Natural Alternative Remedies
This Topic Covers:
Natural Health Remedies; Herbal
and/or Vitamin Therapy to Treat Conditions and Illnesses; Treating Disease
and Conditions with Alternative, Integrative and Holistic Methods; Alternative
Treatment Diagnostic Disease & Symptom Links; What You Can Expect From a
Naturopath; How to Find a Reputable Naturopath; Definitions of Alternative,
Holistic, and Integrative Medicine Treatments; and Premier Alternative-
Integrative - Holistic Centers,
Introduction - The Need
For Integrative Methods
- American Association of Naturopathic
Basic Tenets and Theories of
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care profession,
emphasizing prevention, treatment and optimal health through the use of
therapeutic methods and substances which encourage the person's inherent
self-healing process, the vis medicatrix naturae.
www.bravewell.org - The Bravewell Collaborative
The philosophical foundation for integrative medicine
derives from a multitude of different medical, philosophical and scientific
traditions. For example, the idea that a person should be treated in his or
her wholeness—mind, body and spirit—is a fundamental premise within
integrative medicine that has been informed by the patient-centered care
movement, biopyschosocial medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and the
medicine of the ancient Greeks as well as modern humanistic and
Prevention and wellness, important aspects of integrative medicine, are
grounded in medical science but they also draw from the fields of nutrition,
stress management, physical fitness, and environmental health. This
"gathering" of human wisdom in an effort to care for individuals in the best
way possible is a key factor in why integrative medicine is both effective
and desirable. Each person has a significant, innate capacity for
healing that can be supported and enhanced, and the primary goal of
integrative medicine is to maximize this capacity so that each individual
experiences optimal vitality and wellness.
Researched and written by Brenda Templin
Health Research Report:
physicians and pharmaceutical drugs are, and always will be, necessary for
acute, emergency medical care and trauma, as well as for conditions that cannot
be controlled with lifestyle changes, good nutrition and supplements. But many
conditions can be prevented and controlled with lifestyle changes and
biologically based medicine.
Conventional physicians treat chronic diseases with
expensive pharmaceuticals that may temporarily relieve the painful or
uncomfortable symptoms, but the drugs do nothing to resolve the underlying
cause, and may actually cause other side effects and serious problems.
Because nutrition affects our immune system, organ function, hormonal balance
and cellular metabolism, many of these chronic conditions and diseases can be
traced to a nutrition deficiency. When the deficiency is not corrected, symptoms
begin to appear and eventually lead to disease and premature aging.
Many pharmaceuticals can effectively be replaced with
multivitamin supplements, botanicals, amino acids, prebiotics and probiotics,
fresh foods and functional foods for both prevention and treatment…
So why are physicians slow to
recommend natural alternatives?
Five of the ten leading causes of death in the United
States are directly related to lack of proper nutrition. Yet most physicians
receive very little, if any, formal training in nutrition…
one death was caused by vitamin supplements in 2005
(as reported by the American
Association of Poison Control Centers)
estimated that over 106,000 hospital deaths per year (one every 5 minutes) are
caused by properly prescribed drugs…Journal
of the American Medical Association
www.pbs.org - Frontline reports,
The issue isn't that complementary alternative and
integrative medicine has been disproven, but that very little research in
the last decade has been done to prove or disprove its efficacy or its cost
effectiveness. We have so few studies that have been done to a level of
excellence that they can authoritatively and definitively tell us, this does
work, this doesn't. Read in entirety...
Live Healthy Naturally - Our
Evidence is mounting that alternative medicine can play an
important role in the prevention and treatment of illnesses and conditions,
without the serious and negative side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.
negative alarming statistics regarding pharmaceutical’s adverse side affects,
it is evident that alternative, natural and holistic treatment plans should be
aggressively researched and sought after. Seek a doctor that respects,
practices, and incorporates both methods of practice: conventional,
complementary, natural and alternative, resulting in integrative medicine.
Hence, in doing so you have the best of both worlds, a
doctor that is knowledgeable of conventional practices, but is also
knowledgeable to the power of treating not only the symptoms, but the underlying
cause of a condition and the importance of the mind-body-spirit connection.
Secondly, seek a Naturopath or Holistic just as you would a
specialist in any other healthcare field, to work along with your integrative
If however, you attempt to self diagnose and/or treat
yourself, we provide and direct you to a means to educate yourself as the
researcher – as the patient – as the shopper – within the various topics
made available within this web. If
you are not self administering, you should still be somewhat knowledgeable to
your patient care, and know where you can obtain credible information as a
22 JUNE 2004 | GENEVA -- Since traditional, complementary
and alternative medicines remain largely unregulated,
consumers worldwide need to be informed and given the tools to access
appropriate, safe and effective treatment. To help address this issue, the World Health
Organization (WHO) today releases a new set of guidelines for national
health authorities to develop context specific and reliable information for
consumer use of alternative medicines.
The Internet offers an ideal way to discover the latest in alternative
medicine treatments. Web sites can be updated at any time to keep up with new
products, therapies and advances in the field. But beware —
the Internet is also one of the greatest sources of
misinformation. Carefully investigate
each alternative medicine site you visit.
Medicine and the Need for Spiritual Discernment
Retrieved from -
have found that accurate information about alternative medicine can be
difficult to find, especially for those not familiar with the medical
literature. In our book we provide a summary of the best scientific evidence
available on over one hundred of the most popular remedies and therapies. (2)
We also examine the spiritual benefits and risks from an orthodox Christian
world view. This article will review recent trends in alternative medicine
and summarize the approach we take:
urging careful discernment. Underlying this is our conviction that we
Christians are called to carefully evaluate all claims before we act upon
the Berean Jews when he wrote in Acts 17:11, “Now the Bereans were of more
noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with
great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul
said was true.” Such study led many of these men and women to believe the
Christian message. Such study of alternative medicine’s claims (both
scientific and spiritual) is essential if Christians are to avoid the errors
that exist in the complex world of alternative medicine.
Many people, including physicians, nurses, and other health care
professions, are left confused and frustrated about alternative medicine.
People with health-related questions don’t want theological or political
debates; they want relief. They don’t want conflicting information, they
want trustworthy guidance.
They want to know the right
thing to do. Christians also want to please God in their actions, base their
beliefs on his Word, the Bible, and reflect his character in their decisions
When considering a treatment, we should know why we are
using whatever therapies or remedies we use—or don’t use. We need to know
that a particular remedy is not only effective but reasonably safe.
Scientific studies are not perfect, but they are the best way we have
available to figure out whether something is effective or safe. Others’
experiences and recommendations can be an important part of any evaluation;
but they are not, by themselves, enough to make wise decisions concerning
our stewardship of the temples of the Holy Spirit (our bodies), our
finances, and our time.
When considering alternative medicine,
the spiritual dimensions must also be examined
carefully. The first concern should not be whether something
spiritual “works.” Rather, the first concern should be whether it is true
and brings glory to God. Spiritual practices
that arise from belief systems that ignore or deny the claims of God will
not lead to true health. Strong faith in something false is like a
tower built on sand. Eventually it will crumble.
Therapies and remedies must also be examined from an
investment, or stewardship, perspective. We are all limited in the amount of
time and money available to us. We should not squander our resources.
Christians, especially, are called to be accountable stewards of these
resources. Jesus asked, “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling
worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not
been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of
your own?” (Luke 16:11).
