viruses, yeast, bacteria and cancer cells.

A 52-year old businessman who makes regular visits to the clinic says the therapy cured his heart palpitations, lessened his white hair and enhanced his energy and stamina. “I used to gasp for breath while running for exercise. Now, that doesn’t happen anymore,” he confides, adding that he likes to come to the clinic because “the natural treatments are effective and reasonably-priced, the staff are so nice and the place doesn’t look like a hospital at all”.

The clinic also offers chelation therapy which uses an amino acid called EDTA (Ethylene Diamine Tetraacetic Acid) to remove harmful metals such as lead, aluminum, cadmium and nickel from the body acquired through years of toxin build-up. Experts in alternative medicine say EDTA helps people with diabetes and arthritis by improving blood circulation and removing calcium which hardens the artery walls.

Sylvia (not her real name) has been suffering from a rare combination of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Doctors suspect she acquired the condition after prolonged exposure to mercury and other chemicals present in the New York air after the Twin Towers bombing in 2002. She was always tired, sleepy and coughing and so could only work part-time. ”There were times when my metabolism was slow, I was constipated and fat. There were times when my metabolism was high and I would be hyper, and thin. My eyes also bulged,” she recounts. “But after I began chelation therapy, my body is healing itself little by little. And I am working full time now.”

Dr. Torre says chelation therapy has become controversial due to allegations that it overworks and eventually destroys the kidneys as metals and toxins exit through the urine. “But there is a safe way to do it. We give supplements to help the body cope,” she explains.

The clinic has neural therapy for patients suffering from chronic pain and illness. The therapy involves the injection of local anesthetics into peripheral nerves, scars, and glands to normalize the illness-related dysfunction of the nervous system. Chronic pain in the lower back, for instance, would be treated with TRAUMEEL, a homeopathic remedy that works to repair damaged nerves.

Dr. Torre practices many kinds of alternative remedies to suit the needs of her patients. Even her means of diagnosis is non-invasive – she uses technology based on traditional Chinese medicine and developed by the Russians for their Space Program.

Although she has practiced alternative medicine for a decade now, she has not completely turned her back on Western medicine. She says allopathic and alternative medicine should be practiced in an integrative – and not a competitive - manner. She even recommends surgery when there is an urgent need for it. “There are cases that allopathic medicine can’t treat and vice versa. I believe that the hospital should be the last resort,” she states.

“As doctors, our first oath is to do no harm. With alternative remedies, we do no harm to our patients. Patients are grateful because their conditions have improved. I believe this is the way to the future.”

Alaine and her family would probably agree. Chemotherapy worsened her physical condition and made her look withered and unrecognizable to the point that she overheard two male nurses describe her as ugly and “looking like a monkey”. Today she is a blossoming and confident young lady ready to face the challenges of the future. (END)

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Published in Mr. & Ms. Magazine, Supermonthly of the the Body / Mind and Spirit

2 comments:

Ryann Tsoi said...

can i ask a question? Where is the clinic of dra. Marissa Torre located?

holisticliving said...

The clinic is located at 9327 Dungon St., San Antonio Village, Makati.