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Wellness in its many forms springs in the heart of the city.

by Adrienne Dy, M.D.


When modernity brought its slew of afflictions, toxic environments and a major paradigm shift in health, it also began emphasizing treatment instead of prevention. Conventional thinking has identified the “best doctors” as the ones who see and treat the most number of sick patients. But while the waiting lines for these physicians remain long, many are also turning back to the original concept of health—not the absence of disease, but the presence of wellness. One very visible trend is patients’ search for cures and therapies beyond modern medicine.

Francisco “Kit” Navarro, M.D., a physician who practices as a medical acupuncturist, observes that his colleagues have undertaken a similar journey. “Even doctors are experiencing a shift in mentality to maintaining health, and not just curing [diseases],” he says.

This holistic approach to wellness is also spreading beyond the walls of the hospital to service patients in malls and independent clinics. HealthToday explores some of these different settings.

Hospital: Best of both worlds

With its powerhouse of medical experts and state-of-the-art equipment, St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC) has long prided itself in unparalleled health care. Now it goes where few local hospitals have dared, by offering both conventional and complementary medicine.

Inside SLMC’s massive monument to healthcare at Global City, the Complementary Medicine Service (CMS) is a sanctuary of soothing music, muted lighting and warm oriental furnishings. Spearheaded by Joven Cuanang, M.D., chief medical officer of SLMC Global City, the CMS is envisioned to integrate proven traditional medical therapies into the modern and highly technological hospital system of St. Luke’s.

“[The hospital management] recognizes the trends and sees the demand–the patient population is looking for [holistic medicine],” says Dr. Navarro, who heads the St. Luke’s CMS. “As much as we love technology, we can’t discount the fact that … our culture has given us so much in terms of medical traditions.”

In keeping with SLMC’s standards, the CMS only employs globally accepted, scientifically proven and medically supervised therapies. Services include acupuncture, yoga and massage or myotherapy for two levels of treatment: preventive medicine for healthy individuals seeking wellness, and therapeutic medicine for sick patients looking to supplement their medical management.

The team of experts behind CMS is highly trained to provide both. Acupuncture by internationally-trained medical acupuncturists Dr. Navarro and John Aniban, M.D. is a powerful form of pain management especially among cancer patients. Accredited yoga instructor Avril Rodriguez espouses yoga as therapy for medical and psychological conditions, with workshops for conditions like low back pain, asthma and carpal tunnel syndrome. Certified massage therapist Jose Miguel del Prado uses touch therapy for ailing muscles, tendons and ligaments, as well as reflexology for pain relief.

The CMS plans to add Pilates, hydromassage, Qi Gong and Tai Chi to its services. “We’re not reinventing the wheel; we’re merely repackaging it. [Complementary and conventional medicine] work well together,” says Rodriguez.

To discover the other medical centers in the city resorting to alternative treatment, check out HealthToday November issue now available in the newsstands.


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