by Matt Tomasino
Westchester is full of alternative therapy options that parallel some of the world’s renowned modalities across the globe. Local practitioners work amongst Westchester residents who may be unaware of the talents that surround them, however each year those that search for alternative remedies dramatically increases. According to a 2011 report by The World Health Organization (WHO), 42% of Americans have used one form or another of traditional medicines under the titles, “complimentary, alternative or non-conventional”. Although, conventional medicine has advanced in leaps and bounds with its ability to repair many diseases and conditions, interestingly it is the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) that concentrates on the root cause as opposed to a surface fix.
Below are a few unique alternative therapy options along with some Westchester practitioners that offer their expertise in each genre.
Believed to be derived from the infamous ying-yang symbol, Tai’-chi chu’an is sometimes referred to as ‘supreme ultimate fist’ with earlier descriptions being ‘soft’ or ‘touch boxing’. In its meditative form it entails slow, martial arts movements that look more like a calm, calculated dance which can suddenly burst into a series of swift, thrusting, violent strokes when needed. It brings the mind and body together balancing your qi (chee –life energy) with the potential to relieve or prevent conditions such as arthritis, depression, high blood pressure and more. Robert Chuckrow of Tai Chi Arts and Sciences (7 Highland Avenue, Ossining) describes his practice, “Whereas the self-defense aspect is occasionally mentioned, the main emphasis of the class is on health and self-development.” Other Westchester t’ai-chi classes include: Qigong Westchester (11 Olympic Lane, Ardsley), Mohegan T’ai Chi (1950 E Main St #204 Lake Mohegan) and T’ai Chi School of Westchester (101 Pondfield Rd., Bronxville)
Homeopathy is a two-hundred plus year old practice that uses the theory of ‘like cures like’. This means that if you have a particular ailment, a homeopath would choose a remedy derived from natural sources that mimic your symptoms.
The remedy is highly diluted and prepared in a way that it only draws the essence of the source without posing any danger to the patient. For instance, if you contract poison ivy you might be given the homeopathic remedy called rhus toxicodendron which is a highly diluted version of poison ivy. There are many skeptics when it comes to homeopathy but many still believe and swear by its healing capabilities. Elizabeth B., a local mother of three comments on using Susan Saltzman, a Westchester homeopath and MD, located in Hartsdale, NY, “…she [Dr. Saltzman] has treated our entire family for everything from ear infections, gastrointestinal issues, and yes, even asthma; all without the need for antibiotic and prescription medications.” Other Westchester homeopaths include Dr. Lisanti of Integrative Med Solutions (281 White Plains Rd, Eastchester) and the Westchester Center for Natural Health 426 Bedford Rd., Pleasantville).
Compared to pre-industrialization, the amount of toxins that bombard our systems everyday is astronomical. Heavy metals alone such as mercury, cadmium, lead and aluminum are believed by some to be the cause of many health struggles including multiple sclerosis, autism and various mental diseases. Environmental medicine is the study and treatment of these toxins through specific therapies such as detoxification, herbal binding formulas and chelation therapy/EDTA. These and other modalities rid the body of free roaming compounds that would otherwise attach themselves to cells, arterial walls and gastrointestinal mechanisms. In fact, compounds of cilantro, chlorella and/or garlic are being used as highly effective remedies for extracting metal toxicities. In Westchester, the Blum MD Center for Health (34 Rye Ridge Plaza, Rye Brook) and Integrative Med Solutions (281 White Plains Rd, Eastchester) are the two local leaders in this field.
These unique alternative therapy options in Westchester are a small example of how close natural healing can be to you. By incorporating more popular CAM choices such as acupuncture, massage therapy and naturopathic medicine with those mentioned here, you may not only gain insight but you may possibly embrace a chance at continuing or improving a higher quality of living.