We should investigate the claims made about the
remedies we put into or onto our bodies, the therapies we allow to be
practiced on us, and the practitioners in whom we place our trust. “Do you
not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom
you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a
price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). To do
this, we need to gather information that is medically reliable and
biblically sound, weigh the options, seek sensible counsel, pray diligently,
and then carefully make decisions that are as informed and as wise as
Retrieved from -
The Bible condemns drugs and
says to use herbs as medicine (Opinion)
Christopher Gussa…The Bible condemns the use of
poisons for medicine and labels it as sorcery, and very plainly tells us
that true medicine is leaves. The common name used for medical leaves is
herbs. Ps.104:14 says that He has given us "herbs for the service of man."
Strong's exhaustive concordance of the Bible, which lists every word in the Bible,
lists the word "sorcery" as word #5332 and tells us that it is translated
from the original Greek word "pharmakon." It gives the definition as: a drug
i.e. a spell-giving potion, a druggist or pharmacist, a poisoner.
Almost prophetically, Thomas Jefferson gave us this warning:
"If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they
take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of
those who live under tyranny." Remember, this statement was made about 100
years before there ever even was an FDA!
Do you believe for a minute
that the government's healthcare plan (under any administration) is designed
to help us live longer healthier lives? Do you know how easy it is for
medical universities (funded by pharmaceutical companies) to convince new
doctors that "drugs save lives"? Have you ever wondered what The Bible says
about all this?
pharmacist today has the same Greek title that he had at the time the New
Testament was written 2000 years ago, and he is still doing the same thing:
dealing in poisonous drugs!
The Bible says that "sorcery", or the use of poisonous drugs, has
deceived all nations. "For by thy sorceries (pharmacea) were all nations
deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of
all that were slain upon the earth". (Rev. 18:23,24)
Webster's 2nd Collegiate Dictionary published
in 1980 under the word
"pharmaceutical." The definition reads:
"pharmaceutical" the practice of witchcraft or the use of poison.
very first place the word "medicine"
is used in the Bible is in Proverbs 17:22 and it says, "A merry heart doeth
good, like a medicine." If medicine and drugs are the same thing, this
would, at first glance, seem to reveal a contradiction in the Bible. This
question is answered in the very next text listed in the concordance under
medicine: EZ. 47:12, "The fruit thereof shall be for meat and the leaf
thereof for medicine." The Bible is telling us that medicine is good and it
tells us where to obtain it: from the leaves or what we commonly call "herbs".
Evaluating Some Practices That
May Oppose Christianity
Retrieved from -
Alternative Medicine with Pagan Cultures - The issues that must be
evaluated before trying a specific form of alternative medicine are not just
scientific. Spiritual discernment is also needed. Many alternative therapies
are associated with ancient or traditional cultures which have been viewed
through romantic lenses, their lifestyles seen as healthier than modern,
fast-paced ones. The therapies, especially the herbs, used for centuries in
these cultures would, it is claimed, never have gained acceptance if they
were not effective. Thus, some champions of these traditional products claim
that their therapies were suppressed for years by Western imperialism and
Christian missionary crusades. Only now, they say, are they being
rediscovered and made available in the West.
The link with other cultures raises another concern,
especially for Christians and others who take their faith seriously.
Some alternative therapies are based on practices
and rituals that have long been part of pagan or spiritual traditions and
other religious practices.
Spirituality is an important
concept within much of alternative medicine.
Practitioners can be devout Christians or they can believe in worldviews
that are radically different from a biblically based worldview.
Sometimes the same terms are used, but with meanings that are quite
different. For example, prayer may be recommended by
various therapists, but they may have completely different practices in
mind. A valid concern is that some forms of alternative medicine may be
vehicles for the promotion of religious perspectives that are opposed to
Christianity. A few may actually involve occult practices.
alternative medicine practitioners believe they cannot help their patients
without first introducing them to one or another of the ancient Eastern or
New Age faith systems. This leads to potential conflict for Christians. They
may hear anecdotal stories from friends about shamanism easing arthritis
pain without drugs, Therapeutic Touch increasing the speed of healing after
wounds, or Reiki easing a chronic health condition. The stories are
positive. Nothing is said about the spiritual side of the treatments.
general points can be made here.
One of the
central tenets believed by many in the New Age movement is that all
spirituality is good, that no form is any better than another. (19)
This is in opposition to the Bible’s message that many problems originate,
either directly or indirectly, in the conflict between the spiritual forces
of good and evil.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and
blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers
of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly
“openness” advocated by many in the alternative medicine community could
expose people to practices and spiritual beings whose primary purpose is to
harm people and lead them away from the loving Father of the universe.
Although some question the existence of evil spiritual forces, Jesus spoke
repeatedly about them, and the Bible warns that “your enemy the devil prowls
around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Before trying any therapy, carefully evaluate its spiritual background and
exactly what each part of the practice means for its practitioners.
is Not from God - We believe that
certain alternative therapies have spiritual roots
that make their use inappropriate for Christians and unwise for anyone.
We do not accept the claim that all healing comes from God and is therefore
good. Any type of healing that might occur via these therapies is not worth
the spiritual cost. Therefore, from a biblical perspective, some therapies
are always wrong to pursue, even for “good” reasons.
medicine as a whole is not rooted in any particular religious tradition,
but some therapies are. A number of healing rituals and traditions are part
of the Wiccan religion (also called “white witchcraft”). Eastern religions
often view healing as dependent on the movement of “life energy” through
nonphysical channels that coincide with the physical body. Native-American
religion uses herbs as part of its healing rituals. In a number of nature
religions, shamans contact spirit beings or guides to get advice on how to
treat and heal those under their care.
The current interest in holistic healing includes
concern for spirituality, the meaning of which can be whatever the
individual wants it to mean. What is important, according to this approach,
is that a person be on some spiritual path. Any therapy can be pursued for
its potential healing benefits. All that matters is whether it works. And if
others claim it works, it’s worth a try. This leads to a strong emphasis on
“personal experience” being the deciding factor. As the developer of
Therapeutic Touch stated: “Therapeutic Touch works.… You can do it; everyone
who is willing to undertake the discipline to learn Therapeutic Touch can do
it. You need only try in order to determine the truth of this statement for
yourself. So, I invite you: TRY.” (20)
The problem that Christians should have with this
approach is that the Bible tells us not to engage in certain practices.
Certain forms of healing are always wrong because they are accomplished via
prohibited methods and have been consistently condemned by God in the Bible.
Many of these practices have been incorporated into certain alternative
therapies. The most complete list of prohibitions is found in Deuteronomy
18:9–14, although each practice is prohibited in many other passages (see
also 1 Corinthians 10:18–21). Prohibited are divination, necromancy
(channeling), mediumship, spiritualism, witchcraft, magic, and sorcery.
Divination covers a
variety of practices used to discover information by supernatural means
(Leviticus 19:26; 2 Kings 21:6; Jeremiah 14:14). Also included as
divination would be tarot cards, reading or interpreting omens, crystal
gazing, and any technique which attempts to discern information
transmitted from the spiritual realm through natural objects. Divination
includes direct attempts to contact the spirit world for information, as
in the use of spirit guides and shamans.
Astrology is based on the same principles as
divination but uses the stars to uncover hidden information. It is
denounced as a waste of time in Isaiah 47:13–14 (see also Jeremiah
Channeling, or necromancy, has become popular
within New Age circles. It involves calling up the spirits of the dead.
Isaiah specifically denounces this practice and not because it doesn’t
“work.” Rather, necromancy, as with all these practices, displays an
attitude of rebellion against God by refusing to do things his way:
“When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and
mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead
on behalf of the living?” (Isaiah 8:19).
Mediums and spiritists are those who possess the
ability to contact the spirits of the dead (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27; 1
Samuel 28; 2 Kings 21:6; 1 Chronicles 10:13–14).
