Holistic Help for Rare Diseases? Our Expert Weighs In on the Possibilities

April 15, 2013

“A strong word of caution,” says holistic health expert, Genie James M.M.Sc. “The ‘fear factor’ in parents of children with a rare disease will be in overdrive, making them an easy target for medical charlatans, preying on hopes and wallets.”

Which makes sense because if you have ever met a parent of a child with a rare disease you’d know that they’d move mountains to bring their child even one small moment of relief. This is why holistic health practices that focus on treatments like acupuncture, craniosacaral therapy, elimination diets and spirituality are a trend that have been rapidly expanding over the last ten years.

“All diseases and health concerns should be approached holistically. People are not simply physical robotic organisms, so a mind, body and spiritual approach, embracing the whole person has been clinically proven to be of benefit in almost all situations,” continues James, who currently serves as the CEO of Randolph Medical Enterprises and the owner of The Natural Medicine Pharmacy.

With surveys indicating nearly 90 percent of patients with serious illness will engage in prayer for alleviation of suffering or to advance healing, prayer has become the single-most widely practiced healing modality and the second most common method of pain management.

Beyond prayer, many patients turn to their food intake to find ways to supplement treatments.

“Food—healthy food—is medicine,” says James. “For children especially, a medical professional knowledgeable in elimination diets can be particularly helpful in identifying specific intolerances that may be adding to disease or contributing to behavioral responses.”

With many rare disease patients suffering from celiac-related gluten intolerance, it’s no surprise that studies are finding that as many as one in every 141 Americans is highly reactive to the stuff.

“Healing” Hospitals Integrate Alternative Medicine

While IVs and heart monitors might be standard procedure at most hospitals, some unique healthcare facilities are integrating alternative medicine into their patient’s daily work-ups. Spirituality, of course, has always been present at many religion-based hospital, but now other mind-body tactics are being explored.

“I have long been a proponent of alternative/complimentary therapies available in a hospital setting, and there are many models of these “healing hospitals” existing in our country today.”

One need only to look as far as mainstream hospital, University of FL Shands to see a program where acupuncture and an integrative medicine counsel are being used to investigate the effectiveness of body work and energy therapies.

James’ last piece of advice for patients? “Do your homework.”

“Carefully vet the training and reputation of any alternative practitioner and also, when possible, create a team of health and medical professionals open to working an approach to integrative care and treatment. Ask to talk to patients or be connected to a patient advisory board for guidance.”

About Genie James M.M.Sc.

Genie is the author of two books, Making Managed Care Work and Winning In The Women’s Health-Care Marketplace. She is also the co-author of From Hormone Hell To Hormone Well with C.W. Randolph, Jr., M.D., R. Ph. Together, Ms. James and Dr. Randolph have been featured guests on national radio and television programs. She currently serves as the CEO to Dr. Randolph’s Ageless and Wellness. Read more about Genie James on her website:

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