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Alternative Treatments

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"It is critical that policymakers and public health personnel gain an understanding of the extent to which complementary and alternative health care forms an integral, albeit often marginal or marginalized, part of the public health apparatus at the disposal of any society. CAM may represent a substantial and largely untapped resource base. The World Health Organization estimates that most people in developing nations receive the bulk of their health care from traditional or indigenous health systems.1 In Mozambique, for example, where there is one physician for every 50 000 people, there is a traditional healer for every 200. However, this is not a phenomenon of underdevelopment. Estimates for the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia all hover near the 50% mark as well, and in France, 75% of the population report the use of alternative medicines.

In terms of control over social, scientific, political, and economic discourses, what some scholars call "biomedicine" has held clear ascendancy in the United States for over a century. Indeed, it is biomedicine to which CAM is "complementary" or "alternative"-the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health defines CAM as "those healthcare and medical practices that are not currently an integral part of conventional medicine."3 As with so much of the American cultural scene, however, the health care system in the United States has been and remains a pluralistic, oft tempest-tossed sea teeming with dynamically evolving species of healing systems. We have only recently begun to take account of the contributions of this alternative and complementary sector to public health. In a recent reprise of Kerr White's classic 1961 study of the ecology of medical care, Green and colleagues4 reported in The New England Journal of Medicine that complementary and alternative health care providers now account for 65 visits monthly per 1000 population, the overwhelming majority of which are paid out-of-pocket. This compares with 113 visits per 1000 to see a primary care clinician. The authors' narrow definition excluded other CAM activities such as self-care practices and home remedies.

"The past (and present) insensitivity of public health workers and scientists to complementary, alternative, or indigenous systems of health may, at best, reflect a long history of arrogance, exploitation, and colonialism. At worst, it represents a continuing legacy of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual violence committed in the name of the very public we have sworn to protect. Can one claim that a society is healthy that finds its worldview under automatic assault, and the integrity of its culture called into question? This is not a call for cultural relativism so much as a call for cultural tolerance and humility. We may, indeed, have much to learn from one another. " —What Is the Role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Public Health?

ADDITIONAL ARTICLES:

Document Name & Link to Document

Description

File Size /Type

A New Wimp Factor?

As if nice guys don't have enough problems. They already finish last, as the saying goes, and now researchers say their immune systems leave something to be desired, too. Men with medium or high levels of aggression are better equipped to fight off germs than their mild-mannered counterparts, says a new study

 

Chinese Herbal Cure for Hepatitis-B A randomized control trial led by the University of California, Berkeley, discovered a new Chinese-herbal treatment for chronic hepatitis B. Researchers analyzed 27 clinical trials in which chronic hepatitis B patients using Chinese herbal medicine alone or with interferon alfa, were compared with a control group of patients that were taking only interferon alfa. The results found were very encouraging from the patients who used a combination of Chinese herbal treatments with interferon alfa.  

Chinese Herbal Medicine and Interferon in the Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis B: A meta-analysis randomized, controlled Trials

Traditional Chinese medicine is an established segment of the health care delivery system in China

215 kb pdf

Chinese Herbal Medicine and Interferon in the Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis B: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized, Controlled Trials

Chinese herbal medicine significantly increased seroreversion of HBsAg and was equivalent to interferon alfa in seroreversion of HBeAg and hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA; Chinese herbal medicine combined with interferon alfa significantly increased seroreversion of HBsAg, HBeAg, and HBV DNA. The Chinese herbal medicine active component bufotoxin combined with interferon alfa significantly increased HBeAg and HBV DNA seroreversion. The Chinese herbal medicine active component kurorinone was equivalent to interferon alfa in seroreversion of HBeAg and HBV DNA.

 

Do I Have to Feel Guilty When I Feel Okay?

When we ache, oh, how we ache! But when we feel half-decent, then what? Do we sit at home and dread the moment in which the pain returns? Or do we run out and catch up on a bit of life and have some fun while the going is good?

 

Do You Think It's Related?

Doctors are discovering what many hepatitis patients have known all along: Not all symptoms of hepatitis C come from your liver.

 

Fido to the Rescue

Alternative treatment for the side effects of hepatitis and interferon therapy has just gone to the dogs ... and cats.

 

Friends as Family?

I'm an HIV+ female in my mid-thirties, single and having trouble with my friendships, or rather my group of friends. It's been two years since I found out I was HIV-positive, and at first my friends were supportive and caring. However, now they don't live up to my expectations. I guess I have developed a higher standard of what friendship should be since my HIV diagnosis. Thus far I've been fighting with the same friends that I had been attempting to create a "family" with.

 

Get a Better Mirror: Overcoming Negative Thoughts

Remember those circus fun houses with the monsters and the distorting mirrors? Those mirrors twisted our view of anything we put in front of them. They made us look tall or short or fat or thin, and it was fun because we knew it was a trick.

 

Healthcare utilization At the End of Life

Care at the end of life, consuming more than 10% of national healthcare expenditures, often brings a marked increase in health resource utilization from treatment choices made by both patients and physicians.

 

Here kitty kitty: Why pets are good for you

What is this strong bond that so many people feel for their pets—a passion even? Animal lovers say that everyone gets sick and tired of you at some point or another, but pets give you absolute, unconditional love.

 

HIV study looks to traditional medicine

The objective of the project is to identify safe and effective therapies in the fight against the disease, looking specifically at indigenous plants used in traditional South African medicine.

 

Instant Relaxers-stress relief

WE'VE ALL BEEN in situations when we needed on-the-spot stress relief. Experts have discovered fast and easy things you can do to relieve tension any time and anywhere. Reducing stress as soon as it strikes, is important because stress is unavoidable in everyday life.

 

Is Herbal Treatment Right for you

Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM), including botanicals or herbs, have been used throughout the ages and it is estimated today that eighty percent of the world’s population continues to use herbs—leaves, roots, berries and extracts—as their main source of medicine.

 

Diversity, the individual, and proof of efficacy: complementary and Alternative Medicine in Medical Education

Patients will always have access to a variety of possibly effective, but unproved, therapies directed at maintaining health or treating illness

82 kb pdf

Preventing Depression

Nearly ten percent of the U.S. population, or about 19 million American adults, suffer from depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). A bout of major depression can last several weeks to several years, and have devastating impact on one’s health and personal life.

 

Six Stress-Reducing Principles for People With Chronic Conditions

Stress-Reducing Principles

 

Stress puts a strain on the body's immune system

The body's immune system is a true fighter -- protecting people from disease by keeping viruses and bacteria from taking over and ruining our health. But one thing the immune system can't always fight is stress. Studies have shown that a stress-ridden immune system operates on a weakened level, making the body more vulnerable to cold viruses and other diseases

 

Stress--Are you the victim

Stress, a natural physical and emotional response to events or thoughts that might effect our well-being, has been consistently linked to illness and exacerbation of illness in numerous studies.

 

Use of Alternative Health Care Practices by persons with Serious Mental Illness: Perceived Benefits

Perceived benefit has been identified as an important factor influencing the decision to use alternative medicine for various health problems.

72 kb pdf

What Is the Role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Public Health?

Although long an integral part of the health systems of societies all around the globe, the relationship between public health and traditional or indigenous health practices has not often been a congenial or collegial one. Yet the question of the proper role of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the health of the public remains perhaps the most important one to be asked by readers of the Journal, both supporters and detractors of approaches that are beyond the pale of conventional biomedicine. It is a question with a complex set of answers.

  pdf

 

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