Complementary and Alternative Medicine
"Appropriate Medicine is anything that's evidence-based and works.
Jeff Goldsmith, Health Care Futurist
Whether it's from a shaman in Tibet or a research lab,
if it works, we should do it …… in large parts of the country
allopathic medicine is alternative medicine."
The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO), published a report called The Legitimacy of Energy Medicine. The report estimated that approximately 70% of the
world's population relies on traditional "ethno" medical systems of healing [x]. In the introduction it noted the following:
It also reveals that,
"In the United States, such traditional methods are commonly referred to as "alternative health care," or "holistic healing." In light of recent trends reconciling traditional practices with orthodox allopathic medicine, this has become known as "collaborative" health care, and includes many new technologies such as biofeedback, electrostimulators, and various electromagnetic devices."
"These modern trends have made traditional medicine an enormous worldwide industry, providing infinite commercial and investment possibilities, and opportunities for orthodox allopathic medical doctors to considerably increase their patient clientele by expanding their practices."
We can conclude that The World Health Organisation think that the modern trend away from traditional medicine, represents a new business opportunity for "The Medical Establishment". The following article outlines the major trends in alternative healthcare and provides the reasons why The Medical Establishment, who consider themselves the 'health guardians' of society, are finding themselves increasingly marginalised.
Since the 1990s there has been a remarkable shift away from conventional allopathic treatments to a more holistic approach in the western world. This trend reflects a changes in our thinking and hence our consciousness, which is no longer prepared to be passive about our health and wellbeing. The general populace is taking steps to look and feel good and are no longer just satisfied with material possessions, which indeed is a movement towards higher consciousness. We do care more about our environment and the source of our water and food. Yet, it could be said that some of this interest has been brought about due to record breaking numbers of people reacting to the vast number of chemicals and pollutants that are now deemed part of modern life. Maybe out of a sense of self-preservation we as a collective have decided to survive by following a more natural path. Whatever, there has been change in consciousness, people are trying out a vast selection of what is now being called 'Complementary and Alternative Medicine'. This in part has been helped by the general level of interest and education of how the body works and what makes it function better. We have also taken more notice of how others in so-called 'less developed' cultures deal with illness and live more harmoniously with their environment, creating more peaceful lives. Some societies have no trace of some of the diseases that are major killers in the western world like cancer and heart disease. We wonder why in our so-called 'advanced' society, primitive societies continue to flourish with very little formalised healthcare provision.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), is now a significant trend in North America, and advocates of allopathic medicine are beginning to seriously consider joining forces or even staging a take-over! In the Annuals of Internal Medicine, a January 2005 editorial was titled, 'Mainstream and Alternative Medicine: Converging Paths Require Common Standards'. Consequently, the following statement, was picked up and quoted in the Wall Street Journal, 
'Ignoring complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is not an option. The widespread use of CAM by patients is a mandate to the scientific community to improve our relatively weak scientific understanding of CAM practices. Moreover, health professionals have a duty to their patients to bring these two worlds of contemporary medical practice closer together. The path to this outcome begins with adopting the same standards of evidence.'
This represents a significant shift in attitude. For decades the medical world strongly opposed CAM, but with such a high percentage of patients voting with their feet and their pockets and going elsewhere, the medical establishment is now starting to peer over the fence and view CAM seriously. In 1998, the estimates were of $30 - $40 billion dollars were being spent annually. It has even got to the point where some policy makers are starting to complain that doctors are in danger of appearing ignorant!
"To ignore the existence of CAM and omit it entirely from medical school curricula, as Dr. Neff suggests, would be to ignore medical practices and therapies used by more than half of the U.S. population"
Even though many medical schools do provide some education in CAM this not seen as sufficient to adequately cater for public needs. As further evidence of a change of stance in the medical world, in January 2005, Quackwatch.org were infuriated when The Institute of Medicine (IOM, which published a 350-page report. Quackwatch complained that the report was assembled by a committee dominated by advocates of "complementary and alternative medicine." Now, it looks like even Quackwatch are getting marginalised!
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a component of the National Institutes of Health issued a press report in May 2004, about a new nationwide government survey released the same month. It stated,
"More Than One-Third of U.S. Adults Use Complementary and Alternative Medicine, According to New Government Survey"
"According to a new nationwide government survey, 36 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 years and over use some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). CAM is defined as a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. When prayer specifically for health reasons is included in the definition of CAM, the number of U.S. adults using some form of CAM in the past year rises to 62 percent." 
