Victoriya Brener, M.D.
   
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Dr. Frenkel Obstetrician-Gynecologist  
Alternative Medicine

To make sense of the many therapies available, it helps to look at how they are classified by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), the lead agency that funds for scientific research on CAM in the United States. The NCCAM categories are:

  • Whole medical systems
  • Mind-body medicine
  • Biologically based practices
  • Manipulative and body-based practices
  • Energy medicine

Keep in mind, however, that the distinctions between therapies aren't always clear-cut, and some systems use techniques from more than one category.

Whole medical systems
  • A system isn't just a single practice or remedy — such as massage — but many practices that center on a philosophy, such as the power of nature or the presence of energy in your body. Examples of whole medical systems include:

    • Ancient healing systems. These healing systems arose long before conventional Western medicine and include ayurveda from India and traditional Chinese medicine.
    • Homeopathy. This approach uses minute doses of a substance that causes symptoms to stimulate the body's self-healing response.
    • Naturopathy. This approach focuses on noninvasive treatments to help your body do its own healing and uses a variety of practices, such as massage, acupuncture, herbal remedies, exercise and lifestyle counseling.
Mind-body medicine
Mind-body techniques strengthen the communication between your mind and your body. Complementary and alternative medicine practitioners say these two systems must be in harmony for you to stay healthy. Examples of mind-body connection techniques include meditation, prayer, relaxation and art therapies.
Biologically based practices
Examples include dietary supplements and herbal remedies. These treatments use ingredients found in nature. Examples of herbs include ginseng, ginkgo and echinacea, while examples of other dietary supplements include selenium, glucosamine sulfate and SAMe. Herbs and supplements can be taken as teas, oils, syrups, powders, tablets or capsules.
Manipulation and body-based practices
These methods use human touch to move or manipulate a specific part of your body. They include chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation and massage.
Energy medicine
Some complementary and alternative medicine practitioners believe an invisible energy force flows through your body, and when this energy flow is blocked or unbalanced you can become sick. Different traditions call this energy by different names, such as chi, prana and life force. The goal of these therapies is to unblock or re-balance your energy force. Energy therapies include qi gong, therapeutic touch, reiki and magnet therapy.
  Dr. Brener is a physiatrist. She has been affiliated with Beth Israel Medical Center.
She earned her M.D. from Vinnitsa Medical Institute of N.I. Pirogova and completed her residency in physical medicine & rehabilitation at Downstate & Kings County Hospital Center.
Dr. Frenkel is an obstetrician-gynecologist at Bay OB/GYN, P.C. in Brooklyn. He has been affiliated with New York Methodist Hospital and Lenox Hill Hospital.  
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