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Conventional medicine doesn’t have all the answers. But do alternative therapies really work? Their growing popularity locally has some doctors steaming as their patients start experimenting.

SIX YEARS AGO, DOCTORS TOLD 49-YEAR-OLD CHARLES Barton that he needed a new heart. The one he had was suffering from biventricular cardiomyopathy, which meant it was enlarged and not pumping properly. Before doctors put him on a transplant list, they wanted to run a few more tests. But Charles said no. No to the tests and no to the transplan ;. Fragile and weak, he told his doctors he was going home. He insisted the nurses unhook him from all the machines, tubes, and wires that had kept him alive in Medical City’s cardiac intensive care unit-but had made him feel inhuman, degraded, like he would rather die than endure the cure. Doctors warned a very sick, very stubborn Charles that he might not live through the drive home. He went anyway.

For the first critical weeks, his wife was his caretaker. But Charles still needed medical attention, so he called his acupuncturist for help. Bunzo Takamatsu promised to care for Charles in his bedroom, where he could rest. Takamatsu worked feverishly on his patient-plastering his chest with a doughy poultice made of barley leaf juice, ginger, and taro roots to reduce inflammation. He burned herbs on the tiny tips of the acupuncture needles that were stuck in Charles’ forehead, arms, and legs.

After three months, Charles could walk to the end of his block. Two years later, after regular treatments from Takamatsu and another Dallas acupuncturist, Qiong Bai, Charles’ disease was in remission. His cardiologist told him that about one-third of patients with the disease recover from it on their own, and evidently Charles had been one of the fortunate few. But Charles insists acupuncture saved his life, and no one can convince him otherwise.

“In the hospital, I felt my dignity as a human being was humiliated,’’’ says Charles, a chemical dependency counselor. “I told my doctors I’d rather die than be treated like the bionic man. What I like about alternative medicine is thai it gives us a choice; it gives us freedom. If we don’t like the treatment traditional medicine gives us, we have options.”

MANY PEOPLE WHO USE ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IN Dallas/Fort Worth make the same argument-that the options offered by unconventional treatments give them a stronger sense of control, which is something they want in health care. They like having more selection and more say in how they are treated, and they prefer fewer drugs and less technology. They’re worried that conventional (Western) medicine has monopolized health care for so long in this conservative city that it’s become arrogant and out of touch with the spirituality of healing. When they see an alternative practitioner, they’re not rushed through a 20-minute appointment with a phlegmatic physician who barely makes eye contact. Instead, they spend an hour and a half on the first visit to, say, a homeopath, talking about their emotions, their personal history, and their symptoms in a consoling, reassuring conversation. As naturopath Sydney ]Safron explains. “I tell my patients to tell me everything they would never tell their regular doctors.”

What’s more, everybody’s heard a success story-a neighbor wiped out arthritis pain with acupuncture; a daughter-in-law won a war against depression using herbs; homeopathy cured an 8-year-old boy of attention deficit disorder. Doctors may call alternative treatments irresponsible, bogus medicine, but by all appearances, they do seem to work for many people.

Conventional physicians insist that it’s not arrogance that has made their medicine, their schools, and their hospitals thestandard of health care in this country, it’s objective research. To win support, alternative treatments rely heavily on personal testimonials instead of clinical studies. Western medicine, however, is sanctioned by science and a solid track record-it has wiped out some of the planet’s deadliest plagues and diseases, saved countless lives with antibiotics and vaccines. If it weren’t for conventional medicine, Charles Barton’s disease would never have been diagnosed, and he might have died tragically young. Go with the science, doctors say, go with the proven treatments.

It would be a much easier argument if things were that black and white, with conventional medicine on one side, unconventional on the other, and a mutual agreement that never the twain shall meet. But that’s not the case. Most people who seek alternative practitioners in Da!Ias/Fort Worth would never think of firing their internists and cardiologists and exchanging them for homeopaths and acupuncturists. They would call Charles Barton an extremist who got lucky.

Instead, patients incorporate. People use chemotherapy to treat their cancer, but they also use acupuncture and biofeedback for the accompanying nausea. Or they turn to alternative therapies when they have a chronic condition that Western medicine has no sure-fire cure for. such as arthritis, back pain, migraines, multiple sclerosis, or depression. Some of the more open-minded doctors have followed this pattern of thinking. Finding an M.D. around here who has training in acupuncture or ayurveda (the natural medicine of India, pronounced ah-yer-vay-duh) is not as difficult as it was just a few years ago, giving credence to a new flock of physicians-the “integrative” or “complementary” doctors who meld East and West , old and new, alternative and allopathic in the treatment of patients.

Cynthia Smith, an M.D. specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Medical City, uses acupuncture as one of her treatments for chronic pain. Phillip Williams, M.D., was one of the first neurosurgeon s in Dallas to work with chiropractors in treating pain patients. “The bottom line is that our goal should be to take care of the patient?,” he says. “We in conventional medicine emphasize science, ; md yet my mind is open to other avenues.”

Some conventional doctors don’t just consider or incorporate an alternative therapy into their practice, they emphasize it. Stuart Rothenberg, M.D., and Jim Davis, D.O., are two such controversial physicians. Together they head the Dallas Center for Chronic Disorders-one of four centers in the United States that treats chronically il! patients with ayurvedic therapies. The center was created last summer in respohse to a study published in :he November 1996 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association that reported 100 million Americans suffer from a chronic disease for which there is no cure. In July, the first two patients checked into the Dallas clinic-a dozen or so rooms in the Hiltop Inn at Mockingbird -ane and Central Expressway. One had Parkinson’s disease, the other sarcoidosis, a rare chronic disorder that affects the immune system. For three weeks at a cost of $25,000, the patients were treated with round-the-clock ayurvedic herbal massages, steam treatments, and purification enemas to eliminate toxins from the body. They were fed a strict vegetarian diet and taught to practice transcendental meditation. “The goal is, of course, to have their bo< lies take over the healing process, so medications can be reduced and hopefully eliminated," says Dr. Rothenberg. "It’s always better to be independently healthy than to rely on some pill you have to take from the outside. When you take drugs, you’re generally dealing with the surface level, the symptom level, and not getting to I he root of the problem." By the end of the program, the patient wit i Parkinson’s disease had cut her medication in half and reduced her symptoms-her tremors had eased enough to write again. Tie patient with sarcoidosis also improved dramatically: her inflammation was gone, the golf-ball-sized tumors on herelbows had virtually disappeared, and she could walk up flights of stairs, which was an impossible exertion for her lungs three weeks before.

But there will always be skeptics. There will always be conventional doctors who believe that those not practicing the way they’re practicing are immorally capitalizing on sick people’s desperation and hopes. If a panacea existed, many doctors say, scientific researchers would know about it first-not alternative medicine practitioners. Timothy Gorski, M.D., an OB/GYN in Arlington and the president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Council Against Health Fraud, has made it a mission to publicly label alternative treatments “quackery” until they can be clinically proven. “It’s not fair for a patient to be led to believe there’s something in it [an alternative therapy],” he says. “It’s sad to think of people spending mon:y on something that’s not been proven effective.”