Witchcraft is the use of magical spells and charms
to obtain desires through supernatural or psychic powers. God makes his
views about magic very clear through Ezekiel. “I am against your magic
charms with which you ensnare people like birds and I will tear them
from your arms; I will set free the people that you ensnare like birds”
(Ezekiel 13:17–21; see also 2 Kings 21:6; Acts 19:18–19).
Sorcery is the ability to use magical spells, an
ability usually obtained through contacting evil spirits. The prophet
Micah brought this message from God to those who in his day dabbled in
these occult practices: “I will destroy your witchcraft and you will no
longer cast spells” (Micah 5:12; see also Galatians 5:20).
These practices are all
condemned because they lead people away from the true God and entrap people
in false ways. The use of magic and charms to influence the future reflects
a lack of trust in the goodness of God to bring about what is best in a
situation. Instead of trying to manipulate the future, we are called to
trust in God’s trustworthiness.
The Bible clearly teaches that good and evil spiritual
forces exist. Many today deny or ignore this teaching. Performing spiritual
acts with good intentions and getting good results does not excuse being
unaware of the source of the power behind those acts. Scripture states that
evil spiritual forces are powerful and dangerous and should not be dabbled
with (Ephesians 6:12; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 4:4).
In our opinion, it is naïve and unsafe to think or
teach that Satan would not use his powers to heal people, especially since
healing is such an important sign of the Messiah. Satan will resort to “good
deeds” to deceive people and draw them away from God. Jesus warned us:
“For false Christs and false prophets will
appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were
possible” (Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22).
discernment must be exercised before dabbling in alternative therapies (or
any practice) with a spiritual background.
It is never appropriate to use therapies that involve magic, contacting
spirit guides or the spirits of the dead, or that attempt to manipulate
...A similar choice faces those who look to
alternative spiritual therapies for healing. Maybe they’ll bring a lot
of good, though there’s no guarantee. Wouldn’t God be pleased at the good
that could come about?
Not if “good” comes by illegitimate means.
God has warned us that certain spiritual
practices are not just harmful, but wrong. Are we going to trust
him? Will we put our faith in him and his promises? If we do, we will avoid
spiritual therapies that connect us with spiritual powers or beings apart
from the God of the Bible... Read in entirety -
Alarming Health Statistics
www.cancer.duke.edu - cam.pdf
Limitations of research in
conventional medical decision-making - It’s often assumed that, in
conventional medicine, all treatment recommendations are based on research
results. While this is a goal, in reality, conventional medicine is as much
art as science, and as fraught with controversy as is complementary and
alternative medicine. The U.S. Office of Technology Assessment issued a
report in 1978 entitled 'Assessing the Efficacy and Safety of Medical Technology'.1
This report indicates that only 10 - 20% of medical
procedures have been shown to be of benefit. Many common treatments had
never been evaluated by clinical trials. In addition, up to 75% of studies
published at that time had 'invalid or unsupportable conclusions as a result
of statistical problems'. Few well-designed trials were found and the
preponderance had positive results, indicating that studies with negative
results are less likely to be published…
www.lef.org - Life Extension Foundation for Longer Life
Content provided from
Extension Magazine (Death by Medicine) By
Gary Null, PhD; Carolyn Dean MD, ND; Martin Feldman, MD; Debora Rasio, MD; and
Dorothy Smith, PhD
2013, Life Extension Foundation. All rights reserved
A group of researchers meticulously reviewed the
statistical evidence and their findings are absolutely shocking.
These researchers have
authored the following article titled “Death by Medicine” that presents
compelling evidence that
today’s health care system frequently causes more
harm than good.
Life Extension has decided to
publish this article in its entirety to call attention to the failure of the
American medical system. By exposing these gruesome statistics in painstaking
detail, we provide a basis for competent and compassionate medical professionals
to recognize the inadequacies of today’s system and at least attempt to
institute meaningful reforms.
The Nutrition Institute of America
is a nonprofit organization that has sponsored independent research for the past
30 years. To support its bold claim that conventional medicine is America’s
number-one killer, the Institute mandated that every “count” in this
“indictment” of US medicine be validated by published, peer-reviewed
His fully referenced report shows
the number of people having in-hospital, adverse reactions to prescribed drugs
to be 2.2 million annually. The number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed for
viral infections is 20 million per year. The number of unnecessary medical and
surgical procedures performed is 7.5 million per year. The number of people
exposed to unnecessary hospitalization is 8.9 million per year.
The most stunning statistic,
however, is that the total number of deaths caused by conventional medicine is
nearly 800,000 per year. It is now evident that the American medical system is
the leading cause of death and injury in the US. By contrast, the number of
deaths attributable to heart disease in 2001 was 699,697, while the number of
deaths attributable to cancer was 553,251.
read entire text ..Scary Statistics
Is American Medicine Working
US health care spending reached $1.6 trillion in 2003,
representing 14% of the nation’s gross national product.26.
Considering this enormous expenditure, we should have the best medicine in the
world. We should be preventing and reversing disease, and doing minimal harm.
Careful and objective review, however, shows we are doing the opposite. Because
of the extraordinarily narrow, technologically driven context in which
contemporary medicine examines the human condition, we are completely missing
the larger picture.
Medicine is not taking into
consideration the following critically important aspects of a healthy human
and how it adversely affects the immune system and life processes
processed and denatured foods grown in denatured and chemically damaged soil
to tens of thousands of environmental toxins.
minimizing these disease-causing factors, we cause more illness through medical
technology, diagnostic testing, overuse of medical and surgical procedures, and
overuse of pharmaceutical drugs. The huge disservice of this therapeutic
strategy is the result of little effort or money being spent on preventing
disease. To read in its entirety…www.lef.org
2013, Life Extension Foundation. All rights reserved.
by Dr. Rath
unbeknownst to the American people, there is a war going on that has claimed
victims in every family. This war is escalating and threatens every human life.
It is a war being waged in the interests of the
multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry, which is not a health industry, but
rather an investment business built upon the continuation and expansion of
global diseases. Your health - and the
health of every person in America - is threatened in several ways:
- The “business with
disease” as the basis of the pharmaceutical industry. The
pharmaceutical industry is a multibillion-dollar investment business that
has orchestrated the largest fraud in human history; it promises health, but
in fact thrives on the continuation of diseases. This fraud scheme is easily
unmasked: Most pharmaceutical drugs are designed to merely cover disease
symptoms, but are not intended to cure or eradicate diseases.
As a direct result of this multibillion-dollar fraud business, no cure has
been found for cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes or any other chronic
disease. On the contrary, these diseases continue in epidemic proportions,
killing about 5,000 - five thousand - Americans EACH DAY…
epidemic of dangerous side effects caused by pharmaceutical drugs. The
dangerous side effects of Vioxx, Celebrex, Lipitor and Prozac are not the
exception - they are the rule. Due to their synthetic nature, most
pharmaceutical drugs are toxic to our bodies, causing organ damage and other
serious side effects. According to the American Medical Association, one
million Americans suffer disabilities from taking pharmaceutical drugs and
more than 100,000 of them die as a result of this - EACH YEAR!
lifesaving information about the health benefits of vitamins and natural
therapies. A precondition for this “business with disease” based on
patentable synthetic drugs is the suppression of effective and safe - but
non-patentable and, therefore, less profitable - natural therapies…Through
their strategic influence, the pharmaceutical industry has established a
global monopoly on medicine. As a direct result, generations of medical
doctors have not received adequate training in nutritional and other
Doctors and patients alike have become victims of the
pharmaceutical industry's efforts to monopolize human health. As a result,
tens of millions of Americans have died unnecessarily over the past decades
because this lifesaving health information has not been available to them.
