Complementary Alternative Health Care is here to stay. Or, maybe it never left. When our grandmother insisted upon drinking chamomile tea for an upset stomach, or warm milk with honey for a good nights rest, did she know something we didn't know or have we just forgotten the simple and natural approach to good healthcare?
Pick up a magazine at any bookstore or even at your supermarket and you will see, flashing before your eyes, every healthcare topic imaginable: Amazing New Discovery Stops Arthritis, Rebuild Your Joints With Glucosamine, Use Antioxidant Vitamin C, E and Beta Carotene to Combat the Effects of Aging, Natural Remedies That Restore Lung Power, Green Tea Prevents Cancer and Heart Disease, Prescription Drugs Causing More Problems Than They Solve, Eliminate Life Robbing Poisons and Metals From Your Body, and of course, everything you ever wanted to know about meditation and intuitive healing.
The reality is that consumers are using alternative therapies, holistic and integrative health care, vitamins, homeopathics, herbal remedies, and mind/body practices in overwhelming numbers. The consumption of organic foods, and the use of some grassroot therapies such as Bach Flowers, Aromatherapy, and Essential Oils have reached an all time high. The increased use of complementary and alternative healthcare practices, I am sure, is not just a passing fancy. In essence, they work and there are no invasive side effects involved. Complementary and alternative healthcare along with alternative medical techniques will reshape healthcare in the 21st century.
On July 13, President Clinton announced the appointment of Dr. James Gordon, Director of the Center for Mind Body -Medicine, as the chairperson of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Policy. This commission will be providing a report to the President on legislative and administrative initiatives, in order to maximize CAM healthcare to all Americans. "Almost half of all Americans implement some form of complementary and alternative medicine as part of their healthcare" said Dr. Gordon. He noted 69% of all cancer patients are using these therapies and 74% of all cancer patients are interested in learning more about them He continues to say that within five to ten years complementary therapies will be part of the care in every major hospital and clinic across the country, and our definition of medicine will be larger than it is today. Imagine, for a moment, coming out of a surgery with soft harp music being piped into the recovery room, vitamin C being added to the intravenous drip while your massage therapist or your polarity practitioner begins slowly working specific points on your sore feet. Add a gentle Aromatherapy scent, designed to help you wake up, without feeling nauseous, and you may have an idea of what is coming in the future.
Another focus group concerned about understanding the wide use of CAM therapies was the 11th International Conference on Women's Health issues. There were surveys and research projects, presented at this congress, pointing out that most women who have breast cancer seek alternative therapies. One study found that more than 70 percent of breast cancer patients combine traditional medicine treatments with alternative therapies like acupuncture, herbs, bodywork, prayer and nutritional supplements. The study also found that only about a third of the women surveyed shared their alternative treatment choices with their physicians. But, almost all the women discussed their medical treatment with their alternative practitioners. Women said they felt that either their doctors weren't interested in their alternative treatment choices or they were afraid that their doctors would respond negatively.
As we look into the future of our total healthcare system we can predict, without question, that more centers will emerge that are completely dedicated to a complementary and integrative approach to wellness and healing. More organizations such as the Center for Mind- Body Medicine will surface providing educational tools dedicated to reviving the spirit and transforming the practice of medicine. Programs, many are currently in place, combining the best of modern science and ancient wisdom, will emphasize: self help care, empowering all people to understand their own capacity for healing, looking to more natural healing choices and how to use the non-invasive therapies as a preventive tool. Yes, complementary alternative healthcare is here to stay!!!
In the upcoming sections of Your Health and Healing we will explore unique ideas involving complementary and alternative healthcare. We will focus on topics including herbal therapies, use of homeopathic medicine, traditional bodywork therapies such as Thai Massage, Rolfing, Chiropractic, Shiatsu, Myofascial Therapy , Craniosacral Therapy, Polarity Therapy, Therapeutic Touch, Touch for Health, Swedish Massage, Acupressure and Acupuncture. Time will also be devoted to understanding the widespread use of Energy Medicine and the science of energy healing which is the basis for Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as Reiki, Polarity, Feng Shui, Chakra Balancing, Ayurveda, and Yoga. Talking about practical tools to enhance the quality of your life will give us ongoing topics involving Reducing Stress in Your Life, Healing Through Song and Sound, Bringing Your Life Into Balance, and How Drugs Can Rob Your Body of Vital Nutrients.
Reconnect and join us weekly on our journey of healing, as we build healthy bridges and rediscover that within every human heart and mind lies the seed of consciousness - the quality of true healing.
May the long-time sun shine upon you.
Mary Jo Ruggieri, PhD, RPP
Director of the Columbus Polarity Institute of Energetic Studies and Bodywork, Polarity Practitioner in Private Practice at the Columbus Polarity and Teaches CAM modules at the Ohio State Medical School, Hocking Technical College, and University of Utah.