But the point is, they do. In fact, they spend a lot. Americans coughed up approximately $10.3 billion on out-of-pocket alternative medicine expenses in 1990, (The out-of-pocket expenditures for all hospital care the same year totalled S12.8 billion.) That astonishing figure was enough to get UT Southwestern to hold its first-ever alternative medicine seminar this year. On September 9th, a 1,200-plus crowd of mostly white-coated clinicians and baggy-eyed medical students gathered in the campus’ Gooch Auditorium to hear David Eisenberg, M.D., of Harvard Medical School describe his 1990 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Eisenberg’s research team found that one-third of Americans-mostly highly educated baby boomers who are well-off if not wealthy-use some form of alternative therapy. His research doesn’t support alternative treat-ments as clinically effective, and neither does Eisenberg. He just offers proof that many, many people are using them, relatively unbothered by the fact that science in the field is tenuous.

As an introductory exercise, Eisenberg asked the audience how many knew someone who used an alternative treatment. When more than half raised their hands, Eisenberg chuckled and admitted that this was not as conservative a place as he had expected.

Aheated “Crossfire” debate it was not. No loud voices of protest rang from the back rows, no harsh critics forced their way to the podium. The selected panel, comprised of mostly UT Southwestern professors, took turns after Eisenberg, speaking rationally about how doctors should be open to alternative treatments, provided, of course, that more scientific research is done to separate the good from the bad, the worthy from the worthless. Physicians were also urged to ask their patients if they’re using alternative therapies as if it’s a part of the general medical history-like knowing if they smoke or if their parents had diabetes. When the two-hour lecture was adjourned, a calm consensus was met: Today’s conventional doctors don’t know a lot about alternative therapies, but they probably should.

No alternative medicine classes are being designed for UT Southwestern’s curriculum just yet, but medical students may someday get credit for taking courses that teach them basic tenets of treatments like acupuncture. Eisenberg’s Harvard students get credit for these kind of classes, so it’s not exactly an untested idea. If the decision were up to Jim Gatchel, Ph.D., the seminar’s moderator and a professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern, alternative medicine awareness courses would soon be an option. ’The environment is right for it now…. I think we’re at this point, and in the next decade we’re going to embrace it.”

Camaraderie aside, even the stodgiest old-school doctors can’t deny that many of their patients use, or at least show interest in, alternative therapies. Whether or not this branch of healing is just a passing public fancy waiting to flunk the test of science, or if one day its practices will be taught alongside anatomy in every major medical school, remains to be seen. But until the debate is decided, it looks as if alternative medicine and its growing number of practitioners plan to stick around.


SO-CALLED “PIN DOCTORS” WERE ONCE considered the least likely to succeed within the halls of conventional medicine, since no one knows exactly how acupuncture works. Bui today it’s not hard to find M.D.s or D.O.s (Doctors of Osteopathy) who have acupuncture training, because they’ve seen that it can work in treating pain. The 2,000-year-old traditional Chinese explanation holds that by inserting hair-thin needles into precise points along the body called meridians, a person’s energy, or chi (sounds like “chee”) can be rebalanced. (Chi that’s oui of balance causes pain and disease.) Meridians are thought to be linked to organs, and the needles act to redirect a body’s energy back to a healthy state. If acupuncture works, medical doctors say, it’s because the needles stimulate endorphins-morphine-like substances in the body-and they block pain impulses in the nerves. Many acupuncturists also use moxibustion (burning herbs on the tips of needles), acupressure (a massage that applies pressure to meridians), and Chinese herbs.

What It Treats

Back and neck pain, arthritis, headaches, allergies, painful menstruation, asthma, weight control, addiction to nicotine and alcohol, nausea associated with pregnancy and chemotherapy, depression, digestive disorders.

Medical Studies

A Danish study of severe asthmatics found that subjects who were treated with acupuncture experienced a 22 percent increase in airflow and a 50 percent reduction in bronchial medication within two weeks of acupuncture treatments, but similar studies have shown acupuncture to irritate breathing patterns of asthmatics. A study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology chose 43 women who suffered from painful menstruation; 91 percent of the women who were treated with acupuncture for three months showed improvement, compared to 18 percent of the control group (no intervention) and 10 percent of the group treated by their regular physicians. Eighty severe alcoholics in a Minnesota treatment facility received acupuncture at specific points on the outer ear. The control group received correctly performed acupuncture, and a “sham” group was given acupuncture on phony meridian points of the ear. The patients were treated for 45 days. After six months, the “sham” group had twice as many drinking episodes and admissions to detox centers as the control group.

A Word from the Critics

Improperly performed acupuncture may cause fainting, punctured blood vessels, I and nausea, and may offer only temporary pain relief. In April 1997, The Lancet cited studies showing that acupuncture provides relief for several chronic pain conditions, but cautioned that most studies examine only short-term efficacy and long-term results are relatively unknown. Tim Gorski, M.D., says it doesn’t matter where you put the needles in the skin because they all distract the pain-navigating nervous system.


L.Ac. Licensed Acupuncturist. Licensed by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners (512-305-7010). M.D.s and D.O.s may practice acupuncture under their medical license and many have over 200 hours in training.

Dipl.Ac. Diplomate in Acupuncture. Awarded by the National Certification Committee for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), previously called the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncturists (NCCA) (202-232-1404). This organization promotes national standards for the practice of acupuncture and conducts a certification exam that many states, including Texas, use to license acupuncturists.

O.M.D. or D.O.M.: Oriental Medical Doctor/Doctor of Oriental Medicine. Atitle designating additional studies abroad or domestic, usually post graduate.

M.D. (China): Medical degree granted in China. Medical students in China study either traditional Chinese medicine or Western medicine. Some M.D.s from China prefer to use the title O.M.D.


First-time visits to a licensed acupuncturist: $50-$100 Follow-ups: $45-$75. Cost of treatments by a D.O. or an M.D. start at around $ 100. Some insurance policies may cover some of the cost of treatments performed by either a licensed acupuncturist or a physician.


When Deepak Chopra, M.D., aban-doned his position as a New England hospital chief-of-staff to become a touring spokesperson and best-selling author for ayurveda, the natural medicine of India experienced an American revival. Ayurveda (translation: “life knowledge”) is a large branch of Vedic medicine that associates disease with a body being out of sync with nature-or stressed, to put it in modern terms. “We tell our patients you are not in isolation,” says Stuart Roth-enberg, M.D., an expert in Vedic medicine at Dallas’ Center for Chronic Disorders. “There’s a continuum within ourselves out to the whole universe, and we have to learn to live in harmony with those cycles. Nature has its laws, and when we violate these laws, we get ill or mentally distressed.” Practitioners of Vedic medicine study your environment-everything from pollution to the architectural design of your home to make sure the front door faces north. According to the laws of ayurveda, a healthy body must have healthy doshas, which are evaluated by feeling your pulse and inspecting your tongue. Before recommending treatments, practitioners determine your body type (pitta, kapha, or vata) with the help of a detailed questionnaire. Ayurveda uses diet, exercise, yoga, massage, and herbs to ward off and prevent disease and panchakarma to rid the body of toxins. Panchakarma consists of oil-and-herbal massages, steam treatments, and colonics to remove disease-inducing toxins. One familiar aspect of ayurveda-and probably the most accepted-is transcendental meditation (TM), which can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

What It Treats

Chronic conditions such as arthritis, bronchitis, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, headaches, sinusitis, asthma, and other diseases thought to have a stress component. Ayurveda centers on prevention and is associated with cancer-inhibiting herbs and anti-aging therapies.