Read in entirety…www4.dr-rath-foundation.org
by Dr. Rath
Suppressing effective natural health therapies by law.
Effective, safe and non-patentable natural therapies threaten the very basis of
the pharmaceutical investment business. They target and correct the underlying
cellular deficiencies of today’s most common diseases, thereby preventing and
eventually eradicating them.
elimination of any disease inevitably destroys a multibillion-dollar drug market
for the pharmaceutical industry. Thus, the pharmaceutical industry
has launched a global campaign to protect its patent-based “business with
disease” by outlawing natural, non-patentable therapies at the national and
international level. This is the background for the Bush administration's attack
on the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), the key legislation
protecting the rights of the American people for free access to natural
therapies and to freedom of health choice. If this fundamental human right to
natural health is taken away, the health of billions of people will be
compromised and tens of millions of them will pay the ultimate price for
generations to come.
- The Alternative Fix
How good is America's drug safety system?
1997, more than a dozen prescription drugs have been taken off the market due to
serious side effects -- in some cases after hundreds of injuries and even deaths
have occurred. Is the Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for
approving and monitoring the safety of the medications we take, up to the task?
Consumer Rights Comprised
Retrieved from -
- Bastyr Center for Natural Health
Is There an FDA Enforcement Bias?
In addition, the FDA’s enforcement
policies appear to favor the pharmaceutical industry over producers of natural
substances. During the past several years, there have been numerous instances in
which the agency cited drug companies for misleading advertising. However, none
of the medicines in question were removed from the market. Moreover, the
“punishment” was typically limited to a cease-and-desist order, often coming
after the public had already “gotten the message” from an intensive
advertising campaign...Read entire article…www.bastyrcenter.org
Source obtained from -
If you think that
your freedom to select alternative health choices may be comprised and that the
above is too far fetched …Read further
Health Freedom Warning: Drug
Company Seeks to Outlaw Vitamin B6 to Protect Pharma Profits - www.organicconsumers.org
NINETY per cent of multi-vitamin and mineral preparations
and many other supplements are likely to be removed from the shelves of
British health shops… Under a move to harmonise the sale of vitamin and
mineral supplements, lists have been drawn up of permissible supplements and
their sources, which exclude more than 300 items available in Britain…
World Health Organization (WHO)
Traditional medicine has maintained its popularity in all
regions of the developing world and its use is rapidly spreading in
In some Asian and African countries, 80% of the population depend on
traditional medicine for primary health care.
Herbal medicines are the most lucrative form of traditional medicine,
generating billions of dollars in revenue.
Traditional medicine can treat various infectious and chronic
conditions: new antimalarial drugs were developed from the discovery and
isolation of artemisinin from Artemisia
a plant used in China for almost 2000 years.
Counterfeit, poor quality, or adulterated herbal products in
international markets are serious patient safety threats.
More than 100 countries have regulations for herbal medicines.
Who uses traditional medicine?
In many developed countries, 70% to 80% of the population has used some form
of alternative or complementary medicine (e.g. acupuncture).
Herbal treatments are the most popular form of traditional medicine, and are
highly lucrative in the international marketplace. Annual revenues in
Western Europe reached US$ 5 billion in 2003-2004. In China sales of
products totaled US$ 14 billion in 2005. Herbal medicine revenue in Brazil
was US$ 160 million in 2007.
www.pbs.org - The Alternative Fix
Today, just eleven years after its founding, NCCAM has an
annual budget of $115 million and a staff of seventy, and is conducting more
than 200 research projects on CAM therapies. In addition, more than 20 percent
of U.S. hospitals now offer some form of alternative therapy alongside their
conventional medical treatments… posted November 2003.
Reference - energymedicineuniversity.org
National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) reports
that more than 42% of Americans use alternative medicine to address their
health and wellness concerns.
budget for the NCCAM rose from $2 million in 1993 to $50 million in 1999.
addition, Americans spent more than $28 billion on these therapies in 1998,
exceeding out-of-pocket spending for all USA hospitalizations.
Journal of the American Medical Association reports a 48.3% increase in
total visits to alternative medicine practitioners between 1990 and 1998.
1994 published survey revealed that more than 60% of doctors from a wide
range of specialties recommended alternative modalities to patients at least
once. The same study also reported that 48% of those doctors used
alternative modalities themselves.
85% of USA medical schools offer elective courses in alternative and
complementary medicine or include it in required courses.
1993, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that more than 34% of all
Americans have used some form of alternative medicine. A 1998 follow-up
study showed that this figure increased to 42% of all Americans.
Priorities for Promoting the Use of Integrative Medicines
WHO and its Member States cooperate to promote the use of traditional
medicine for health care. The collaboration aims to:
support and integrate traditional medicine into national health systems
in combination with national policy and regulation for products,
practices and providers to ensure safety and quality;
ensure the use of safe, effective and quality products and practices,
based on available evidence;
acknowledge traditional medicine as part of primary health care, to
increase access to care and preserve knowledge and resources; and
ensure patient safety by upgrading the skills and knowledge of
traditional medicine providers.
Bravewell believes that by shifting the focus of our
health care system to prevention, health maintenance, early intervention and
patient-centered care, integrative medicine holds the power to not only
transform the economic models that impede our present health care system but
to vastly improve public health, which is essential to our nation's future.
Identifying and Disseminating Leading Models of Integrative Care
Identify and document the leading models of integrative health
care, especially those with demonstrated health benefits and/or
cost-effectiveness data, and share this evidence with health systems and
others in a position to drive health systems change.
Strengthening Integrative Medicine Programs
Empower and accelerate the
growth of leading clinical centers of integrative medicine that can serve as
models for change in the health care delivery system, and to expand the
ranks of leading integrative medicine providers through the Bravewell
Developing the Research Base for Integrative Medicine
Establish a practice-based research network in
integrative medicine that will study the benefits of an integrative approach
to care, and to identify partners with whom larger-scale research projects
can be conducted that demonstrate the positive health outcomes and economic
benefits of integrative models of care.
Changing the Way Physicians
Develop and support efforts that build the capacity of
physicians to practice integrative medicine.
Championing Physician Leaders
Empower and support physician champions of integrative
medicine to help transform the culture of health care and to reclaim
Educating the Public
Reach opinion leaders and the general public and
educate them on the values and programs of integrative medicine.
Safety & Efficacy Issues
New WHO guidelines to promote proper use of alternative
medicines: Adverse drug
reactions to alternative medicines have more than doubled in three years…
WHO supports traditional and alternative medicines when these have demonstrated
benefits for the patient and minimal risks,” said Dr. LEE Jong-wook,
Director-General of WHO. “But as more people use these medicines, governments
should have the tools to ensure all stakeholders have the best information about
their benefits and their risks."
22 JUNE 2004 | GENEVA -- Since traditional, complementary
and alternative medicines remain largely unregulated, consumers worldwide need
to be informed and given the tools to access appropriate, safe and effective
treatment. To help address this issue, the World Health Organization (WHO) today
releases a new set of guidelines for national health authorities to develop
context specific and reliable information for consumer use of alternative
Safe Use of Complementary Health
Products and Practices
: As with any treatment, it is
important to consider safety before using complementary health products and
practices. Safety depends on the specific therapy, and each complementary
product or practice should be considered on its own.
