News from the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association                                                    Fall 2010

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Teaching Holistic Health

by Christina Chambreau, DVM, CVH

Over a hundred veterinarians and staff attended my talk on integrative medicine for the GBVMA this spring. My purpose in giving the talk was to expose my colleagues to the wide range of healing modalities successfully in use at veterinary practices around the world and often requested by clients. Having spoken at dozens of conventional veterinary conferences around the world over the last 20 years, I know that many veterinarians welcome an introduction to gentle ways of healing to add to their conventional choices. Others are glad to be able to better respond when clients ask about different healing approaches they may be using for their own health.

Attendees stood four deep around the table of books on holistic modalities, ranging from the scientific to purely anecdotal. All but one of the many questions asked during the entire day, privately or in the session, were about how to implement different approaches and where to study them. Several contacted me after the talk for more guidelines to study or to implement in their practices. Many thanked me for an interesting talk.

As over 50% of people use holistic approaches for their own health, we are obligated to explore, research, and decide which ones have merit for animal health, in our opinion. Every nurse at a major Baltimore trauma center is now being trained in Reiki, even though it lacks convincing data on efficacy. Over 60 veterinarians have been in the informal Greater Washington Area Holistic Veterinary Association. They feel that these approaches best alleviate animal suffering and involve the client even more in their animal's health. Over a thousand veterinarians are members of veterinary acupuncture, homeopathic, chiropractic, botanical medicine and holistic associations. Many have studied for hundreds, if not thousands, of hours and used many of these modalities to improve the health of their patients. Many veterinary colleges have Holistic Student Chapters). The Veterinary Technician Program at Essex has been complimented by the AVMA accreditation committee for their one semester integrative approaches class.

These approaches are different enough from what we were taught in school that I would have been disappointed if at least one person had not questioned them. Dr. Shelley Epstein will be addressing the research on homeopathy next year at NAVC, VA VMA and at the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy's annual conference which will be in Washington, DC, in Spring 2011. Proceedings from these will certainly be interesting to anyone wanting to see the research on one of the modalities.

Again, the purpose of the talk was to show a way to evaluate the health of our patients in a deeper way that allows for increased health and longevity and to provide an overview of the wide variety of potentially healing modalities now readily available.

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2010 Maryland Veterinary Medical Association

Annapolis, MD 21403 (410) 931-3332 fax (410) 931-2060