Medical Studies

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute found that two ayurvedic herbal compounds (MAK-4 and MAK-5) blocked cancer cell growth in human tumor and rat cell systems. A study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension followed 111 men and women with high blood pressure who used transcendental meditation for three months and significantly lowered their blood pressure. A Holland study tracked patients using ayurvedic therapies for three months. Seventy-nine percent of the subjects showed improvements with a number of chronic diseases, including constipation, bronchitis, eczema, and non-insulin-dependent diabetes.

A Word from the Critics

Because ayurveda says a person’s health is related to harmony with the stars and planets, critics contend that it is not scientific medicine but astrological mysticism and call the Indian tradition of pulse-reading and body-type classifying an irresponsible way to diagnose. In 1994, Forbes called Dr. Chopra “the latest in a line of gurus who have prospered by blending pop science, pop psychology, and pop Hinduism.”


The College of Maharishi Vedic Medicine in Fairfield, Iowa, offers ayurvedic training to licensed health care physicians.


Initial visits: $I50-$200. Panchakarma (purification) treatments can range from $75-$200. Some ayurvedic programs are more intense, lasting one to three weeks and costing $1,200 a day.


It’s difficult to call chiropractic an “alternative” treatment now since by some estimations 15 percent of Americans use this therapy regularly, making chiropractors the second largest group of health care providers after physicians. What keeps it labeled an unconventional medicine, despite the 1987 antitrust lawsuit that legitimized the practice and forbade the AMA from professionally snubbing it, is its unscientific tenet that disease is cured from within. Chiropractors say that if your body’s “innate intelligence” can move freely about the nervous system, and if the spine is aligned, you will have a better chance of staying healthy. When the innate intelligence is blocked by “subluxations,”

or slight dislocations between two vertebrae, you can get sick. “Straight” chiropractors emphasize subluxations’ relationship to disease and only adjust the spine, whereas the majority of “mixers” go beyond spinal adjustments and use a wider range of modalities like homeopathic remedies, nutritional counseling, or massage to treat patients. Some chiropractors practice neuro-emotional therapy, working on the theory that emotions like aggression and anger can get trapped in the musculoskeletal system and cause tension and pain.

When you visit a chiropractor’s office, you lie on a low examining table and the chiropractor uses his or her hands to apply pressure to your back and may twist your neck until you hear a popping sound-a sign that the joint’s range of motion has been restored. Done properly, adjustments should be painless and quick. “But if you’re a limber person,” says Mark Beisiegel, D.C., “it might take a little more time.” Following an adjustment, mobility should increase immediately. Many D.C.s in this section incorporate other types of alternative treatments.

What It Treats

Back and neck pain, headaches, chronic disk problems, immune-related conditions such as colds and ear infections (especially in children), muscle soreness, migraines, PMS problems, sinus problems, allergies, stiffness, accidental injuries, circulatory problems.

Medical Studies

A 1992 review of 25 studies on spinal manipulation in the Annal of Internal Medicine concluded that patients with lower back pain had a 17 percent greater chance of recovery with manipulation than without it. A 1995 article in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at 1,500-plus patients with lower back pain who were treated by chiropractors, orthopedic surgeons, or primary care physicians. Patients who saw chiropractors reported the highest level of satisfaction, even though the overall rates of recovery were the same.

A Word from the Critics

Most conventional doctors don’t believe subluxations or innate intelligence even exist and therefore can’t possibly have a relationship to the onset of illness. Chiropractic studies that examined manipulation effects on muscle tenderness and migraines have proved inconclusive, and others demonstrated only short-term efficacy on chronic back pain. Phillip Williams, M.D., a neurosurgeon who works with chiropractors, says “Chiropractic may be the first line of defense, as long as there’s not something structurally wrong like a herniated disk,”


D.C. Doctor of Chiropractic. Granted by one of 14 chiropractic colleges in the United States accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE). Course of study is four to five years.


Initial visit: $75-$150. Follow-ups: $30-$50. X-rays may cost extra. Most insurance companies, including Medicare, cover some of the cost of the treatments.


HOMEOPATHY IS BASED ON THE THEORY that ’ii;e cures like.” For example, a homeo>ath may recommend a tiny dose of coffea (coffee) to cure agitation or sleeplessness. Remedies-made from mineral, animal, and plant substances, are diluted (either in water or in milk sugar), shaken, an 1 administered to boost the immune system and help the body heal itself. But i: is this dilution, this “law of infinitesimals,” that keeps conventional medicine from accepting homeopathy. Convention il science says there’s a limit to how much a substance can be diluted before it loses pote icy, and scientists say homeopathic remedies stretch far beyond that limit. A remedy that is diluted to “30X” requires ont drop of liquid to be diluted in a container of water 50 times the size of Earth, according to Stephen Barrett, M.D., a board me Tiber of the National Council Against Health Fraud. But homeopaths insist that a ’ spirit-like essence” remains in the solution and the treatments do work. If they didn’t, millions of people wouldn’t have been using them all over the world for the past 200 years.

“What we do is so safe, and we get no complaints,” says Elaine Sauter, a homeopathic counselor in Dallas. “We have a very high cure rate, and we have very few disgruntled people. Everybody’s satisfied; : otherwise we wouldn’t be here.”

A one- to two-hour in-depth interview is | common on the first visit to a classical ; homeopath, and a patient’s emotions and

personal history are taken into account I when considering a remedy. Homeopaths ; say they treat each patient individually, and i unlike modern medicine, no two people are ! given the exact same medicine since no two i people are exactly alike. Recently, home- opathy has been on the rise because of the ; increasing worry that conventional doctors ; over-prescribe drugs-especially with I children. As homeopathic counselor Alfred Wishart bluntly puts it: “The era of antibi- otics is over.”

What It Treats

Acute and chronic health problems such as ear infections, colds, sore throat, flu, acne, ADD, allergies, headaches, backaches, depression, and PMS. Practitioners claim to treat ailments from A to Z, but most homeopathic counselors or lay homeopaths (homeopaths who are not licensed physicians) do not treat life-threatening ill nesses such as cancer or trauma cases like broken bones. Homeopathy is also consid- ered preventive.

