Most classically trained physicians, including primary-care, allergists, pulmonologists, and otolaryngologists (including me) are starting to understand that chronic airway-digestive inflammatory disease (CAID) is caused by chronic inflammation and that the various diseases that make up CAID are connected. Yet practitioners outside of traditional Western medicine have always believed that the systems of the body are interconnected and that chronic inflammation plays a significant role in these disease processes. The practices associated with this philosophy have been somewhat haphazardly lumped together by the Western medical community as either “complementary,” “alternative,” “integrative,” or Eastern medicine, which I use as a generic term for these practices. However, there are important distinctions among these individual philosophies: each group has its own ideas on the way the body works and how to best approach and address CAID symptoms.

In the war between traditional Western doctors and Eastern alternative practitioners, it appears that proponents are on one side or the

other: Each group insists that you follow one type of practice while discarding the rest. Eastern practitioners were reluctant to accept Western ideas. Many Western practitioners disregarded these Eastern philosophies and their treatment modalities. Yet Western medicine can no longer deny their growing popularity. A recent study found that Americans made over 627 million visits to practitioners of alternative medicine in one year. A study by the Harvard Medical School found that one out of every two people between the ages of 35 and 49 regularly used at least one form of alternative treatment.

Today things are beginning to change. There are many classically trained physicians who have now incorporated complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) into their medical practices, providing the best of both worlds, and Eastern practitioners are now also working in concert with their Western allies. I am a proponent of the integration of these philosophies and treatments. Many medical schools now offer training in alternative medical approaches such as acupuncture, and many hospitals are starting to develop integrative medical centers. The prestigious National Institutes of Health has set up the Office of Alternative Medicine, and 34 medical schools in the United States have added elective courses in alternative medicine.

In my practice, I speak with practitioners from various Eastern philosophies on a daily basis, working together to provide my patients with the best care possible. I found that by tailoring a complementary program specific to each of my patient’s needs, I can extract the best of all that is offered and provide the most comprehensive treatment, allowing the greatest chance of relief from symptoms. My patients often report great results with many alternative therapies, including osteopathic treatments, chiropractic care, acupuncture and acupressure, yoga, and natural remedies. In my mind, each of these treatment options has their place in CAID management and total sinus health. This category explains many of my Eastern colleagues’ philosophies as they have been explained to me. I applaud these practitioners for bridging the gap between Eastern and Western medicine.

Remember, no one treatment will fit all people. Depending on your symptoms and diagnosis, some Eastern treatment options will be more
successful than others. It is, therefore, still important to discuss these options with your traditional doctor, so that together you can determine which course is appropriate for you.

Sinus Tips:
■ Corn starch in baking powder and any processed foods ■ Corn syrup in beverages and processed foods ■ Vinegar in ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard is usually from
Eat only the foods listed under “Foods to Include” and avoid foods listed under “Foods to Exclude.” If you have a question about a particular food, check to see if it is on
This is called an “elimination diet” because you will be removing certain foods and food categories from your diet. These modifications allow your body’s compromised detoxifi
The “remove” aspect of functional medicine (the first of the 4 Rs) includes dietary changes, particularly when there has been a history of antibiotic misuse. When necessary, I
The following list includes only a few of the substances that functional medicine practitioners use for CAID symptoms. They believe that if taken daily, these nutrients will reduce
(Functional medicine advocates refer to this as the 4 Rs.) 1. Remove: Eliminate infections that are found. Stop taking antiinflammatories and drinking excess alcohol. Begin an alle
This initial hit of inflammation would probably lead you to believe that you had come down with a simple cold.