Saturday, June 13, 2009

Folk remedies - hiccups

I've been avoiding this blog for a while due to my hiatus from the professional world, but that will be changing soon ... so I figure I'll try to kick up this blog again.

If any readers out there have medical questions, or questions about being a doctor, or questions about the process of becoming a doctor (with respect to the educational pathway and training itself, or the mindset changes associated) - lemme know, I'll give 'em a shot and/or try to direct ya somewhere helpful.

In the meantime, back to work!

My training (to date) has been along the traditional path for "western" medicine. After the usual pre-med curriculum in college, I went to an accredited medical school, got my Doctorate of Medicine (M.D.), and then began residency. When being compared to the primary alternate system of medical education in this country, which results in a D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine), the traditional route is referred to as allopathic.

Allopathic medicine has the connotation of being a more scientific approach and trusting of proven medicines and surgeries. Osteopathic medicine is known for taking a more holistic approach to illness, embracing alternate therapies, and emphasizing body mechanics and the musculoskeletal system in health and disease. Homeopathic medicine is yet another form of alternate treatment, which involves administering infinitely-dilute medicines to treat various symptoms.

With little exposure to folk remedies and some of these other treatment regimens, my faith tends to lie with allopathic medicine. That does not mean that I discount alternative treatment modalities, however. And with respect to "mind-body medicine" - whether one considers it the placebo effect or something "more real," the power of the mind is clearly important in healing.

When it comes to "proven" treatments, however, it doesn't matter to me what the original source is. Did you know aspirin was developed from a bark that was chewed to relieve headache? Penicillin was found from mold on bread. And there are countless others. If something works (and, importantly, if it does no further harm) - why not embrace it?

This holds true especially for the really tough problems that traditional medicine does not have a good solution for yet. Like hiccups.

Everyone has their own favorite folk remedy for hiccups... but do any of them really work? Hold your breath, drink a glass of water, get surprised, stand on your head - nothing seems to work consistently. Traditional medicine doesn't have much to offer besides muscle relaxers and tranquilizers - heavy hitters for a small (but annoying) problem.

My wife introduced me to a new one that she learned from a friend - and so far it is 2 for 2 for my own hiccups:
Place some sugar on your tongue and let it dissolve - do not chew or swallow it. Not quite sure why it works, but I'll keep using that while it does!

Let me know about your experiences!

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