Medical Studies

In a study published in Pediatrics, Ameri-; can doctors looked at 81 Nicaraguan children suffering from diarrhea. The children given homeopathic remedies had much shorter bouts than those taking placebos. A study published in The Lancet looked at 70 patients with hay fever who were treated with either a homeopathic remedy or a placebo. After five weeks, only the home-opathically treated group had a reduction| in symptoms. In 1990, an article in Review of Epidemiology analyzed 40 trials that compared homeopathic remedies with standard treatment, a placebo, or no treatment. It concluded that there is no evidence i that homeopathy is more effective than a placebo. Prescrire International published similar findings in a 1995 article.

A Word from the Critics

Some homeopathic remedies-regulated by the FDA-are sold over-the-counter at health stores like Whole Foods and recommended by salespeople with no medical experience or homeopathic training. Some medical doctors (and even some highly trained homeopaths) regard these remedies as bunk at best and megamarketing ploys at worst. Scientists believe all homeopathic remedies, whether you buy them yourself at a store or get them from a practicing homeopath, are too diluted to have any potency anyway. They claim that, clinically speaking, homeopathy cannot work, therefore it doesn’t.


C.C.H. Certified in Classical Homeopathy by the Council of Homeopathic Certification. Granted to physicians and non-physicians.

D.N.B.H.E. Diplomate of the National Board of Homeopathic Examiners. Granted to licensed physicians.


Initial visits to a lay homeopath: $125-$200. Follow ups: $45-$80. For an M.D. homeopath, visits are more expensive.


AT 4,000 YEARS OLD, HANDS-ON MANIP-ulation boasts of being the oldest form of healing known to man. Also called “manual therapy,” the category includes chiropractic and osteopathy as well as 100-plus types of massage and bodywork. By manipulating your body’s soft tissues and correcting your posture, these practitioners say they treat your nervous, lymphatic, circulatory, and musculoskeletal systems, strengthening your body’s defenses against disease and pain. Like some chiropractors, they believe that distressing memories can become trapped in muscles, causing tension, and should be “worked out” both physically and spiritually. Popular massage and bodywork therapies include:

ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE: Practitioner applies light pressure to contraction points on the body while you do simple exercises of standing and sitting. Used to improve balance, poise, posture, coordination, and vocal production as well as reduce pain from injury or too much sitting. Popular with performing artists.

CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY: A gentle manipulation therapy that eases restriction of the skull bones as well as the spine and pelvi

FELDENKRAIS METHOD: Uses subtle movements and stretches to help make you aware of how you are positioning your body when sitting, standing, reaching, bending. “Reeducates” your muscles to avoid the movements and postures that are causing pain and tensio

NEUROMUSCULAR MASSAGE: A deep-tissue massage applied to specific sore spots. Used to increase blood flow and release trigger points (knots) in the muscles. Trigger point massage, deep tissue, and my otherapy are similar treatment

REFLEXOLOGY: Foot massage. Therapists believe certain areas on the soles of the feet correspond to parts on the rest of the body. By working on the feet, they can simultaneously work on other parts and organs of the bod

REIKI: An extremely subtle, hands-on manual therapy that originated in Tibet. The practitioner transfers his or her own “healing energy” to sites of tension and pain in your body. You keep your clothes on during Reiki, and sometimes there is no physical contact between you and the practitioner.

ROLFING: A kind of “structural integration.” Involves stretching connective tissue, or fascias, that holds muscles together. Fascias are believed to adopt a misalignment that an injury or bad posture can cause. Rolfers “unwind” these distortions back to normal by applying sliding pressure to the affected area with fingers, thumbs, and elbows. It can be a painful procedure, although recent changes in the technique have made it more comfortabl.

● SHIATSU/WATSU: Shiatsu is a Japanese “finger pressure” massage in which the practitioner applies pressure using his or her hands, feet, elbows, and knees along specific meridian points on the body. Watsu is Shiatsu performed in a warm pool.

● SWEDISH MASSAGE: A soft-tissue, full-body massage, often paired with aromatherapy oils. Therapist kneads, rubs, and uses friction techniques to relax the superficial layers of tense muscles. The most popular form of massage.

? TRACER: Uses light, rhythmic rocking and shaking movements to loosen joints, increase mobility, and relieve chronic tension.

What It Treats

Chronic pain, migraines, depression, stress-related illnesses, insomnia, nausea, TMJ, arthritis, circulatory problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia.

Medical Studies

More than 100 cinical trials during the past 50 years have documented the benefits of massage therapy for treatment of acute and chronic pain, inflammation, muscle spasm, epileptic seizures, stress, and depression. A study in Pediatrics showed that premature infants treated with daily massage gained more weight and had shorter hospital stays than infants who are not massaged. Massage has also been found to relieve the symptoms of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease and reduce the swelling secondary to radical mastectomies.

A Word from the Critics Many doctors encourage their patients to get routine massages as healthy forms of relaxation and muscular therapy. But massage and bodywork alone, like proper diet, is not enough to fight serious illness, and some deep tissue forms of massage can cause bruising and internal bleeding if not done properly. Doctors stress that manual therapies should be integrated with conventional medical treatment.


R.M.T. Registered Massage Therapist. Must be licensed by the Texas Department of Health (512-834-6616). Additional certification programs are required for therapies like Rolling, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Method, and Reiki.


A45-minute to one-hour session: S60-S80.


THESE PRACTITIONERS EXAMINE HOW the state of the mind can affect the physiological state of the body and vice versa. In the last 20 years, mind-body intervention, as it’s sometimes called, has invaded mainstream medicine, since even the most conservative doctors admit that brain and body can no longer be treated separately and independently from each other. Hypnotherapy, for example, has been the focus of countless clinical studies and is taught at almost every major medical school in the country. “The mind can make for many, many physical problems,” says Harold Crasilneck, Ph.D., one of Dallas’ most renowned hypnotherapists. He uses hypnotherapy to treat patients with disorders such as asthma, ulcers, chronic pain, and acute stress. The No. 1 misconception about the treatment is that people think they lose control when they undergo hypnosis, he says. “But when you’re hypnotized, you’re under more control than any other time in your life because you’re intensely focused.”

It is not uncommon for doctors to make referrals to mind-body practitioners like psychotherapists to complement the healing process. Many practitioners specialize in treating people for the pain and anxiety that accompany a serious illness. Other than hypnotherapy, mind-body therapies include psychotherapy, biofeedback (using audio and visual readings of internal conditions such as heart rate to help become aware of and control anxiety), meditation, imagery (concentrating on a specific, relaxing image in your mind), prayer/spiritual healing, breath therapy, yoga, and other types of relaxation techniques. Lynda Riggsby, a psychologist at UT Southwestern, says therapies like biofeedback are successful because they give the patient the perception of control. “We can’t avoid stress and we can’t avoid chronic pain when it’s due to organic injury,” she says, “but we can control the self-defeating behaviors which might exacerbate pain.”

What It Treats

Chronic and acute pain, phobias, obesity, addiction, ADD, acute stress, headaches, psychogenic impotency, tension, asthma, burn injuries, migraines, hypertension, psychosomatic diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers.