Mind and body practices such as meditation and yoga,
for example, are generally considered to be safe in healthy people when
practiced appropriately. Natural products such as herbal medicines or
botanicals are often sold as dietary supplements and are readily available
to consumers; however, there is a lot we don’t know about the safety of many
of these products, in part because a manufacturer does not have to prove the
safety and effectiveness of a dietary supplement before it is available to
Two of the main safety concerns for dietary
of drug interactions—for example, research has shown that St.
John’s Wort interacts with drugs such as antidepressants in ways that
can interfere with their intended effects.
of product contamination—supplements have been found to contain
hidden prescription drugs or other compounds, particularly in dietary
supplements marketed for weight loss, sexual health including erectile
dysfunction, and athletic performance or body-building.
Talk to your primary health care providers if you
are considering a CAM therapy. They may be able to answer questions
and/or refer you to a practitioner. Also, be aware that there are other
resources for locating a CAM practitioner, such as professional
organizations for specific practitioner groups.
Gather basic information on the CAM practitioners
you are considering, such as education, experience, and cost, and interview
them in person or by telephone. Make your selection based on their answers
to your questions, and your level of comfort during the interview.
Various types of traditional medicine and other medical
practices referred to as complementary or alternative medicine are increasingly
used in both developing and developed countries. In order to promote safe and
appropriate use of these medicines and practices, as well as to ensure the
quality of service and practitioners, national regulations are vital.
Establishing national policies on traditional medicine, and/or
complementary/alternative medicine and their medical practices, should therefore
include creation of legal frameworks.
This review summarizes the legal status of several major
practices in traditional medicine and complementary/alternative medicine in 123
countries. It includes data on: the use of traditional and
complementary/alternative medicine; the regulatory situation of traditional and
complementary/alternative remedies and practitioners; health insurance
coverage of traditional and complementary/alternative medicine; education
and training of practitioners of traditional and complementary/alternative
Information provided in this review will be useful not only to policy
makers, but also to researchers, universities, the public, insurance
companies and pharmaceutical industries.
Reasons for Using Alternative Medicine
- Content provided from
The National Institutes
The survey asked people to select from five reasons to
describe why they used CAM. Results were as follows (people could select more
than one reason):
The survey found that most people use CAM along with
conventional medicine rather than in place of conventional medicine.
How Many People Use CAM
In the United States, approximately 38
percent of adults (about 4 in 10) and approximately 12 percent of children
(about 1 in 9) are using some form of CAM.
Who Uses CAM Most
of all backgrounds use CAM. However, CAM use among adults is greater among
women and those with higher levels of education and higher incomes.
CAM Therapies Used the Most
Nonvitamin, nonmineral natural products are the most commonly used CAM
adults. Use has increased for several therapies, including deep breathing
exercises, meditation, massage therapy,
is the art and science of healing that addresses care of the whole person -
body, mind, and spirit. The practice of holistic medicine integrates
conventional and complementary therapies to promote optimal health, and
prevent and treat disease by addressing contributing factors. Holistic
healthcare practitioners strive to meet the patient with grace, kindness,
acceptance, and spirit without condition, as love is life’s most powerful
In practice, this means that each person is seen as a unique individual,
rather than an example of a particular disease. Disease is understood to be
the result of physical, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental
imbalance. Healing, therefore, takes place naturally when these aspects of
life are brought into proper balance. The role of the practitioner is as
guide, mentor and role model; the patient must do the work - changing
lifestyle, beliefs and old habits in order to facilitate healing. All
appropriate methods may be used, from medication to meditation.
Reference - www.abihm.org
- American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine
Integrative Holistic Medicine
Integrative Medicine — the practice
of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between the
practitioner and the patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by
evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches,
healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and
healing. (Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine
Medicine — medical care that views
physical and mental and spiritual aspects of life as closely interconnected
and equally important approaches to treatment.
Integrative Holistic Medicine is the art and science of healing that
addresses care of the whole person: body, mind, and spirit.
World Health Organization
is the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the
theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether
explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the
prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental
The terms "complementary medicine" or "alternative medicine" are used
inter-changeably with traditional medicine in some countries. They refer to
a broad set of health care practices that are not part of that country's own
tradition and are not integrated into the dominant health care system.
The National Center for
Complimentary & Alternative Medicine
“Complementary and alternative medicine,”
“complementary medicine,” “alternative medicine,” “integrative medicine”—we
have all seen these terms on the Internet and in marketing, but what do they
really mean? While the terms are often used to mean the array of health care
approaches with a history of use or origins outside of mainstream medicine,
they are actually hard to define and may mean different things to different
people. This fact sheet looks into these terms to help you understand them
is used together with conventional medicine.
An example of a complementary therapy is using aromatherapy. A
therapy in which the scent of essential oils from flowers, herbs, and trees is
inhaled to promote health and well being to help lessen a patient's discomfort
Alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine.
An example of an alternative therapy is using a special diet to treat cancer
instead of undergoing surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy that has been
recommended by a conventional
combines treatments from
conventional medicine and CAM (Complimentary Alternative Medicine)
there is some high-quality evidence of safety and effectiveness. It is also
called integrated medicine.
For example, cancer treatment centers with integrative health care programs may
offer services such as acupuncture and meditation to
help manage symptoms and side effects for patients who are receiving
conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.
There are various definitions for “integrative health care,” but several
facts about this growing health trend are clear:
It’s happening now. Many
individuals, health care providers, and health care systems are
integrating various practices with origins outside of mainstream
medicine into treatment and health promotion.
The integrative trend is growing among providers and health care
factors include marketing of integrative care by health care providers
to consumers who perceive benefits to health or well-being, and emerging
evidence that some of the perceived benefits are real or meaningful.
The scientific evidence is limited. In
many instances, a lack of reliable data makes it difficult for people to
make informed decisions about using integrative health care.
What is CAM? – Complimentary
Alternative Medicine - CAM is a group of diverse medical and health care
systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of
conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional
medicine, and alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine…
The list of practices that are considered CAM changes
continually, as those therapies that are proven to be safe and effective become
adopted into conventional health care and as new approaches to health
of Complementary and Alternative Medicine
The National Center for
Complimentary & Alternative Medicine
NCCAM groups CAM practices into four domains, recognizing
there can be some overlap. In addition, NCCAM studies CAM whole medical systems,
which cut across all domains.
Whole Medical Systems
built upon complete systems of theory and practice. Often, these systems have
evolved apart from and earlier than the conventional medical approach used in
the United States. Examples of whole medical systems that have developed in
Western cultures include:
- Naturopathic Medicine - Chinese Medicine - Ayurveda
Homeopathic Medicine - Homepathy seeks to stimulate
the body’s ability to heal itself by giving very small doses of highly diluted
substances that in larger doses would produce illness or symptoms (an approach
called “like cures like).
- Naturopathy aims to support the body’s ability to heal itself
through the use of dietary and lifestyle changes together with CAM therapies
such as herbs, massage, and joint manipulation.
Chinese Medicine -
A whole medical system that
originated in China is based on the concept that disease results from disruption
in the flow of gi and imbalance in the forces of yin and yang.
Practices such as herbs, meditation, massage, and acupuncture seek to aid
healing by restoring the yin-yang balance and flow of qi.
whole medical system that originated in India, it aims to integrate the body,
mind, and spirit to prevent and treat disease.
Therapies used include herbs, massage, and yoga.
uses a variety of techniques
designed to enhance the mind's capacity to affect bodily function and symptoms.
Some techniques that were considered CAM in the past have become mainstream (for
example, patient support groups and cognitive-behavioral therapy). Other
mind-body techniques are still considered CAM, including meditation…prayer,
mental healing, and therapies that use creative outlets such as art, music, or
Biologically Based Practices
in CAM use substances found in nature, such as herbs, foods, and vitamins.
