Despite powerful opposition, natural medicine (NM) has achieved a toe-hold in the state-run biomedical system in the Slovak Republic. The physician-leader of the NM movement hopes to leverage his ministerial post as NM 'supreme expert' and his interlocking NM clinical and research facilities to achieve a complex, unified health care system under control of medical doctors. This health care model simultaneously reinforces biomedical hegemony and decenters classical medicine by substituting a bioenergetical paradigm.
Nurses and alternative healers often share a common holistic philosophy of health and healing as well as the use of therapeutic touch. This ethnography compared the concepts of health and healing used by nurses and alternative healers. Seven categories of activities in healing or health domains common to both groups were physical, mental, attitudinal, relational, spiritual, self-caring, and help-seeking. Similarities were in the holistic approach. Differences were found in locus of responsibility and spirituality.
PURPOSE: To conduct a systematic review of the available data on the efficacy of any form of "distant healing" (prayer, mental healing, Therapeutic Touch, or spiritual healing) as treatment for any medical condition. DATA SOURCES: Studies were identified by an electronic search of the MEDLINE, PsychLIT, EMBASE, CISCOM, and Cochrane Library databases from their inception to the end of 1999 and by contact with researchers in the field.
Touching is often a forgotten part of medicine. The manual medicine or therapeutic touch (TT) is much more powerful than many modern, biomedically oriented physicians think. Pain and discomfort can be alleviated just by touching the sick area and in this way help the patient to be in better contact with the tissue and organs of their body. Lack of presence in the body seems to be connected with many symptoms that can be readily reversed simply by sensitive touch.
In clinical holistic practice, it is recommended that ample time is spent with the gynecological or pelvic examination, especially in cases of women with suspected old emotional traumas following early childhood cases of incest or sexual abuse. The holistic principles of holding and processing should be followed with the purpose of healing the patient, re-establishing the natural relationship with the body, sexuality, and reproductive organs. Sexual violations are often forcibly repressed. It appears that the tissues that were touched during the violation often bear the trauma.
The use of alternative medicine was assessed by questionnaire in 96 patients with irritable bowel syndrome, 143 patients with organic upper gastrointestinal disorders and 222 patients with Crohn's disease of comparable age and sex. Significantly more patients with the irritable bowel syndrome (16%) had consulted practitioners of alternative medicine about their condition than had patients in either of the other groups. Similarly, significantly more irritable bowel syndrome patients said they would consult an alternative medicine practitioner (41%) if conventional treatment failed.