Medical Studies

One study in E.L. Rossi’s book The Psychobiology of Mind-Body Healing reported that women who have hypnotherapy prior to delivery have shorter labors and more comfortable deliveries. A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Behavior Therapy reported that elderly cancer patients and adult cancer patients with metastatic disease enhanced their beneficial killer-cell functions following a treatment of imagery and relaxation training. A study in Psychology and Health looked at the effects of biofeedback, imagery, and hypnosis in the treatment of AIDS symptoms. Results included significant decreases in fatigue, fever, pain, headaches, nausea, and insomnia, as well as increases in vigor and hardiness.

A Word from the Critics

It’s widely accepted that mind-body medicine can play a role in alleviating pain and depression associated with severe illness or stress. Hypnosis is often the treatment of choice for phobias and addiction, and the AMA has endorsed EMG (electromyographic) biofeedback in treatment of headaches caused by muscle contraction But other forms of biofeedback are still under scrutiny to prove clinical effectiveness. Doctors caution that the level of training varies greatly in mind-body medicine; some practitioners have no medical background. They advise asking your physician for a professional referral.


Varies. No separate licenses are required to perform biofeedback or hypnosis, for example, but national certifications and associations such as the Dallas Society of Clinical Hypnosis list physicians and psychologists trained in hypnotherapy. The Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (303-420-2920) provides a list of certified practitioners and includes their educational background.

L.P.C. Licensed Profession Counselor, granted by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors.


A 45-minute to one-hour session; $100-S200, Most insurance companies cover some of the cost of the treatments.


WITH DIET BEING LINKED TO CANCER AND heart disease and books by Andrew Weil, M.D.-America’s most recognized promoter of natural healing- becoming best-sellers, naturopathy is winning back the popularity it held before the AMA and pharmaceutical giants became America’s authorities on health care. When people elect to drink green tea, stop smoking, and avoid red meat and caffeine, they’re practicing naturopathic medicine. “Naturopathy is more preventive than curative,” says Ken Looney, N.D., vice president of the Texas Naturopathic Medical Association in San Antonio. “Basically we’re counselors of wellness.” Naturopaths use several types of treatment in their practice, including nutritional counseling, homeopathy, acupuncture, manipulation, and botanical medicine to treat patients. A one- to two-hour consultation and a thorough blood analysis are common on the first visit. Other tests, such as measuring the body’s accumulation of toxins, depend on the N.D.’s specialty. Only 11 states license N.D.s, and Texas is not one of them. During the last legislative session, Sen. Gregory Luna (D-San Antonio), whose son is an Austin naturopath, introduced a bill that would allow N.D.s to be licensed by the state. The bill passed through the Texas Senate and the House will vote on it next session, N.D.s trained at one of the three accredited naturopathic colleges in America have a science background similar to M.D.s, except they are trained to use natural therapies to treat patients-as opposed to synthetic drugs and surgery. “Why have a hysterectomy when there are natural approaches?” says Steven Spom, a Dallas naturopathic doctor. “Why not try natural herbs first?”

What It Treats

Colds and flu, as well as chronic conditions such as arthritis, back and neck pain, digestive disorders, depression, PMS, and hormonal imbalances. Naturopaths are preventive first and foremost, and they are not trained in acute trauma or major surgery.

Medical Studies

Thousands of studies have linked nutrition with healthy living. Studies by Dean Ornish, M.D.. at the University of California at San Francisco, are some of the most known. Ornish found that his patients with severe coronary heart disease could reverse their condition with a strict low-fat diet, exercise, yoga, and group counseling. Some insurance companies now cover the program. A study presented at a Naturopathic Physicians Convention looked at women given a botanical formula instead of estrogen re )lacement therapy. All of the women given the botanical treatment showed a reduction in menopausal symptoms compared to 17 percent of the control group given placebos. A Harvard study announced that women whose diets included high levels of vitamin C and A and beta carotene had a 33 percent lower risk of heart attack ai id a 71 percent lower risk of stroke than women whose diets included the average intake of these vitamins.

A Word from the Critics

Conventional doctors agree that poor diet can increase the chances of disease. But when it come; to curing, diet alone won’t be enough to fight virulent illnesses such as AIDS or cancer, and patients shouldn’t be led to believe so. Some doctors say Rachel Stout, the 10-year-old Fort Worth girl who almost di id when her parents opted to treat her ulcerative colitis naturally, is an extreme example of how “natural” medicine can be taken too far. Furthermore, herbs and botanical remedies can be just as dangerous as pharmaceutical drugs, say conventional doctors, especially because they are relatively understudied and unregulated. Local OB/GYNs are concerned that women are particularly vulnerable to seeking “natural” pures. “Women have been guinea pigs long enough,” says Kimberly Yorkers, M.D., a UT Southwestern psychiatrist who’s conducting studies on women with acute PMS and mood disorders. “So what if it’s natural? Poisonous mushrooms are natural, too.”


N.D. Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

The Council of Naturopathic Medical Education (C1NME) has accredited three colleges of naturopathic medicine in the United States that award this degree. Other natural medicine schools exist, however, and some N.D.s received their training before CNME’s establishment.


Initial visits: $120-$200. Follow-ups: $30-$60.


OSTEOPATHS (D.O.S) ARE TRAINED ON par with M.D.s when it comes to primary care, which includes family medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics/gynecolo-gy. But there is a fundamental difference between the two professions, says Cynthia Dott, D.O., “and the difference is one of philosophy.” Osteopaths use all the tools of conventional medicine-X-rays, pharmaceutical drugs, surgery-but they are also hands-on physicians who believe touch is a necessary part of healing. On the first visit to a D.O., a structural assessment of posture, motion of limbs, and symmetry will be made. D.O.s are trained to use manipulation therapies to keep a body’s musculoskeletal system free of disease. Common manipulative treatments include manual lymphatic drainage, joint mobilization, articulatory techniques (similar to the adjustments made by chiropractors), myofascial release, and Craniosacral (skull and spine) therapy. The D.O.s listed specialize in manipulation in the treatment of disease and pain, in the minority, they’re more likely to be considered “alternative.”

What It Treats

Muscle tension and pain, recurrent ear infections, migraines, chronic disc problems, fibromyalgia, asthma, respiratory infection, acute stress, hypertension, carpal tunnel syndrome, post-operative pain, accidental injuries, pregnancy discomfort.

Medical Studies

A study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association examined the effects of osteopathic manipulation on 26 patients with lower back pain. The techniques decreased muscle tension and relieved pain and spasms. Another study in JAOA examined 100 patients with chronic respiratory problems. Osteopathic manipulation helped decrease the duration of their illnesses, relieve symptoms, and prevent complications and recurrences.

A Word from the Critics

M.D.s and D.O.s are required to pass the same medical boards to practice medicine. Studies are still being designed to prove a link between the musculoskeletal system and disease, however, and some critics don’t believe an association exists.


D.O. Doctor of Osteopathy. Granted by one of 17 colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States accredited by the American Osteopathic Association.


Initial visits: $ 100-$ 150. Follow-ups: $75-$100. Primary care-whether given by an M.D. or D.O.-is covered equally by insurance. But some companies may have restrictions on manipulative care.