Some examples include dietary supplements, herbal products, and the use of other
so-called natural but as yet scientifically unproven therapies (for example,
using shark cartilage to treat cancer).
The CAM domain of biologically based practices includes,
but is not limited to, botanicals, animal-derived extracts, vitamins, minerals,
fatty acids, amino acids, proteins, prebiotics and probiotics, whole diets, and
Manipulative and Body-Based
Are based on
manipulation, and/or movement of one or more parts of the body. Some examples
include chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation. A type of manipulation
practiced by osteopathic physicians. It
is combined with physical therapy and instruction in proper posture.
Massage practices: Are based on pressing, rubbing, and
moving muscles and other soft tissues of the body, primarily by using the hands
and fingers. The aim is to increase
the flow of blood and oxygen to the massaged area.
involve the use of energy fields. They are of two types:
Veritable, which can be measured
Putative, which have yet to be measured
veritable energies employ mechanical vibrations
(such as sound) and electromagnetic forces, including visible light, magnetism,
monochromatic radiation (such as laser beams), and rays from other parts of the
electromagnetic spectrum. They involve the use of specific, measurable
wavelengths and frequencies to treat patients.2
putative energy fields (also called
biofields) have defied measurement to date by reproducible methods. Therapies
involving putative energy fields are based on the concept that human beings
are infused with a subtle form of energy. This vital energy or life force is
known under different names in different cultures –
prana, etheric energy, fohat, orgone,
odic force, mana, and homeopathic resonance.3 Vital
energy is believed to flow throughout the material human body, but it has not
been unequivocally measured by means of conventional instrumentation.
Nonetheless, therapists claim that they can work with this subtle energy, see it
with their own eyes, and use it to effect changes in the physical body and
Practitioners of energy medicine believe that illness
results from disturbances of these subtle energies (the biofield) an energy
field that is proposed to surround and flow through out the human body and play
a role in health. For example, more than 2,000 years ago, Asian practitioners
postulated that the flow and balance of life energies are necessary for
maintaining health and described tools to restore them. Acupuncture,
acupressure, moxibustion, and cupping, for example, are all believed to act by
correcting imbalances in the internal biofield, such as by restoring the flow of
qi through meridians to reinstate health. Some therapists are believed to emit
or transmit the vital energy (external qi) to a recipient to restore health.4
are intended to affect energy
fields that purportedly surround and penetrate the human body. The existence
of such fields has not yet been scientifically proven. Some forms of energy
therapy manipulate biofields by applying pressure and/or manipulating the body
by placing the hands in, or through, these fields. Examples include:
A component of Chinese medicine that
combines movement, meditation, and controlled breathing.
The intent is to improve blood flow and the flow of gi.
Reiki - A therapy in which practitioners seek to
transmit a universal energy to a person, either from a distance or by
placing their hands on or near that person. The intent is to heal the spirit
and thus the body.
Therapeutic Touch –
A therapy in which
practitioners pass their hands over another person’s body with the intent
to use their own perceived healing energy to identify energy imbalances and
unconventional use of electromagnetic fields, such as pulsed fields,
magnetic fields, or alternating current or direct-current fields.
Proponents of energy field therapies also claim that some of these
therapies can act across long distances. For example, the long-distance effects
of external qi gong have been studied in China and summarized in the book Scientific
Qigong Exploration, which has been translated into English.21 The
studies reported various healing cases and described the nature of qi as
bidirectional, multifunctional, adaptable to targets, and capable of effects
over long distances. But none of these claims has been independently verified.
Another form of distant healing is intercessory prayer, in which a
person prays for the healing of another person who is a great distance away,
with or without that person's knowledge.
Magnetic Therapy: Static magnets have been used for centuries in efforts
to relieve pain or to obtain other alleged benefits (e.g., increased energy).
Numerous anecdotal reports have indicated that individuals have experienced
significant, and at times dramatic, relief of pain after the application of
static magnets over a painful area. Although the literature on the biological
effects of magnetic fields is growing, there is a paucity of data from
well-structured, clinically sound studies. However, there is growing evidence
that magnetic fields can influence physiological processes.
Sound Energy Therapy
sometimes referred to as
vibrational or frequency therapy includes music therapy as well as wind chime
and tuning fork therapy. The presumptive basis of its effect is that specific
sound frequencies resonate with specific organs of the body to heal and support
the body. Music therapy has been the most studied among these interventions,
with studies dating back to the 1920s, when it was reported that music affected
blood pressure.11 Other
studies have suggested that music can help reduce pain and anxiety.
History of Alternative-Integrative Medicine
Explore the history of integrative medicine:
Timeline illustrates, integrative medicine is a
natural outgrowth of many different healing systems, and it continues to
blend cultures and ideas – both old and new.
Illustration defines and outlines mind-body-spirit modalities and
cultures dating back to 3000 BCE to present, and how each have adapted and
incorporated mind-body-spirit therapies.
Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
Source - www.naturopathic.org
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care -an
art, science, philosophy and practice of diagnosis, treatment and
prevention of illness. Naturopathic medicine is distinguished by the
principles which underlie and determine its practice. These principles
are based upon the objective observation of the nature of health and
disease, and are continually reexamined in the light of scientific
advances. Methods used are consistent with these principles and are
chosen upon the basis of patient individuality. Naturopathic physicians
are trained as primary health care physicians whose diverse techniques
include modern and traditional, scientific and empirical methods. The
following principles are the foundation for the practice of naturopathic
The Healing Power of Nature
(Vis Medicatrix Naturae) - The healing power of nature is the inherent
self -organizing and healing process of living systems which
establishes, maintains and restores health. Naturopathic medicine
recognizes this healing process to be ordered and intelligent. It is the
naturopathic physician's role to support, facilitate and augment this
process by identifying and removing obstacles to health and recovery,
and by supporting the creation of a healthy internal and external
Identify and Treat
the Causes (Tolle Causam) -
Illness does not occur without
cause. Causes may originate in many areas. Underlying causes of illness
and disease must be identified and removed before complete recovery can
occur. Symptoms can be expressions of the body's attempt to defend
itself, to adapt and recover, to heal itself, or may be results of the
causes of disease. The naturopathic physician seeks to treat the causes
of disease, rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.
First Do No Harm (Primum Non
Nocere) Naturopathic physicians follow three precepts to avoid harming the
Naturopathic physicians utilize methods and medicinal substances which
minimize the risk of harmful effects, and apply the least possible force
or intervention necessary to diagnose illness and restore health.
Whenever possible the suppression of symptoms is avoided as suppression
generally interferes with the healing process.
Naturopathic physicians respect and work with the vis medicatrix naturae
in diagnosis, treatment and counseling, for if this self -healing
process is not respected the patient may be harmed.
Doctor as Teacher
(Docere) - The original meaning of the word "doctor" is teacher. A
principal objective of naturopathic medicine is to educate the patient
and emphasize self-responsibility for health. Naturopathic physicians
also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the
Treat the Whole Person -
Health and disease result from a complex of physical,
mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social and other factors.
Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic
physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual
development. Naturopathic medicine recognizes the harmonious functioning
of all aspects of the individual as being essential to health. The
multifactorial nature of health and disease requires a personalized
and comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment. Naturopathic
physicians treat the whole person, taking all of these factors into
Naturopathic medical colleges emphasize the study
of health as well as disease. The prevention of disease and
the attainment of optimal health in patients are primary objectives of
naturopathic medicine. In practice, these objectives are accomplished
through education and the promotion of healthy ways of living.
Naturopathic physicians assess risk factors,
heredity and susceptibility to disease, and make appropriate
interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illness.
