This article first appeared in The Sept. 2004 issue
of The ZoneNet newsletter
No matter how fast we run, many of us are haunted by the urge to look back. Perhaps it is to see if anybody is following or to congratulate ourselves on how far we have come. Or maybe it is to see what we have left behind. As fast as Western medicine is moving, many people are looking to the Far East for answers. We just jump into the old medicinal time machine and travel back in time as far as ten thousand years to rediscover holistic alternatives to our modern health problems From the herbal remedies of ancient India to Chinese medicine,
this rejuvenation is turning us back into students of our bodies. This is called complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM for short.
It has been estimated that about 50% of the people in the United States have tried some sort of alternative medicine. The list of what is considered CAM is constantly in flux, as some therapies prove themselves safe and effective and become adopted into the family of conventional medical practices.
People sometimes use the terms complementary medicine and alternative medicines interchangeably, which is not correct. Modern medicine is usually used in conjunction with conventional medicine, although it could also be used by itself. It is primarily about helping the body heal itself using natural means such as magnets, herbs, acupuncture, essential oils, nutrition and so forth. Alternative medicine goes against the usual format of modern medicine and is used in place of more conventional practices.
There is a specific duality in the field of medicine between "normal medicine" and "irregular medicine." Many of us might agree that this duality does not have to exist, and yet it does. As much as the exploration of Western medicine continues to thrive, CAM is also blooming out into our mass consciousness. The American people spent about forty-five billion on CAM in 1997 alone. Obviously, people are finally beginning to seek out alternative ways of maintaining a state of wellness. According to a survey
conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, thirty-six percent of adults are using some type of CAM.
When antioxidant megavitamin therapy and prayer specifically for health reasons are featured in the definition of CAM, that number rises to sixty-two percent. CAM use has spread throughout all demographics but certain people are more likely to use CAM than others. Females, for instance, use CAM to a much larger degree than males. In addition, persons with higher levels of education, people who have been hospitalized in the past year and former smokers are more likely to use CAM. People use CAM for a broad range of health conditions. According to research studies, Americans are most likely to use CAM for neck, head, back or joint pains.
They often use them for colds, anxiety, depression or sleeping problems.
There are several reasons why people decide to turn to CAM.
The majority of Americans use CAM with the belief that it will improve their health when used in tandem with modern medical treatments. Some individuals try CAM after modern medical treatments have failed them. And of course some people simply cannot afford modern medical treatments and turn to CAM as a more realistic solution.
Ryan Joseph is a writer/researcher. For additional information visit http://www.anti-aging-vitamins.com/