A Guide to Alternative Medicine

LIKE EVERY PLACE ELSE, DALLAS/FORT WORTH HAS SEEN A rise in the number of alternative medicine practitioners I within the past few years. By no means is this a complete I list, and we have likely excluded somebody’s favorite, I and in their opinion, world-renowned massage therapist, I acupuncturist, or chiropractor. (If we have, let us know.) These are the practitioners whose names were most frequentl) mentioned in the course of our research by people who use alternative treatments in Dallas/Fort Worth and by veteran practitioners who have watched the boom in interest expand around here for decades. A word of caution: Some of these modalities are unregulated by the state-homeopathy and naturopathy, for example- and many treatments in this section are still under scientific scrutiny. But this guide gets you started, arms you with information, and lets you know what to expect.

ACUPUNCTURE Area Practitioners

Qiong Bai, M.D.|(China), Dipl. Ac, L.Ac; 5924 Royal Ln., Suite 206, Dallas; (214) 739-5536.

Kathleen Bynum, D.O. (family practice); 6780 Abrarns Rd., Suite 211, Dallas; (214) 341-5630.

Deborah H. Cawthon D.O. (family practice); 410 N. Shiloh Rd., Suite B, Garland; (972) 272-055D.

Evangeline Cayton, MD (physical medicine and electromyography); Tom Landry Sports Medicine & Research Center, Baylor University Medical Center, 411 N. Washington St., Suite 4000, Dallas; (214) 820-2521.Susan Ho Chao, 0.M.D.,L.Ac; 13101 Preston Rd., Suite 307t Dallas; (972) 233-5343.Chung-Hwei Chernily. O.M.D., Dipl.Ac., L.Ac.; 124-E Grapevine Hwy., Hurst; (817) 498-8449;NCCA certified in Chinese herbology.

Sunny Chernly. O.M.D., Dipl.Ac, L.Ac.; 2301 N. Collins St., Arlington; (817) 261-5577; NCCA certifie d in Chinese herbology; also homeopathy and nutritional therapy.

Ashley M. Classe > D.O. (anesthesiology, pain management): 311 University Dr., Fort Worth; (817)1177-4787.

Bill Craig, M.D. (pain management); Center for Pain Mamgement, 2500 West Fwy., Fort Worth; (817) 332-4610.

Mark Hanson. DC, Dipl. Ac, L.Ac; 921 West Pioneer Pkwy. Suite A. Grand Prairie; (972)647-1100

Stuart Maura, C ’.M.D., D.O.M., DiplAc, L.Ac; 5626 Bell St.. Dallas; (214) 521-2001. Dong-?aeParit, O.M.D., Dipl. Ac. L.Ac;

12240 Inwood Rd.. Suite 307, Dallas;

(972) 239-5324; also Sugi massage

(Korean massage).

Iva Lim Peck, R.N., Dipl. Ac, L.Ac., and

Richard Peck. L. Ac.; 1227 W. Campbell Rd..

Suite 307. Richardson; (972) 235-9070;

(allergy reduction, ta’i chi chu’ an, chi


I. Philip Reese. D.O. (cardiology); 3500

Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth; (817)


Albert L Shaw, M.D. (anesthesiologist);

101 W. Allen Ave.. Fort Worth;

(817) 921-2598; also hypnotherapy, pain


Cynthia Smith. M.D. (physical medicine and

rehabilitation); Medical City, 7777 Forest

Ln.. Suite A337, Dallas; (972) 661-2500.

Edward Song, O.M.D., Ph.D. (traditional

Chinese medicine and physical education),

L.Ac.; 3068 Forest Ln.. Suite 120. Dallas;

(972) 243-4567.

Bunzo Takamatsu, D.O.M.. L.Ac., and Sharon

Kraus. D.O.M.. Dipl. Ac. L.Ac.; 12700

Preston Rd., Suite 255, Dallas;


David Tarlo. D.O.M.. Dipl. Ac, L.Ac..

R.M.T. (Registered Massage Therapist),

and Terry Tarlo, Dipl. Ac, L.Ac; 5952

Royal Ln.. Suite 254-3, Dallas; (972) 494-

3819; (allergy elimination).

Yiming Wang, O.M.D., Dipl. Ac. L. Ac;

1025 Newberry Dr.. Suite D. Richardson;


William Zhang, O.M.D., Dipl. Ac, L.Ac.:

3740 S. University Dr. 2/F. Fort Worth;


Un Zhou, M.D. (China), Dipl. Ac, L.Ac.;

3112 N, Jupiter Rd.. Suite 203. Garland;



Area Practitioners

Jay Apte, M.D. (India), M.S. (pharmacology); 311 Walnut Grove Ln., Coppell; (972)471-1012.

Jim Davis. D.O. (family practice, preventive medicine); Medical Director of the Dallas Center for Chronic Disorders (an intensive in-resident ayurvedic program that offers out-patient consultations and teaches ayurvedic principles to physicians and the public).

June and David Humphreys. Directors, Maharishi Vedic School and Transcendental Meditation Program, 5600 N. Central Expwy., Dallas; (214) 821-8686; teach 7-step transcendental meditation technique; $575 for adults, $345 for seniors.

Lidonna Lancaster, M.D.; 2060 N. Collins Blvd., Suite 105. Richardson; (972)889-1010.

Edmund Tyska, D.O., D.C. (family practice, preventative medicine); 620 N. O’Connor Rd., Irving; (972) 259-3541; also acupuncture and primordial sound meditation.


Area Practitioners

Mark Beislegel, D.C.; 2909 Cole Ave.. Suite 205, Dallas; (214) 979-9013; also neuro-emotional therapy, acupuncture, nutritional counseling, homeopathy.

Stephen Blount St., D.C; 2439 S. Beltline Rd.. Suite A-3, Grand Prairie; (972) 262-8885; also energy work, nutritional counseling, homeopathy, biofeedback, R.M.T.. trigger point massage.

Roger Clifford, D.C; 5519 Arapaho Rd., Suite 108, Dallas; (972) 934-1660; also homeopathy, acupressure, physiotherapy.

Robert Grifnn, D.C.; 614 S. Henderson St., Fort Worth; (817) 335-2666. David Hoover. D.C; 6801 McCart Ave., Fort Worth; (817) 346-2211; also neuro-emotional therapy.

Stuart Meyers, D.C; 2101 Greenville Ave., Dallas; (214) 828-1212: also biofeedback, yoga, R.M.T., trigger point.

Pamela McReynolds, D.C, and T. Patrick Waters, D.C; 6333 E. Mockingbird Ln., Suite 233; (214) 821-2525; also nutritional counseling, homeopathy.

Keila Nichols, D.C; 1910 Firman Dr.. Suite 100, Richardson; (972) 437-5100; specializes in pediatric chiropractic; also nutritional counseling. Craniosacral therapy.

Bernardo Pana, DC; 5439 S. Hulen St., Fort Worth; (817) 370-8850.

John Pearson, D.C; 1808 S. Bowen Rd., Suite E, Arlington; (817) 274-0222.

