Alternative and Complimentary in Disease Management
Dr. Linda S. Cox E-Mail
Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, United States
Research Keywords: Food, insect and respiratory allergies, eczema, asthma and immune deficiencies.
For this special issue, I decided to craft a personalized introduction. In most of my publications I follow the standard approach to scientific writing… never write in the first person or relay personal experiences. Although it is common practice in a scientific article to relay the author's experience in practice or the laboratory setting. When I have deviated from this traditional approach, I find I'd rather like the article after it's published. I find them somewhat witty and interesting.
Several years ago, I decided to retire from clinical practice for several reasons primarily due to the steadily rising overhead costs that were not offset by reimbursement increases. I always thought I had a Plan B, which was to go back to school and study filmmaking. However after some thought and consideration, I realized to successfully master this discipline, I would need years of training. Subsequently, I decided to pursue a lifelong passion and went back to school and got a degree in dance. Now I am getting a degree in Fine Arts. Both degrees required vigorous study which includes research papers. During my dance training, I developed a keen interest in the healing power of dance. There is a plethora of well-designed studies demonstrating that dance interventions as compared with regular exercise alone provide benefits in several physical and psychological domains, including executive and cognitive function, balance, gait, and pain threshold. Impressive findings were that dance was associated with increased brain volume, function, and neurotrophic growth function.
One study of asthmatic children found that dance training was associated with improved aerobic work capacity, muscle strength, and lung function. It was also associated with a significant mobilization of mental resources and an increase in social integration. This compelled me to publish a review article entitled “Dance is a Healing Art.”
When I began studying Fine Arts, I also researched the role of visual arts in disease management. I found a similar impressive amount of research supporting the benefits of visual arts and healing, which prompted me to write a review article on the healing power of the visual arts.
In my nearly 40 years of medical practice, I never considered prescribing dance or visual art therapy. Nor did any of my patients request this. As an allergy immunology specialist, I was often asked about alternative treatment approaches. I wrote prescriptions for massage therapy, acupuncture, environmental control measures, such as air filtration devices, specific mattresses or vacuums, and indoor air quality assessments. Primarily these were at the request of patients who were seeking insurance coverage for these alternative approaches. Over the years I was also frequently asked about various alternative over-the-counter treatment, such as probiotics and herbal medications. It was virtually impossible to determine what was actually in these products if they actually contained the ingredients that they advertised. My research suggested that there were large variations in the quantity of herbs or even vitamins in these over-the-counter products. This is because they haven't gone through the rigorous process of FDA approval.
In 2022, the FDA front of proposed a rule called the non-prescription drug product with an additional condition for non-prescription use. The rule is intended to increase options for the development and marketing of safe and effective November grippe medications which is intended to improve public health by broadening the types of non-prescription drug products available to consumers . Hopefully this rule will result in better-educated physicians as well as consumers. I must confess over the years many of my patients educated me about the benefits of over-the-counter products such as turmeric. I was so impressed with the turmeric literature that I started the medication myself and later was prescribed it by a rheumatologist. The medication itself is not technically a pharmaceutical product but has a designation as a medicinal food. , Medicinal foods are intended for use under the supervision of a physician.
However, they have not undergone premarket approval by the FDA. Still, medical food companies must comply with other requirements, such as current good manufacturing practices and registration of food facilities. The FDA site also posts over-the-counter (otc) related federal register notices, ingredient references, and other regulatory information, which might be a useful resource for healthcare professionals .
I have found navigating these websites to get particular information about a product is very time-consuming.
The goal of this special issue is to compile original research and review articles that evaluate the effectiveness and safety of alternative approaches to disease management as compared with standard drug or medical therapy. In addition to safety and efficacy articles evaluating the cost effectiveness of these alternate approaches are welcome. Ultimately it is our hopes that this will be a valuable resource for both consumers and healthcare professionals.
1. Cox L, Youmans-Jones J. Dance Is a Healing Art. Current treatment options in allergy. 2023/04/10 2023;doi:10.1007/s40521-023-00332-x
2. Cox L. The Healing Power of Visual Arts. Current treatment options in allergy. 2024; (manuscript in preparation)
Keywords: Disease management, alternative approaches, complimentary, immunology, allergy