Saturday, August 19, 2006

YOUR HEALTH - Seeking alternatives

By K. Oanh Ha
San Jose Mercury News
An increasing number of American women are turning to alternative, Eastern medicinal arts to solve problems with infertility, menopause, weight loss and even dry skin.
Acupuncture treatments are now recommended by some in-vitro specialists as a way to increase fertility. Women also are turning to ayurveda -- a 5,000-year-old practice from India that incorporates mind, body and spirit -- to ensure health, rid the body of toxins and help with dull skin.
Robin Hays used acupuncture for a sprained ankle two decades ago and was so delighted with the results that she pursued it as a profession. She graduated from San Francisco's American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 1985.
Back then, it was mostly Chinese and older hippies who turned to acupuncture, Hays says. Now insurance often covers treatments.
At Hays' practice, about half of the patients see her for women's health issues, including premenstrual syndrome, irregular menstrual cycles and menopause. She also treats many patients for pain disorders and allergies.
Meanwhile, ayurvedic spas are increasing. A survey of spas offering "wellness treatments" in 2004 found that 12 percent added ayurvedic services while an additional 7 percent planned to, according to the International Spa Association.

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