Naturopathic medicine asserts that one cannot be healthy in an unhealthy
environment and is committed to the creation of a world in which
humanity may thrive.
What to Expect from a Naturopath Provider
Association of Naturopathic Doctors -
Association of Naturopathic Doctors
doctors use conventional and naturopathic diagnostic tools for assessing health
concerns and determining the most appropriate treatment program. The diagnostic
tools used include:
Thorough Health History:
The initial intake with a Naturopathic Doctor is usually about 1½ to 2 hours in
length and includes a detailed history. A Naturopathic Doctor will take the time
to find out about your family history, your lifestyle, the stressors in your
life, past medical history, history of accidents or injuries and the significant
events in your life that have affected your health or well being.
nutritional status, eating habits and patterns and the type of food that you eat
on a regular is an important part of the naturopathic assessment.
Doctors are trained to do complete physical exams and use them as a standard
part of an assessment. As your health changes or as acute situations arise,
Naturopathic Doctors will use aspects of the physical examination to aid in
diagnosis and assessment of your health concerns. Having a complete physical
exam on a yearly basis is an essential part of preventative health care.
Naturopathic Doctors often take the time to ensure that the "small"
symptoms are identified and addressed before they become a "bigger"
Chinese Tongue and Pulse Diagnosis:
Traditional Chinese Medicine provides
additional insight and information about an individual's health status. Through
tongue and pulse diagnosis, a naturopathic doctor is able to understand a
person's health status on many different levels.
Comprehensive Laboratory Testing:
testing, including urine analysis, blood work and saliva testing, is an
essential aspect of a complete medical assessment. Naturopathic Doctors will use
standard laboratory testing to provide them with further information for a
Medical Reports and Diagnostic Testing:
medical reports, such as MRIs, X-rays or scans are valuable assets that a
naturopathic doctor will use during their assessment of your health concerns.
Naturopathic Doctors will refer to another medical health professional when
appropriate to ensure that all patients receive the best quality health care
possible and that all required information is available in order to fully
understand the root causes of a patient's health concerns.
Choose a Naturopath Provider
Retrieved from -
University of Minnesota
All of the tips on seeking a competent provider apply to integrative
therapies as well. But sometimes finding the right integrative practitioner
can be difficult.
There is more variability in training, and the regulations that govern
integrative practitioners vary considerably from state to state.
However, qualified integrative practitioners make a great addition to your
healthcare team. Here are a few tips for choosing one:
1. Get referrals.
One of the best ways to find an integrative therapy
provider is through a referral from someone you trust. Start talking with
friends, co-workers, or neighbors about integrative therapists they have
found effective. Many practitioners rely on word of mouth, so first-person
accounts are helpful. Of course, you'll also need to interview the
practitioner and check on licensure and/or other quality measures before
committing to treatments. But asking for referrals is a good first step.
2. Check the web for professional organization and certification
You may begin your search for an integrative provider
by researching professional organizations and other resources online. This
electronic research can offer certification information (e.g. how many hours
a practitioner must study with an accredited school or instructor) as well
as offer contact information.
3. Check licensure.
Licensure for integrative therapy providers varies widely by state. For
example, chiropractors are licensed in all 50 states, whereas naturopathic
physicians are licensed in only 14 states.
4. Ask questions.
Once you've selected an integrative provider you'd like to meet, you can
consider the items on the Choosing a Provider Checklist. However, here are
some additional questions for integrative therapy practitioners:
Do you accept my health insurance?
Do I file the claim forms, or do you (the provider) take care of that?
What is the cost for an initial appointment?
How many treatments will I need?
How much will each treatment cost?
Can I receive treatment for a trial period to see if the therapy works
for me before I commit to a full course?
It can also be useful to ask which insurance plans
the practitioner accepts, in case you become interested in changing plans at
some point (for example, through a change of employment).
The following considerations are offered as a guide to help
you find a practitioner with whom you are comfortable. Optimum health is more
likely to be present when you work with someone who is supportive of your
efforts to be in charge of your life. Some of the criteria may not apply to all
situations. Please click here to review recommendations and guidelines
valuable information on how to find a qualified holistic health professional.
Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges
Students of naturopathic medicine use the Western
medical sciences as a foundation on which to build a thorough knowledge of
holistic, non-toxic therapies and develop skills in diagnosis, disease
prevention and wellness optimization. Graduates from naturopathic medical
schools must pass the comprehensive naturopathic
physicians licensing examinations (NPLEX) to
be licensed as primary care physicians. Candidates for full licensure must
also satisfy all licensing requirements for the individual
state or province in
which they plan to practice.
Association of Naturopathic Physicians
Licensed States & Licensing Authorities:
Currently, 17 states, the District of Columbia, and the United States
territories of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands have
licensing or regulation laws for naturopathic doctors. In these states,
naturopathic doctors are required to graduate from an accredited four-year
residential naturopathic medical school and pass an extensive postdoctoral
board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license. Licensed
naturopathic physicians must fulfill state-mandated continuing education
requirements annually, and will have a specific scope of practice defined by
their state's law. The states that currently have licensing laws for
naturopathic physicians are:
(complete listing here).
A licensed naturopathic physician (ND) attends a four-year, graduate-level
naturopathic medical school and is educated in all of the same basic
sciences as an MD, but also studies holistic and nontoxic approaches to
therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness.
In addition to a standard medical curriculum, the naturopathic physician
is required to complete four years of training in clinical nutrition,
acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology,
and counseling (to encourage people to make lifestyle changes in
support of their personal health). A naturopathic physician takes rigorous
professional board exams so that he or she may be licensed by a state or
jurisdiction as a primary care general practice physician.
Find Alternative Practitioner Providers
Search the following holistic medicine directories for alternative medicine
providers and healing practitioners by specialty or name in your area:
What to Look For On the Internet
Internet offers an ideal way
to discover the latest in alternative medicine treatments.
Web sites can be
updated at any time to keep up with new products, therapies and advances in the
field. But beware — the Internet is also one of the greatest sources of
misinformation. Carefully investigate each alternative medicine site you visit.
Considering these features that can help you weed out the good products from the
First, it's important to
carefully consider the source of information and then to discuss the
information you find with your health care professional. These questions and
answers can help you determine whether the health information you find on
the Internet or receive by e-mail from a Web site is likely to be reliable.
Millions of consumers are
using the Internet to get health information. And thousands of Web sites are
offering health information. Some of those sites are reliable and up-to-date;
some are not. How can you tell the good from the bad?
Who runs the Web site?
Any good health Web site should make it easy to
learn who is responsible for the site and its information. On the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration's (FDA) Web site, for example, the FDA is clearly
noted on every major page, along with a link to the site's home (main) page, www.fda.gov. Information about who runs the site can often be found in an "About Us" or
"About This Web Site" section, and there's usually a link to that section on
the site's home page.
What is the purpose of the Web site?
Is the purpose of the site to inform? Is it to sell a product? Is it to
raise money? If you can tell who runs and pays for the site, this will help
you evaluate its purpose. Be cautious about sites trying to sell a product
or service. Quackery abounds on the Web. Look for these warning signs and remember the
adage "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
Does the site promise quick,
dramatic, miraculous results? Is this the only site making these claims?
Beware of claims that one remedy will
cure a variety of illnesses, that it is a "breakthrough," or that it
relies on a "secret ingredient."
Use caution if the site uses a
sensational writing style (lots of exclamation points, for example.)
A health Web site for consumers
should use simple language, not technical jargon. Get a second opinion.
Check more than one site.
What is the original source of the
information on the Web site?
