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Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Aging, Death or Grief

CAM ON IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE The first article by Lavretsky looks at various studies that have been conducted on how complementary alternative therapies can be used to treat cognitive impairment and mood disorders that come later in li...Read More

~Posted on Feb 2019




The first article by Lavretsky looks at various studies that have been conducted on how complementary alternative therapies can be used to treat cognitive impairment and mood disorders that come later in life. Among the modalities looked at in this article is Acupuncture, a Chinese traditional therapy of inserting needles in one’s body in specific places to manipulate the body to have a free flow of energy and balance the endocrine system. The other one is Yoga and meditation, a technique in the Indian ancient healthcare system centered in breathing exercises, stretches, and postures that enable a balance of the body’s energy. The article also reviews exercise, spiritual and pastoral therapies, music therapy, Ayurvedic and many others. The summary will focus on the Ayurvedic treatment as a complementary and alternative treatment in aging as discussed in the article.

Ayurveda is a word derived from Ayur which means life and Veda which means science or knowledge. A combination of the two words, therefore, means the science of life. Ayurvedic medicine is therefore understood as the knowledge of how to live. The practice originated from India over 5000 years ago. It is still used in the country as a primary healthcare system but has also gained popularity to the rest of the world in recent years. Ayurveda is useful in many ways which include memory enhancement, immunoprotection, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic remedies, and as a nerve tonic.

According to Lavretsky (2009), Ayurveda incorporates individualized remedies that include but not limited to meditation, dieting, and preparation of herbal techniques to treat various ailments. Some of the illnesses include depression and chronic disorders that are associated with hastening the aging process. The methods not only help in releasing stress but also enable lifestyle changes that will allow one to stay a stress-free life hence improving the quality of life. It includes yoga techniques and transcendental meditation. The article further highlights that studies on sleep disorders, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, anxiety, and depression treatment have found Ayurveda to yield positive results. There is however little information on the outcome of the older adult’s treatment.

Lavretsky (2009) identifies that cognitive aging and late-life mood disorder are the primary reasons for individuals to seek complementary and alternative treatments and therapies. The article further observes that there is little literature on the efficacy of complementary and alternative treatment methods on cognitive impairment and depression is very limited hence need for more study in the area. The study further proposes that its observations on these therapies would lead to the development of treatments that are effective in treating the severe conditions that come with old age.

Lavretsky (2009) observes that there are many publications discussing properties of various Ayurvedic herbal preparations on test subjects used in these kinds of studies. The test subjects are mice and rats. Some of the features are memory-enhancing, neuroprotective and antioxidants. The Ayurvedic system contains a component by the name Rasayana. It is the part that provides an approach to treat and prevent diseases that cause degeneration of the body. Plants used for this purpose are classified as rejuvenators. One of the plants used in the Ayurvedic herbal technique is Ocimum sanctum which has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cognition-enhancing properties. There were more studies analyzed in various experiments done on rats investigating the Ayurveda treatment approach. All the research supports the hypothesis that Ayurveda is useful in cognitive impairment and mood disorders hence effective in improving the quality of life.

The second article was written and published by Zappaterra CW, Zappaterra MW in 2014. It focuses on reviewing complementary and alternative medicine therapies that increase the quality of life for the aged. The article also focuses on Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies that help improve sleep and eliminate pain for the seniors which ultimately impacts on the quality of life. The research looked at yoga, acupressure, acupuncture, hypnosis, meditation and many more therapies and found that they have promising outcomes on the quality of life. The summary focuses on acupuncture as discussed in the article.

According to Zappaterra et al., (2014) there are very few studies done on how acupuncture affects sleep patterns for the seniors. The article, however, presents one evidence from previous research on the positive effect of acupuncture on insomnia. According to the study that was done on 22 individuals with dementia and of the age group between 55 and 90, acupuncture treatment was seen to lead the subjects to increased rest and sleep time. An increase in sleeping time allows rest for the old adults which ultimately leads to improved quality of life. The article, however, suggests that further studies should be done on the area.

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