There were a few surprises mentioned in the press release;
"Interestingly, the survey also found that about 28 percent of adults used CAM because they believed conventional medical treatments would not help them with their health problem; this is in contrast to previous findings that CAM users are not, in general, dissatisfied with conventional medicine."
The actual government report covered twenty pages and revealed some very surprising facts and statistics: 
"Persons with higher educational attainment were more likely than persons with lower attainment levels to use CAM."
"Adult CAM users were most likely to utilize CAM because they believed that CAM combined with conventional medical treatments would help (54.9%)."
"About one-half of adult CAM users initially utilized CAM because they thought it would be interesting to try (50.1%)."
"Twenty-six percent of adult CAM users utilized it because a conventional medical professional suggested they try it."
"Thirteen percent of adult CAM users used CAM because they felt that conventional medicine was too expensive."
This report reveals that the Intelligentsia are making new choices! Yet, the statistics also shows that people understand that their medical problem may require a more holistic approach. Interestingly, doctors in this 2004 survey even encouraged their patients to try CAM! This was a remarkable finding because in an older 2001 report, patients still preferred to keep their doctors in the dark about their CAM use!
"Among the 831 respondents who in the past year had used a CAM therapy and seen a medical doctor, 63% to 72% did not disclose at least one type of CAM therapy to the medical doctor. Among 507 respondents who reported their reasons for nondisclosure of use of 726 alternative therapies, common reasons for nondisclosure were "It wasn't important for the doctor to know" (61%), "The doctor never asked" (60%), "It was none of the doctor's business" (31%), and "The doctor would not understand" (20%). Fewer respondents (14%) thought their doctor would disapprove of or discourage CAM use, and 2% thought their doctor might not continue as their provider." 
In 2001, Harvard Medical School and Center for Alternative Medicine Research and Education, wrote a report called 'Long-term trends in the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medical Therapies in the United States'. The report states,
"Use of CAM therapies by a large proportion of the study sample is the result of a secular trend that began at least a half century ago. This trend suggests a continuing demand for CAM therapies that will affect health care delivery for the foreseeable future."
A previous report called 'Trends in Alternative Medicine Use in the United States, 1990-1997' noted the acceleration of this trend, which coincides nicely with the downpour of spiritual energy which hit the planet in 1989 and the apparent consequential liberation of consciousness.
"Alternative medicine use and expenditures increased substantially between 1990 and 1997, attributable primarily to an increase in the proportion of the population seeking alternative therapies, rather than increased visits per patient."
"Total visits to alternative medicine practitioners increased by almost 50 percent from 1990, and exceeded visits to all U.S. primary care physicians."
In a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Alternative medicine, is defined as,
In a 2003 report, three respected 'Health Care Futurists' were rather more blunt about the situation and gave a rather pragmatic view;
"interventions that are neither widely taught in medical schools nor generally available in U.S. hospitals, includes relaxation techniques, herbal medicine, massage, chiropractic, spiritual healing by others, homeopathy, hypnosis, biofeedback, and acupuncture."
Maybe these Health Care Futurists have revealed the reason why the medical world are so worried -- they have a serious problem with decreasing market share! This same journal also did a survey on doctors' ethical behavior, which was not edifying either! This all adds fuel to the fire that these issues need to be addressed. 
"Appropriate Medicine is anything that's evidence-based and works. Whether it's from a shaman in Tibet or a research lab, if it works, we should do it …… in large parts of the country allopathic medicine is alternative medicine."
The World Health Organization (WHO) have decided to intervene and in June 2004 they released "a new set of guidelines for national health authorities to develop context specific and reliable information for consumer use of alternative therapies. "... It was reported that, "WHO supports traditional and alternative medicines when these have demonstrated benefits for the patient and minimal risks," said Dr. Lee Jong-wook, Director-General of WHO. "But as more people use these medicines, governments should have the tools to ensure all stakeholders have the best information about their benefits and their risks." 
These CAM trends also mirror the 'New Age' interest and figures published in the latest issue of Cultural Trends, by the Policy Studies Institute. It examines publishing and bookselling, the arts, trade and books and art on the internet. It states, "From being almost level in 1993, books on religion, 'New Age' and the occult are now more than twice as popular as books on mathematics, physics and chemistry". Since then, the number of books published about chemistry and physics fell by 27 per cent and titles on mathematics dropped by 4 per cent. By contrast, religious titles grew by 83 per cent over the same period and those on 'New Age' issues and the occult increased by 75 per cent.' 
