An overview of alternative treatmentsMillions of Americans have reached out to practitioners of “alternative” methods of achieving health and wellness. According to the National Science Foundation, “alternative medicine” generally refers to treatments that have not been proven effective using scientific methods.
By: Pamela Knudson, Grand Forks Herald
Millions of Americans have reached out to practitioners of “alternative” methods of achieving health and wellness.
According to the National Science Foundation, “alternative medicine” generally refers to treatments that have not been proven effective using scientific methods.
Therapies include acupressure, acupuncture, energy healing, reflexology, cyrotherapy, aromatherapy, massage therapy, herbal supplements, folk remedies and many others.
These therapies typically fall under the umbrella of “complementary and alternative medicine,” or CAM.
Prayer, for the sake of improving health, is considered to be a form of CAM.
The National Center for Health Statistics and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, in a 2002 study of adults 18 and older, found that 74.6 percent had used some form of CAM and that 62.1 percent had done so within the preceding 12 months.
When prayer, specifically for health reasons, is excluded, these figures fall to 49.8 percent and 36.0 percent respectively.
Most people used CAM to treat and/or prevent musculoskeletal conditions or other conditions associated with chronic or recurring pain.
JoAnn Dufault of Warren, Minn., who is an energy practitioner of the “healing touch” modality, said attitudes about alternative medicine among members of the medical community are “coming around.”
She and her colleagues in health care are “pretty scientific,” she said. “More research is going on all the time, proving that it works.”
The nurse with 33 years’ experience said, “I was very much in the medical model. I’m not against the medical model at all. I just believe we need to integrate it” with alternative therapies.
She sees that happening more often.
For example, “acupuncture is more in the mainstream than anything in the holistic model. The hard part is getting it mainstreamed.”
When she began exploring alternative medicine in 1996, she said, “I started to think about other ways besides surgery and pills.
“It was my way of evolving.”
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