Always pay close attention to where the information on the site comes from.
Many health and medical Web sites post information collected from other Web
sites or sources. If the person or organization in charge of the site did
not write the material, the original source should be clearly identified. Be
careful of sites that don't say where the information comes from.
Good sources of health information include:
Sites that end in ".gov," sponsored
by the federal government, like the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (www.hhs.gov), the FDA (www.fda.gov), the National Institutes of Health (www.nih.gov), the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (www.cdc.gov), and the National Library of Medicine (www.nlm.nih.gov)
.edu sites, which are run by
universities or medical schools, such as Johns Hopkins University School
of Medicine and the University of California at Berkeley Hospital,
health system, and other health care facility sites, like the Mayo
Clinic and Cleveland Clinic
.org sites maintained by
not-for-profit groups whose focus is research and teaching the public
about specific diseases or conditions, such as the American Diabetes
Association, the American Cancer Society, and the American Heart
Medical and scientific journals, such
as The New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American
Medical Association, although these aren't written for consumers and
could be hard to understand.
Sites whose addresses end in .com are
usually commercial sites and are often selling products
How is the information on
the Web site documented?
In addition to identifying the original source of the
material, the site should identify the evidence on which the material is
based. Medical facts and figures should have references (such as citations
of articles in medical journals). Also, opinions or advice should be clearly
set apart from information that is "evidence-based" (that is, based on
How is information reviewed before it is posted on
the Web site?
Health-related Web sites should give information about
the medical credentials of the people who prepare or review the material on
the Web site.
How current is the information on the Web site?
Web sites should be reviewed and updated on a regular
basis. It is particularly important that medical information be current, and
that the most recent update or review date be clearly posted. These dates
are usually found at the bottom of the page. Even if the information has not
changed, it is helpful to know that the site owners have reviewed it
recently to ensure that the information is still valid. Click on a few links
on the site. If there are a lot of broken links, the site may not be kept
How does the Web site choose links to other sites?
Reliable Web sites usually have a policy about how they establish links to
other sites. Some medical Web sites take a conservative approach and do not
link to any other sites; some link to any site that asks or pays for a link;
others link only to sites that have met certain criteria. Look for the Web
site's linking policy, often found in a section titled "About This Web Site."
Live Healthy Naturally
Additional Evaluation Tips:
Search for the most recent
information you can find. Reputable Web sites include a date for each article
they post. Older material may not include recent findings, such as newly
discovered side effects or advances in the field.
Check for the source of
Visit several health sites and compare
the information they offer. And before you follow any medical advice, ask your
doctor for guidance. If you search all over a Web site for supporting evidence
or you can't find evidence to back up the
manufacturer's claims, be wary of the information.
Beware of scams and health fraud:
Scammers have perfected ways to convince you that their alternative
medicine products are the best. These opportunists often target people who are
overweight or who have medical conditions for which there is no cure, such as
multiple sclerosis, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS and
arthritis. Remember — if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Certain words and phrases can be warning signs of potentially fraudulent
alternative medicine products. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends
that you watch out for the following claims or practices:
Red flag words.
The advertisements or promotional materials usually include words such as
"satisfaction guaranteed," "miracle cure" or "new
discovery." If the product were in fact a cure, it would be widely
reported in the media and your doctor would recommend it.
Though terms such as "purify," "detoxify" and
"energize" may sound impressive and may even have an element of
truth, they're generally used to cover up a lack of scientific proof. Watch
out for these words.
The manufacturer claims that the product can treat a wide range of symptoms,
or cure or prevent a number of diseases. No single product can do all this.
Testimonials are no substitute for solid scientific documentation. If the
product is scientifically sound, it's actually to the manufacturer's
advantage — and ultimately yours — to promote the scientific
False accusations. The manufacturer of the product accuses the
government or a medical profession of suppressing important information
about their product's benefits. Neither the government nor any medical
profession has any reason to withhold information that could help people.
Look for solid
If you read
about studies in journal articles, assess the quality of the research. Look for
words such as "double-blind," "controlled" and
"randomized." Doctors consider these types of studies to contain the
most valuable information. Here are some common terms you'll encounter in
and Studies Explained
involve studies on human beings - not animals. They generally come after studies
that demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of the treatment in animals and in
the lab. Studies done solely in test tubes and petri dishes can't prove benefit
in these trials usually are divided into groups. One group receives the
treatment under investigation. Another group may be a control group —
participants receive standard treatment, no treatment or an inactive substance
called a placebo. Participants are assigned to these groups on a random basis.
This helps ensure that the groups will be similar.
these studies, neither the researchers nor the human subjects know who will
receive the active treatment and who will receive the placebo.
for peer-reviewed journals. Journals that only publish articles
reviewed by an independent panel of medical experts. Also look for
replicated studies, ones that have been repeated by different investigations
with generally the same results.
One or two small studies, whether the results are positive
or negative, usually aren't enough to make a definite decision about whether to
use or skip a specific treatment. Unfortunately, there are a limited number of
quality studies on many alternative medicine treatments. Keep in mind that while
solid research studies are the best way to evaluate whether a treatment is safe
and effective, a
lack of solid evidence doesn't always mean these treatments
don't work — but it does mean they haven't been proved.
Research studies on alternative medicine are being
conducted every year. As research continues, many of the answers about whether
these treatments are safe or effective will become clearer. Much of the funding
for these studies comes from the National Institutes of Health's National Center
for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which is also a good resource to
examine when investigating alternative medicine treatments.
Clinical trials are medical research studies designed to answer specific
questions about new therapies, procedures, or treatments, by testing them in
people. This carefully conducted research helps to determine if the therapy is
safe and effective.
What are the major types of clinical trials?
trials test treatments for a
specific disease or condition. Supportive care trials, also called
quality-of-life trials, study ways of making sick people more comfortable and
giving them a better quality of life.
study ways to reduce
the chance that people who are healthy, but may be at risk for a disease, will
develop the disease. Early detection or screening trials study new ways of
finding diseases or conditions in people who are at risk, before they have any
signs or symptoms.
trials test new ways to
identify, more accurately and earlier, whether people have diseases and
What are the different phases of a clinical trial?
Because the therapy
will be tested in people, before a clinical trial can start, there needs to be
some evidence that it is likely to work. This evidence can come either from
previous research studies in animals or from reported information on its use by
Clinical trials take
place in phases. In each phase, different research questions are answered. The
following are types of questions that each phase helps to answer:
What is the safe dose? How does the treatment affect the human body? How
should the treatment be given?
Does the therapy treat the disease or cure the condition?
Is the treatment better than, the same as, or worse than the standard (or
most widely accepted) treatment? If there is no standard treatment
available, is it better than, the same as, or worse than a placebo?
Understanding Clinical Trials
Covers the following topics:
- Why participate in a clinical trial?
- Who can participate in a clinical trial?
- What happens during a clinical trial?
What are the benefits and risks of participating in a
What should people consider before participating in a
How Do I Find Out More About Clinical Trials?
The NCCAM Web site contains a listing of NCCAM-funded
is a database of thousands of clinical studies being sponsored by NIH, other
Federal agencies, and the pharmaceutical industry. You can also find out more by
contacting the NCCAM Clearinghouse:
Good sources of information on some of them can be found at
the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database and a number of National Institutes
of Health (NIH) Web sites.
The NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS)
publishes a bibliography of resources on significant advances in dietary
supplement and herbal research.
Trials.gov database lists all NIH-supported clinical studies
of dietary supplements that are actively accruing patients.
An international not-for-profit organization that provides timely reviews of
evidence-based healthcare research.
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