Friday, August 10, 2007

What's In A Name?

There has been some debate lately on the name "alternative medicine." Much of the head-butting between Western and Eastern styles of practiced had diminished as more and more primary health care providers are suggesting massage, yoga, and acupuncture. "Complementary medicine" has been the preferred term over the past few years, however that does not tell the entire story either. The new title seems to be "integrated medicine" which doesn't make any one therapy primary and allows for a broad range of therapies to be considered legitimate. Guess I am going to have to change the wording in my website!

Integrating alternatives into Western medicine

August 10, 2007

Alternative medicine isn’t really “alternative” any more — in fact, the medical community isn’t even using that term.

Now it’s “integrated” medicine, and after years of being considered a fringe practice, treatments such as massage and acupuncture have found their way into mainstream medicine.

So why the name change?

“Years ago it was called alternative because it was Eastern vs. Western medicine and they knocked against each other often,” said Theresa O’Toole, associate administrator of rehabilitative services at Memorial Health System. “They use integrated because it’s part of the total treatment, not an alternative, but in tandem with other, more Western treatments.”

More than 60 percent of adults say they’ve tried some kind of integrated medicine, according to studies. And the number reaches 70 percent when surveying people who are 60 and older.

What is integrated medicine? According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, one of the National Institutes of Health sites, it’s everything from acupuncture to vitamin regimens to prayer.

The center released a study in 2004 that showed that as many as 62 percent of U.S. residents have used some sort of integrated medical treatment — with most saying that they include megavitamin therapy and prayer as part of their health programs.


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