Laura Shwaluk, D.C; 12830 Hillcrest, Suite 111, Dallas; (972) 503-3400; also massage therapy, myofascial release.

Robert Sniadach, D.C; 12005 Cromwell Dr., Dallas; (972) 247-7076; also lifestyle and nutritional counseling.

Chip Stokes, D.C; 721 W. Arapaho Rd., Suite 103. Richardson; (972) 699-3696; also acupuncture, acupressure, Chinese herbs, homeopathy, nutritional counseling, trigger point massage, myofascial release.


Area Practitioners<BR>

Dan Cook, M.D.; 7475 Skillman, Dallas; (214) 503-6362.

Judith Pruzzo-Hawkins, R.Ph. (Registered Pharmacist), C.C.H.; 8345 Walnut Hill Ln., Suite 240, Dallas; (214) 373-5145.

Elaine Sauter, homeopathic counselor, and Due Schore, homeopathic counselor, R.M.T. (Craniosacral manipulation); 5207 McKinney Ave., Suite 20, Dallas; (214)522-3:67.

James R. Snow, D.C., D.N.B.H.E., R.M.T. (Registered Massage Therapist); 11615 Forest Central, Suite 105, Dallas; (214) 341-0400.

Glenda Stroup, homeopathic counselor; 2060 N. Collins Blvd., Suite 105, Richardson; 972-889-1010.

Alfred Wishart, homeopathic counselor; 1910 Firman Drive, Suite 100, Richardson; (972) 437-5100.


Area Practitioners

Kachina Abeita, R.M.T.; (214) 599-9811; Feldenkrais, aromatherapy massage.

Linda Ball, R.M.T.; 9807 Coldwater Circle, Dallas; (214) 320-0407; Reiki, Craniosacral therapy, acupressure with spiritual overtones.

Anna Cawthon, R.M.T.; 2247 Wisconsin St., Suite 107. Dallas; (972) 241-6300; Reiki, trauma release massage.

Philippa Dodson, R.M.T.; (214) 692-1088; neuromuscular, trigger point, aromatherapy.

Mark Fittnatrlck, R.M.T.; 8609 Northwest Plaza Dr., Suite 307, Dallas; (214) 599-9811 ; deep tissue, trigger point, neuromuscular therapy, St. John’s method (a deep tissue, pain release work).

Nicholas French, R.M.T.; 10418 Marsh Ln., Dallas; (214) 357-7571; Rolfing.

Christine Gates, R.M.T.; (972) 239-4507; Swedish massage, reflexology, and herbs.

Mary Créer, R.M.T.; (214) 321-2905; reflexology and Swedish massage.

Jack Heggie; 2828 Forest Ln., Suite 1145, Dallas; (972) 406-1010; Feldenkrais.

Sam Johnson, R.M.T.; (214) 360-0624; Rolfing.

Chuck Lustfield, R.M.T., L.P.C. (licensed professional counselor); 10537 Cromwell Dr., Dallas; (214) 902-8900; Rolling, bioenergetic psychotherapy.

Katherine Miculka, R.M.T.; 2001 Coit Rd., Suite 166-296, Piano; (972) 964-5581; Feldenkrais, Craniosacral therapy.

Barbara “Bobbie” Nehman, RAIT.: (972) 235-7328; trager, reflexology.

Phyllis Richmond; (214) 768-3327; Alexander Technique.

Michele Sandlin, R.M.T.; (214) 785-0287; soft tissue massage.

Madeleine Torry, R.M.T.; (972) 234-4717; trager, Swedish massage, Reiki.

Marci Novak Winter, R.M.T.; 6060 N. Central Expwy., Suite 560. Dallas; (214) 750-6066; Esalen-style massage (gentle, full-body massage).

Paul Womble, R.M.T.; 9807 Coldwater Circle, Dallas; (214) 692-9744; Watsu, Reiki, Craniosacral therapy.


Area Practitioners

Douglas Bellamy, Ed.D.; 16200 Dallas Pkwy.. Suite 280, Dallas: (972) 404-8888; hypnosis, imagery, stress management.

Milo F. Benningfield, Ph.D. (psychology); 6320 LBJ Fwy.. Suite 225, Dallas: (972) 661-3565; hypnotherapy.

Harold Crasilneck, Ph.D. (clinical psychology); Clinical professor of psychiatry and clinical professor of anesthesiology and pain management at UTSW; Medical City, 7777 Forest Ln., Bldg. C, Suite 606, Dallas; (972) 566-6616; hypnotherapy.

The Dallas Yoga Center: 4525 Lemmon Ave., Suite 305, Dallas; (214) 443-9642; NIA (neuromuscular integrative action-a movement therapy combining martial arts, dance, and yoga). Craniosacral therapy.

Sara Hunt Harper, Ph.D. (marriage and family therapy), L.P.C.; 101 E. Park Blvd., Suite 571, Piano; (972) 423-8905; biofeedback, yoga, hypnotherapy.

Deborah Kern. Ph.D. (health sciences), Director of Mind/Body Wellness Center at the Spa at the Crescent; (214) 871-3232; yoga, meditation, and ayurveda. Also NIA (neuromuscular integrative action-a movement therapy combining martial arts, dance, and yoga).

Chaim Larsen, Ph.D. (psychophysiology), L.P.C.; 13306 Roaring Springs. Dallas; (972) 404-9570: bio and neurofeedback, acupuncture, acupressure, and Chinese herbs.

Jerry McGill, Ph.D. (clinical psychology); 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth; (817) 735-2334; biofeedback, hypnosis, pain management.

Ranjana Pallana; Ranjana’s Yoga&Bodyworks, 13614 Midway Rd., Suite 101. Dallas: (972) 233-4377; also meditation, tai chi, personalized massage.

Barbara Peavey, Ph.D. (psychology); 1701 W. Northwest Hwy.. Suite 250. Grapevine; (817) 481-5657; biofeedback, hypnosis, imagery, spiritual counseling.

Liora Peiser, Ph.D. (biochemistry), L.P.C.; Medical City, 7777 Forest Ln., Suite 818-C, Dallas; (972) 566-6609; hypnotherapy, biofeedback.

Lynda Rlggsby, M.S.. L.P.C.; Eugene McDermott Center for Pain Management, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd., UTSW; (214) 648-2774; biofeedback, hypnotherapy, breath therapy, imagery.

Donald B. Weaver, Ph.D. (psychology); 2007 N. Collins Blvd., Suite 301, Richardson; 972-437-3894; imagery, hypnotherapy.

Paula Welthman, M.Ed., L.P.C.; 1755 N. Collins Blvd., Suite 109, Richardson; (214) 522-0360: biofeedback, yoga, Shiatsu, Craniosacral therapy.


Area Practitioners

Jim Gambrell, N .D., Ph.D. (nutrition), D.D. (Doctor of Divinity); 12005 Cromwell Dr., Dallas; (972) ; 47-7076; also spiritual counseling.

Sidney Safron, H.D.; (214) 361-1310; also certified in homeopathy.Stephen Sporn, N.D.; 13612 Midway Rd. #333-16, Farmer’s Branch; (972) 490-3703.


