A look at alternative medicine options available in Southeast Missouri

Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Sheila LaPlante, owner of the Acupuncture and Herb Clinic, 618 Bellevue St., Thursday, Jan. 17, in one of the clinic's treatment rooms. (ADAM VOGLER)

Chiropractics

The goal of chiropractic care is to eliminate pain, prevent future issues and increase individuals' livelihood, says Dr. Greg Pursley, who started Pursley Chiropractic in 2007. Since then, the practice has added Dr. Seth Hudson and switched its name to PC Wellness Centers to match the broadened mission of the practice. Today, Pursley says the main concerns of his patients include headaches, neck pain, low back pain, shoulder pain, low back pain in pregnancy, sciatica, extremity pain and car accident injuries. Massage therapy -- another fast-growing area of alternative medicine -- has also seen significant growth at PC Wellness, says Pursley.

"Chiropractic care and medical care have not always been thought of as going together. However, over the past 20 years chiropractors and medical professionals have worked together more than ever," says Pursley. In fact, PC Wellness Centers has referral relationships with more than 20 medical professionals in the area, says Pursley, including medical doctors, neurosurgeons, neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, pediatricians and doctors of osteopathy.

"Currently there are hospitals with chiropractors on staff in Missouri," Pursley adds. "Chiropractic (care) has been growing and will continue to grow through education of the community and treatment options with proven results. In the future it will not be uncommon to see chiropractors in hospitals and accepted by the mainstream medical community."

Acupuncture

As an acupuncturist and herb specialist, Sheila LaPlante says she treats people who have pursued Western medicine as far as they can. "If they're not getting good results and doctors have told them that's all they can do for them or they don't know what to do for them, then my main goal is to treat those people," says LaPlante, certifed in traditional Chinese medicine and owner of the Acupuncture and Herb Clinic on Bellevue Street in Cape Girardeau. "It's an emotional-based modality," she adds. "Western medicine doesn't always go deep enough to find the reason for an illness."

LaPlante addresses a long list of health conditions at her practice, including cancer, neuropathy, allergies, skin conditions, migraines, post-stroke conditions, pain of the neck, back, knees and shoulders, digestive problems, infertility, menopause, fibroids and tumors, stress and breathing problems. She even does acupuncture face lifts. She's the only traditional Chinese medical physician in Cape Girardeau, and one of only 98 acupuncturists in Missouri who are certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. There are 21,706 certified acupuncturists in the United States, with the largest number in California (6,000). There are 591 in Illinois, just across the river from Missouri. While the Midwest may be slower to catch on, LaPlante says acupuncture has become more common and popular overall since she began practicing in 1999.

"The field is constantly changing. A large number of huge hospitals are implementing acupuncture into regimens for patients, especially cancer patients and people with chronic pain," says LaPlante.

Massage

Massages have been shown to relieve many symptoms, both mental and physical, and it's being used more often in medical health.

According to Monica McLain, owner and massage therapist at Time Well Spent in Cape Girardeau, massage is a nonverbal form of communication that releases endorphins, improves circulation and boosts lymphatic flow, which is the body's natural defense against toxins. Massages relieve stress, relieve migraine pain, lessen depression and anxiety, increase the cells that fight cancer, promote the healing of injured tissue and the breakup of scar tissue, and increase blood flow to areas of joint replacement, says McLain -- among many other benefits.

McLain uses massage for a wholistic approach to health care, she says, and believes massage and medical care should go hand-in-hand. Hospital massage programs are already common in states including Arizona, New Mexico, California, Utah and Washington, as well as some metro areas, including St. Louis.

"I hope it goes mainstream, with both of us working together. That's my goal. It's about what's best for the client and a preventive approach to well-being," she says.

Aromatherapy and Raindrop Technique

Anthony Stewart, executive director at the Center for Aromatherapy Research and Education in Marble Hill, Mo., says most people in the Midwest have never heard of the Raindrop Technique, but his mission is to make it a household name.

"A lot of people choose it as an alternative to taking drugs and having surgeries," says Stewart. While some people do come to the center for treatment, Stewart says its main focus is on training instructors and facilitators around the world in aromatherapy and the Raindrop Technique. There are currently about 75 certified instructors and hundreds of facilitators, he says.

The treatment involves applying essential oils to the back and feet to resolve a variety of health problems, from back pain, cancer and scoliosis to the flu and common cold.

"The theory is that viruses hibernate in the spinal cord. Frequent raindrop therapy can kill those viruses so they don't pop up later," says Stewart. "It's good for all around health because the spinal cord connects with every other part of the body."

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