Alternative Medicine is Going Mainstream
Alternative medicine is going mainstream, and top-notch hospitals are embracing various forms of alternative and complementary medicine. According to the American Hospital Association, more than one-third of U.S. hospitals offer at least one type of complementary medicine, which includes acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic, nutrition, massage therapy and herbal medicine. For example, the prestigious Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center offers acupuncture for relief of nausea from surgery or chemotherapy. The growing field is even referred to by a new name — CAM — an acronym for complementary alternative medicine.
Many of the CAM therapies were considered little better than voodoo by doctors until recently when several complementary and alternative therapies were scientifically found to be medically effective and cost effective as well.
In an economy where overall health costs continue to rise even though millions of people are losing their jobs and health insurance, CAM, with its emphasis on leading healthier lives, could help make Americans healthier and reduce the necessity for expensive, traditional medical treatment.
The risks of developing health conditions that drain American pocketbooks, such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and breast cancer, can be dramatically lowered by following a healthy diet and lifestyle changes, such as exercising and quitting smoking.
Recent studies have found that aspects of CAM such as plant-based diets and meditation may halt, and perhaps even reverse, such debilitating ailments as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and other chronic conditions. Genes associated with deadly diseases were “turned off” with alternative therapies while protective genes were “turned on” — all within a matter of months.
Currently, only a few forms of CAM are covered by health insurance. Proponents are urging the new administration to include alternative forms of medicine in new health plans and proposals.
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