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Spinal Cord Injury: Progress, Promise, and Priorities F EXAMPLES OF ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES The following alternative therapies have been used in attempts to treat spinal cord injuries. Most of these interventions have not been examined in peer-reviewed randomized clinical trials. Therefore, their safety and efficacy are not known. Acupuncture Insertion of fine needles into specific sites of the skin. Aromatherapy and essential oils therapy Use of plant essential oils applied through either the nose or the skin. Ayurvedic medicine A form of therapy that emphasizes diet and nutrition, exercise, and rest and relaxation, among other treatments, to maintain basic energy. Blueberry extracts An extract that contains substances similar to cranberries that may fight urinary tract infections. Cannabis Hemp-derived substance with psychoactive properties. Chiropractic healing System of therapy that uses manipulation of the muscles and body structures. Chronologically controlled developmental therapy System of therapy with a number of traditional physical therapies that includes pressure stimulation and light-touch massage, among other techniques.
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Spinal Cord Injury: Progress, Promise, and Priorities Cranberry extract An extract that contains antibacterial substances, such as proanthocyanidins, that inhibit the bacterium Escherichia coli from attaching to the bladder and causing urinary tract infection. Craniosacral therapy Light-touch massage and acupuncture. Creatine supplement Dietary supplement of creatine, an amino acid involved in cellular energy production in skeletal muscle. Dolphin-assisted therapy Interaction of dolphins and humans that includes sonar echolocation. Flower-essence therapy The use of a mixture of flower petals that do not contain biologically active molecules. Homeopathy The use of natural substances found in plants, minerals, or animals. Homeopathy is based on the premise that low doses can stimulate the body’s defense mechanisms. Laserpuncture A therapy that combines elements of acupuncture and laser therapy by using a laser beam of infrared light for acupuncture needles on the patient’s torso. Magnetic therapy Therapy that involves the use of magnets. D-Mannose Simple sugar used as a supplement to prevent urinary tract infection. Massage Manipulation of soft tissues to increase circulation and to stimulate relaxation. Mimosa pudica A plant native of tropical America. Omental therapy Surgical lengthening and placement of the omentum, a vascular, fatty membranous tissue that surrounds the lower abdomen, over the site of injury. Peripheral nerve rerouting Surgical rerouting of peripheral nerves from above the site of injury and connecting them to peripheral nerves below the site of injury. Qigong Physical and mental training in gentle movements, breathing, and meditative practices.
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Spinal Cord Injury: Progress, Promise, and Priorities Shark embryo cell transplantation Surgical procedure involving decompression surgery, removal of bone fragments, drainage of cysts, and injection of blue shark embryo cells and growth factors, followed by physical therapy. St. John’s wort Herbal medicine that may treat mild cases of depression. SOURCES: Johnston, L. 2002. Alternative & Innovative Therapies for Physical Disability. [Online]. Available: http://healingtherapies.info/ [accessed August 5, 2004]; Spinal Cord Injury Information Network. 1998. Alternative Therapies. [Online]. Available: http://www.spinalcord.uab.edu/show.asp?durki=21745 [accessed November 10, 2004]; Northwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury System. 2002. Complementary and Alternative Medicine. [Online]. Available: http://www.depts.washington.edu/rehab/sci/comp_alt_med.html [accessed February 25, 2005].
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