Area Practitioners

Mary Ann Block, DO.; 1721 Cimarron Trail #4, Hurst; (817)280-9933.

Catherine Carlton, D.O.; 815 W. Magnolia, Fori Worth; (817) 923-4609.

Jerry Dickey, D.O.; University of North Texas Health Science Center-Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth; (817) 735-2235.

Cynthia Tinsley Dott, DO, and Gregory Dott, D.O.; 6780 Abrams Rd? Suite 211, Dallas; (214)341-5630.

Russell G.Gamber, DO.; UNTHSC-TCOM, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd.. Fort Worth; (817) 735-2235.

Richard Koss, DO.; UNTHSC-TCOM, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd.. Fort Worth; (817) 735-2235.

Allan Kalich, D.O.; 1838 Ridgeview, Mesquite; (972) 288-4810. Liz Chapek. D.O.; 10622 Garland Rd? Dallas; (214) 321-2673.

Scott Stall, DO., Ph.D.; UNTHSC-TCOM, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd.. Fort Worth; (817) 735-2235.

David Teitelbaum, DO.; 3230 Camp Bowie Blvd., Suite D, Fort Worth; (817) 335-4220; also acupuncture, Chinese herbology.

David Vick, D.O.; UNTHSC-TCOM, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd.. Fort Worth; (817) 735-2235.


When your conventional doctor runs out of answers, you suddenly become a lot more open-minded.

I LIE IN THF. MIDDLE OF A KING-SIZED bed, paralyzed. The alarm clock is squawking at me, but I can’t get up-can’t even roll over- because a piercing pain in my neck won’t let me move an inch. I am in Phoenix for a conference, but the lesson I leam today is thai the only thing worse than waking up in agonizing pain is waking up in agonizing pain in a hotel room.

I see myself in the mirror at the foot of the bed and wince. My back muscles are so tight that my left shoulder looks as if it has attached itself to my ear. I manage to squirm over to the telephone on the night stand and call for help, Not soon enough, a bellboy graciously hoists me off my mattress and drives me to an emergency clinic. There, the M.D. on duty diagnoses an acute muscle spasm and grants me pain pills and muscle relaxers. (I’m going to name my firstborn son Flexeril.)

The doctor tells me that being in an unfamiliar environment may have triggered this trauma. A heavy laptop computer that I had carried around for days had been a co-conspirator. My surge of stress to meet a deadline hadn’t helped either. With drugs and a day of bed rest, I uncrinkle enough to endure a flight back to Dallas, but the stiffness and aches continue for weeks. A Medical City internist recommends some sophisticated stretches. Good advice, except I already tried that to no avail. One night, I accompany a pack of UT Southwestern residents to a local pub, hoping they will disclose a secret therapy under the auspices of Guinness Stout. But after a couple of rounds, one of them confesses that “when M.D.s see a problem like yours, they basically…punt. “

Just as I suspected! Doctors don’t know everything! Sure they’re your lifesavers if you’re in a car wreck on Central Expressway, but chronic pain management is not the specialty of most physicians. So what choice do I have? I can keep popping muscle relaxers that make controlling my drool a tough task, or I can stray from conventional medicine and experiment with ’”alternative” treatments. I choose the latter because when you’re in pain, you’ll try things you wouldn’t normally try, spend money you wouldn’t normally spend, and put hope in things you called voodoo fringe medicine just the other day. When your conventional doctor has run out of answers, you suddenly become a lot more open-minded.

I decide to try acupuncture first. I have a long-distance relationship with the practice -I know a little bit about it through a friend of a friend of a friend, The practice falls under the can’t-hurt-could-help category, so I figure it’s worth a shot.

I choose Dr. Qiong Bai in North Dallas. His clinic looks like a regular physician’s-stark white walls, mounted degrees, an occasional potted plant-except that it has tall posters of bodies with their meridian (puncture) points labeled. During my first visit, my back muscles are killing me. I crawl up on the examining table, lie on my stomach, and rest my head on the donut-shaped pillow.

Bai feels my neck and back muscles, looking for tight spots, and when he finds one, he sticks it with a needle. I had heard that you couldn’t feel acupuncture needles-not true. I definitely know all 15 needles are pricked in my skin, even with Yanni playing in the background. Every 10 minutes, Bai gently jiggles the needles and tiny electric tingles spread through my muscles. This is the rebalancing ol’ my chi, he explains, the inner energy that keeps me healthy when flowing properly. After half an hour, he takes the needles out and gives me an acupressure massage with a towel soaked in tiger balm. It feels and smells like Icy Hot. and he rubs it into my back quickly. When I leave, I feel loose, carefree, a little light in the head. The tiny tingles continue until late that night-chi inertia I guess. But my back pain has subsided, temporarily at least, and I’m not complaining.

For a more permanent remedy. I try biofeedback. Stress is a precursor to nagging pain. I’m told, so I should learn how to “manage” it. On my first session with psychologist Lynda Riggsby at the Eugene McDermott Center for Pain Management at LIT Southwestern, she tells me that biofeedback will help me find out exactly what’s causing my stress and teach me ways to reduce anxiety. I sit on the edge of an oversized black leather recliner in a room with dim track lighting, and I explain to Lynda my personal peculiarities. She tells me I have a type A personality, which means I am constantly in a hurry-sometimes for no apparent reason. Type A’s are overtly competitive, intensely ambitious, and grouchy if things aren’t done their way-fast. They’re often control freaks (yep), have a hard time living with unfinished tasks (uh-huh). and have trouble relaxing {doesn’t everybody?). In other words, as a type A. I wear stress like it’s an accessory to my wardrobe.

She attaches wires to my arms and fingertips; the wires run to a computer screen that monitors heart rate, perspiration, and muscle tension. Lynda asks me questions about work, financial status, love life, and family relationships. The mere mention of some of these topics makes the blinking cursor on the screen rise higher and higher and beep louder and louder. My average anxiety “reading” hovers around 13 or 14. That doesn’t seem bad until Lynda tells me that most people can keep it under one. Lynda politely informs me-and I wish I were making this up-that I have “wrecked guts.” This might not be a big deal right now, but over the long haul of collective years it could get ugly. Lynda and I will discuss these topics in detail, she tells me. and practice ways to reduce their accompanying stress. I may need anywhere from two to 22 sessions to learn techniques like breath therapy and imagery.

I decide to continue biofeedback, as it caught my full attention. The acupuncture is good for quick relief, and I’m also scheduling regular Reiki (ray-key) massages. I don’t buy its supernatural premise. (My therapist. Linda Ball, says she can funnel her “healing energy” into me through her hands.) But Reiki’s subtle touches and manipulations make me feel better. I don’t understand how most “alternative” treatments work, and I don’t care. If they ease my back pain. I’ll use them; if they don’t, I won’t.

Four months after my grueling morning in Phoenix, I have a lot less pain. Of course, I’ve also been given one of the best medicines in the world-time. Waiting it out might be what actually cures me in the end, but at least I’ll feel better along the way.

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