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Vital Signs

Spring 2006

East-West Medicine Offers Alternatives

For numerous patients who complain of symptoms ranging from chronic pain and fatigue to anxiety, insomnia and gastrointestinal disorders, conventional Western medicine is often unable to make a definitive diagnosis or offer an effective plan for treatment.

"In some cases, these individuals are told nothing is seriously wrong, and yet they're still not feeling healthy," says Ka-Kit Hui, M.D., director of the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine. "From our point of view, these represent early signals of system breakdown-a body that, for one reason or another, is unable to handle the stress. This is a time when these patients can be helped to return to a high level of functioning and prevent further decline."

Patients include individuals at this early stage of system breakdown as well as those who have failed to find relief from their ailments despite having seen an array of specialists. The center's health model combines aspects of Chinese medicine with the traditional Western approach. While the latter tends to focus on finding and treating specific diseases, Eastern medicine stresses ways of cultivating health and strengthening the body's natural defenses through diet, exercise, meditation and massage. The center's strategies range from medication adjustments and lifestyle recommendations to trigger-point injections, acupuncture, acupressure, dietary/herbal consultation, qi-gong and tai-chi exercises, and, most important, patient education.

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