Loyola Medical Students Learn Value of Alternative Medicine from Patient Herself

By Massey, Patrick B. | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 20, 2005 | Go to article overview

Loyola Medical Students Learn Value of Alternative Medicine from Patient Herself


Massey, Patrick B., Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Patrick B. Massey, M.D.

For the past several years, Loyola University's Stritch School of Medicine has made a point to teach medical students about nontraditional medicine.

One approach is a day-long symposium that includes a case study of a specific patient's medical history. Both traditional and nontraditional treatments are evaluated for their short- and long- term benefit to the patient.

At this particular symposium, the patient was present. I was there, lecturing on nutrition. Tony Lu, M.D., medical director of complementary and alternative medicine at Loyola, spoke on Oriental medicine. Homeopathy was covered by Charles Dumont, M.D., assistant professor at Loyola.

The patient was a young woman who took a very active part is discussing her medical therapies, what helped and what did not.

She'd had a very stressful life, both physically and emotionally. Like many women today, she tried to be a bread winner, mother and wife. Over time, the stresses of this lifestyle simply wore her down. She began to exhibit symptoms of chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and depression.

Her experiences with traditional medicine were, to some degree, helpful. However, as the years passed and her pain and fatigue increased, she was labeled as having a psychosomatic disorder. Antidepressant medications in ever-larger doses became the mainstay of therapy. Her condition worsened.

She had the good fortune, however, of meeting Dr. Lu and several other nontraditional healers. Through a combination of Oriental medicine, nutrition, exercise, stress reduction and caring, the patient was able to begin healing. Her pain improved, she returned to work and she began to feel like she had control over her destiny.

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