The Rise of Natural Remedies
In hospitals worldwide, there is a growing problem of 'Superbugs' that cause deadly infections. Yet, it appears, the solution is straight out of the "New Age" A - Z of natural medicine! It was reported by the BBC that a team, of researchers in the UK had found that aromatherapy oils kills superbugs. Researcher Dr Peter Warn, who carried out the research, said: "When I tested the oils in the lab, absolutely nothing grew. Rather than stimulating bacteria and fungi, the oils killed them off." Jacqui Stringer, clinical leader of complementary therapies at Christie Cancer Hospital in Manchester, instigated the oils research, to ensure that soaps and shampoos could used on patients with weakened immune systems. She said: "Our research shows a very practical application which could be of enormous benefit to the NHS and its patients." Again Dr Warn said: "We believe that our discovery could revolutionise the fight to combat MRSA and other superbugs." Aromatherapy is a very old science, albeit just being discovered by the modern medical community.
This is not a major trend yet, but it could happen! There are signs that people want more choices in healthcare and are now supporting research in what is still considered alternative medicine. An interesting example is Professor Dr Reijo Makela who has developed a system of treatment with electro-laser acupuncture. This technique alters the body energy levels in such a way that chemical changes are induced to rebalance disorders. Dr. Makela's work involves treatment of cancer, diabetes and other conditions, which were once thought incurable. As well as lecturing and training throughout Asia and Europe he has treated over 12,000 patients in 12 years in his clinics in Spain and Finland. To ensure Dr. Makela's research continues, 600 former patients have taken action and formed a support organization. Now that would make a interesting new type of one-upmanship, if doctors could brag about how many former patients supported their work!
Health care "Free Fighters are ecstatic about the latest humiliation in the courts, faced by Quackwatch.
Quackbuster Citadel Crumbling - Facing Massive Litigation
By Tim Bohlen - Consumer Advocate. 4th January 2007
Susan Joy Rennison, July 2005, updated January 2007
The Legitimacy of Energy Medicine
ITEM's Energy Medicine Information Center.
Bondurant, S, Sox, HC. Mainstream and Alternative Medicine: Converging Paths Require Common Standards. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142:149-150
Petersen, A. Fringe Therapies Need More Study, Advisers Report. The Wall Street Journal. Jan.13, 2005, D2
Bondurant, S, Sox, HC. Editorial Responses Mainstream and Alternative Medicine: Converging Paths Require Common Standards Ann Intern Med 2005; 142: 149-150 http://www.annals.org/cgi/eletters/142/2/149
Complementary and Alternative Medical Education 6 January 2004 | Volume 140 Issue 1 | Pages 68-69
Barrett S, M.D. Institute of Medicine Committee Issues Irresponsible "CAM" Report Quackwatch.org January 2005
Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States (2005)
Board on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Online Book - http://www.nap.edu/books/0309092701/html/
Thursday, May 27, 2004 Contact: NCCAM Press Office, 301-496-7790
CDC/NCHS Public Affairs, 301-458-4800
More Than One-Third of U.S. Adults Use Complementary and Alternative Medicine, According to New Government Survey, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Barnes PM, Powell-Griner E, McFann K,A Nahin RL. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults: United States, 2002, Advanced Data from vital and health Statistics, Number 343 Hyattsville,Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics.2004.
D. M. Eisenberg, R. C. Kessler, M. I. Van Rompay, T. J. Kaptchuk, S. A. Wilkey, S. Appel and R. B. Davis Perceptions about Complementary Therapies Relative to Conventional Therapies among Adults Who Use Both: Results from a National Survey
Annual of Internal Medicine 4 September 2001, Volume 135 Issue 5, Pages 344-351 http://www.annals.org/cgi/content/abstract/135/5/344
Long-term trends in the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medical Therapies in the United States. From Harvard Medical School and Center for Alternative Medicine Research and Education, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.
21 August 2001 | Volume 135 Issue 4 | Pages 262-268
Trends in Alternative Medicine Use in the United States, 1990-1997
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association
Weber, David 25 Health Care Trends What's hot, what's not, and what does the future hold? American College of Physician Excecutives Journal
Weber, David Unethical Business Practices in U.S. Health Care Alarm Physician Leaders The Physician Executive March/April 2005
New WHO guidelines to promote proper use of alternative medicines: Adverse drug reactions to alternative medicines have more than doubled in three years
Press Release New Age brings search for the spiritual Date: 29/10/1998Source: http://www.psi.org.uk/news/pressrelease.asp?news_item_id=38
Aromatherapy oils 'kill superbug' Tuesday, 21 December, 2004 URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4116053.stm
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